One element I love about writing the Five-0 Redux is talking with Hawaii actors who play small but significant roles on “Hawaii Five-0.”
I’ve met many amazing people in person and over the phone — some seasoned actors, some famous in their own right, and some virtually unknown. Yet they’re all amazing people who have special skills the show has included over the seasons.
Take Brad Hayes, who played Astronaut Richard Royce in last week’s Christmas episode, “Ke Koho Mamao Aku” (“Longshot”). I not only learned his amazing story, but also more about what happens behind the scenes on our favorite show.
Hayes is executive director at Naval Air Museum Barbers Point and his stint on “Five-0” helped him to not only check off a few items on his bucket list, but also gave him a chance to be in front of the cameras. Hayes often helps the production acquire military vehicles and props for use in the show and works with their armorer, Terence N. Morgan, as well as with the costume and transportation departments.
“I care for everything from M-60A3 tanks and M-113 APCs to P-3 anti-sub patrol bombers and helicopters, to small arms and machine guns,” he said. “We have HMMWVs and Jeeps and trucks that the show uses from time to time. We usually bring the vehicles dressed and ready, and that usually includes properly fitted-out drivers or crew to match what the show needs for a particular episode.”
Hayes experience working behind the scenes in television and film is extensive. He’s worked on ABC’s “Lost” as a aerial coordinator and military advisor, as well as the feature films “Pearl Harbor” and “Windtalkers” as an extra and a troop wrangler. He recently consulted on “Unbroken” during pre-production and met with Angelina Jolie, who directed the film. He helped the production find all the correct period shots of airfields called for in the script; he also located and referred the production to all the types of aircraft in the movie and other ground support gear from the period.
Hayes is definitely an expert in his field, yet when I asked him about his prior acting experience he talked a lot about what a tough job actors have and how hard it must be to work in the industry.
“I do like to work on period or military projects because it’s fun for me to apply my military knowledge in those areas,” he said. “I’m still waiting to work on a truly period and authentic military aviation movie or show.”
Hayes said he was called by casting associate Brent Anbe to read for the astronaut character. He read for the part twice; on the second audition Hawaii casting director Rachel Sutton and director Bryan Spicer were in the office.
“I actually brought some radios and a headset/mic for me to read the lines,” Hayes said. “The astronaut’s lines were a transmit and receive type of conversation, and being a U.S. Marine and a pilot, it was easier for me to function in the audition as I would in some spacesuit on Mars.”
I think Hayes’ desire for authenticity, as well as his military experience, gave him an edge over other actors considered for the part. He said it might have also been the fact he could wear the spacesuit without becoming claustrophobic and freaking out.
“Shooting in the suit was what I thought it would be — warm, hard to hear except over the headset I wore, and it was heavy; close to 80 to 90 pounds that was not at all balanced right,” he said. “The suit had a ventilation system built-in and they did bring a rack to stand on that supported the suit when I was not shooting. I’d walk up to the rack and connect fittings on the front to the rack and then I could take the weight off for a bit. It was a replica training version of the suit that NASA has selected to use on Mars someday.
“Honestly though? It was cake. In the Marines we woreMission Oriented Protective Posture gear to protect us from chemical and biological threats. Sometimes for days on end we were sealed up. I can remember playing soccer and basketball while we wore the MOPP gear, as well as running and doing PT regularly. So wearing the spacesuit was duck-soup.
“When Rachel said that the role involved wearing a spacesuit on the slopes of Mauna Loa at 8,200 feet above sea level, I was stoked. I wanted this role just to be able to wear the suit!
“The Marines taught me to focus and mission first, so discomfort, distractions, pain and sweat don’t factor in when trying to accomplish the job at hand. I applied that way of life to the three hours in that suit buttoned up to give Five-0 a decent astronaut.”
Hayes was a font of information about the suit and shooting on Mauna Loa. He not only shared about his day on set but more about how authentic everything was for the opening scene.
“It’s a live training/movie prop suit made and owned by Global Effects in California,” he explained. “The suit is a replica of the MK-III Orion spacesuit that NASA has selected to take to Mars.
“There are five of these training suits in existence right now. The fabric on the arms and legs is a special one as well. The suits joints are all articulating and work on sealed ring bearings. Moving in the suit took some practice— squatting, reaching up, all that took some getting used to. But the suit had its own cooling system, so that was nice.”
Hayes shot in the HI-SEAS training area set all in one day.
“If you go up to Mauna loa and see the sunrise it is awe inspiring. Temps were in the 40s till the sun came up and then warmed to 60s. Once we got to the ‘Five-0’ base camp, I suited up. First thing I put on was a liquid cooing garment that was worn like pants and a turtleneck NOMEX top from my flight gear locker at work.”
After getting dressed he got up on a ladder and hung from a pull-up bar to lower himself into the suit, which was a rigid body he dropped into. The suit’s backpack served as a door that allowed him to enter and exit.
“We were on set till about 3 p.m. My scenes were about three hours from start to finish with suiting up, breaks, resets, and doffing the suit,” Hayes said. “It was just so cool. You can’t hear anything in the suit. A couple of times I would turn away from the cameras and all the crew and just look out over the mountain and it was almost like I was on Mars.”
Hayes was very proud to be involved with the episode that took viewers to the Big Island and talked about how patient and great the crew was with him. He was very grateful for getting a shot at what he called “a dream role.”
“My experience with ‘Five-0’ casting has always been fun,” he said. “The gang in that office are pros and have been really nice friends since I starting working with the show. I’ve been a extra by default in all the seasons off and on due to driving or crewing on military vehicles.
“I think the best thing … is that all the cast and crew are friendly, down to earth, and they are a family. Actors, directors, supervisors, grips, props, wardrobe, all of them are super cool.
“They all genuinely care about what you see on your TV. That’s my impression, at least as a outsider,” Hayes said.
Hayes definitely took his outsider role and turned it into a fantastic experience few people have ever experienced, either on television or in real life.
REDUX SIDE NOTE:
Don’t miss the 2013 Christmas episode on Dec. 27. “Hawaii Five-0” returns with a new episode, “Wāwahi moeʻuhane” (“Broken Dreams”), on Jan. 2 with special guest stars William Forsythe, Doug Savant and Eric Roberts.
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.
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It always amazes me when blogs about guest-actors who had merely a two-minute appearance on the show reveal a multitude of unexpected and rather interesting facts about these people, their various talents and background. To be honest, I had not expected “much” from this blog – because, after all, the astronaut was only on screen for an estimated two minutes, and he was barely visible in that suit. I had even thought that maybe he wasn’t an actor, at all, but someone working there as a real astronaut or scientist who had agreed to be filmed for this scene. This is a compliment, by the way, because Brad Hayes looked so authentic and believable as an astronaut.
It was interesting to read that Mr. Hayes is, indeed, not a full-time actor but usually more of an advisor and supplier of military equipment and vehicles for “Hawaii Five-0” – and even large movie productions like “Pearl Harbor”. With his military background as a Marine, he is definitely a great asset for the show in these functions. However, the fact that he is also the director of a military museum, left me totally surprised. After all, I work at a museum of technology, too – unfortunately not in Hawai`i though 😉
Anyway, I can totally understand that having a guest-role on this awesome show was on his bucket-list, and I’m happy for him that his dream came true.
Thanks to Mr. Hayes for sharing his great experiences from the set with us!
Thanks Angela for the compliments! Museum people rock!! I think if people got to see the shows crew and cast they would appreciate how fun and lucky everyone feels on H50 for working on a really good TV Episodic in HAWAII!! 🙂 You could tell the crew and cast had fun on the Big island, which does not get a lot of mainstream work regularly…. esp on a episodic….Getting up to HISEAS location was really cool and the whole crew to a person, was stoked to see and be there. The sheer logistical effort to film there was pretty big. Things we never think about: gear, props, helicopters, fuel, cars, trucks, vans, trailers, all of it had to be moved to the Big Island, airline reservations for every crew and actor, location scouting, catering was even challenging for them! Cooking at 8200 feet at 3am was def challenging for the catering team…not to mention COLD…:) The fun thing about saying you got to be in the suit, was pals at other flying museums as far away as the UK got to see the show, and it only makes you think what a truly small world we are in…and why we don’t take better care of each other on this planet….Aloha and thanks for the comments!! Brad
Thanks for responding to my comment, Brad!
Filming at HISEAS and getting all the equipment and people up there must definitely have been a major challenge – but, as usual, the awesome team of H50 handled it successfully. Even when they work hard 14 hours a day, the cast and crew of this show obviously have a lot of fun together and are proud and happy to be part of such a fantastic show. Although I have never had the pleasure of seeing the cast and crew live and in person (except Mark Dacascos), I’ve been following the show since Season 1, and as a long-time fan and fansite admin, I can tell that the cast and crew feel like `ohana. Besides, all the guest-actors on H50 have always had nothing but good things to say about the cast and crew.
By the way – I’m actually living at the other end of this “small world” in Germany. If you ever come here, make sure to contact me for a visit to the museum I work at. I’m co-admin of Wendie’s Five-0 Redux Facebook page and a friend of hers, so you can contact me through FB.
Aloha from Germany!