In Hawaiian, lokomaikaʻi means “good will, good disposition, generosity, grace; kind, humane, gracious, benevolent.” It’s a perfect description of “Hawaii Five-0” stunt coordinator Jeff Cadiente.
Whenever I have the chance to chat with Cadiente, I always feel like I’m talking with a family member. He’s so down-to-earth about his successes and his career, always gracious and sincere. He never forgets to mention and praise his stunt team as being a big part of the reason why “Five-0” is being recognized again with Emmy Award nominations for their outstanding stunt work.
Cadiente often misses press events because of his shooting schedule. During last year’s Sunset on the Beach season four premiere, he was off shooting a car chase with Kono and Adam running from the Yakuza in Hong Kong, one of my choices for best season four stunts.
Even though Cadiente is not a red carpet regular, many viewers are familiar with his work, as he is a fan favorite on Twitter and Instagram. Cadiente is not afraid to share his pictures from the set, as well as images of his family and wife, fellow “Hawaii Five-0” stuntwoman Jacqueline Cryan.
One of the most popular videos shared by Cadiente was his on-set proposal to Cryan during the season four episode he directed. He worked with Alex O’Loughlin to surprise Cryan and posted the video for all of the fans to see:
He’s not only generous with fans — after I interviewed him during season three, he continued to be available for quotes and quick interviews when I had a question about stunts or his directing experience. That’s really the kind of guy Cadiente is; easy to work with and generous to everyone. Every guest actor I’ve interviewed said the same thing about him.
For a man of his level of expertise and professionalism who grew up in Hollywood, has worked in the industry since he was a teenager, and has seven Emmy nominations (four nominations as stunt coordinator for “24” in 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010 and three for “Hawaii Five-0” in 2011, 2012 and 2014) under his belt, his positive nature is always a breath of fresh air. Not that he’s not proud of what’s happening for “Hawaii Five-0” or for being recognized, but for Cadiente, it seems as if it’s more about the show and his crew being recognized.
“I’m happy for the show, I think it’s a good show and we don’t get a whole lot of award recognition, so it’s nice to get two nods for this season,” said Cadiente (the second nomination was for outstanding special and visual effects).
Cadiente’s nomination is a little different, as he is being recognized for outstanding stunt coordination for a drama series this year, rather than just for one specific episode. In 2011 he was nominated for stunt coordination on “Ua Hiki Mai Kapa Lena Pau” (“Until the End is Near”) and in 2012 for stunt coordination on “Ka Meʻe” (“The Hero”).
This year’s Emmy nod is definitely a great honor not only for Cadiente, but for his entire stunt crew. Cadiente has two Screen Actors Guild Awards for outstanding performance by a stunt ensemble from 2008 and 2010 for “24,” but this Emmy nod seems even more special him.
“I couldn’t do this without my crew, so I like to give them props for their work whenever I can,” he said. “Unfortunately only the stunt coordinator gets recognized, but if you’re only as good as your team, I have a great team and it shows that their work is being recognized with this nomination.”
In the past, Cadiente usually chose one episode to submit to the Emmys, but this was the first year he had to submit a body of work from the season.
“I didn’t want to bombard them with a bunch of eye candy in my submission reel, so I picked the 10 best stunts, kept it short and sweet, and it must have paid off,” he said.
I asked him what his best stunts were of season four, and he was quick to choose the car chase and crash along with the helicopter stunt at Aloha Stadium in the season opener, and the car driving under the truck in the clown car chase through Waikiki in the season four finale.
“That was actually a big stunt,” he said. “I’m not sure if people understood how intricate and dangerous that was because it was a comedic scene; it was supposed to be funny, and funny stunts really go unnoticed because you’re laughing.
“But that was a dangerous stunt. That was about as dangerous as we’ve gotten in the last few years.”
Cadiente was also able to step up as director for one episode during season four.
“There’s a little bit of stigma of being a stunt coordinator that you can only direct action, which is why I liked the episode,” he said. “It wasn’t a big episode for action, except the foot chase and one shoot out, but I liked that — I like telling stories and having to deal with a touchy subject, like religion and extremism — which is a really scary subject.
“Don’t get me wrong, I like action, but I liked being able to deal with the acting and the emotional storyline. I loved that episode. It had a little bit of everything in it, a little bit of action, it had drama, it had really good acting, and there was humor, and then the emotional ending scene. I was really blessed to get a really good script.”
I asked Cadiente if he did anything during the hiatus besides having a “barefoot on the beach” wedding with Cryan.
“I wanted to take some time off to recharge my batteries after season four, but I did some stunt driving during a helicopter chase during the Oahu filming of ‘Jurassic Park’ and did some action and car stunts in a music video with rapper Childish Gambino (aka actor Donald Glover from ‘Community’).
He hopes to be able to attend the Emmy ceremonies this year, but it depends on the 25-episode “Five-0” shooting schedule. Cadiente said he will need to shoot every Saturday this year.
“I think the Emmys are kind of comical, because I consider myself the Susan Lucci of the stunt world, because I’ve been nominated so many times and still no wins,” he said.
I’m sure I’m not alone in wishing Cadiente pōmaikaʻi at the Emmys and for season five. Good luck to you and your team.
REDUX SIDE NOTE
After the lovely season five blessing on July 8, I was sad to hear so many negative comments about the fact that Scott Caan missed the ceremony. It seems as if Caan’s daughter was born the day after “Hawaii Five-0” kicked off their fifth season. I’m sure we all can appreciate why he was not on set. Scott and Kacy: ho’omaika’i ma ka hiki ‘ana mai o kāu kaikamahine; congratulations on the birth of your daughter.
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.