One of the many aspects that fans love about “Hawaii Five-0,” is how open the cast and crew tend to be about making and working on the show. This was definitely the case when several cast members appeared at PaleyFest on March 23. Alex O’Loughlin, Chi McBride, Ian Anthony Dale, Meaghan Rath, Beulah Koale, and Kimee Balmilero joined executive producer Peter Lenkov on stage at The Paley Center for Media in Los Angeles to discuss the show.
The Five-0 cast was also joined by the series stars from Lenkov’s two other reboots for CBS — Jay Hernandez, Zachary Knighton, Stephen Hill, and Amy Hill from “Magnum P.I.”; and Lucas Till, Tristan Mays, and Meredith Eaton from “MacGyver.”
PaleyFest LA is television festival featuring talent behind the top TV shows, including “This is Us,” “The Walking Dead” and “Rupaul’s Drag Race.” Fans can purchase tickets to the panel discussions to hear actors discuss their experiences, thoughts and anecdotes about making a weekly television show.
They can also purchase a live feed or rent each session after the panel date has passed. It’s a very accessible way for fans to learn more about their favorite actors and shows.
The panel dubbed “The Action Trio” started off with the University of Southern California band playing the theme songs from each series, according to Los Angeles fan Alan Keisner who shared his experience at the event via Facebook messenger. Lenkov also showed upcoming scenes and snippets of history from each show. After the video clips, the actors got a chance to answer questions from the audience and those posed by moderator Kevin Frazier, who is the co-host of “Entertainment Tonight.”
THE SECRET OF THEIR SUCCESS
One of the first questions was about how Lenkov came to create three successful reboots. Lenkov talked about growing up in Montreal, Canada. “The idea of families still being able to get together to watch a show together — I still hold out hope that I can create the kind of shows that I grew up watching and that there are other people who want to watch them in the same way — together in a group,” he said. While each show portrays a strong ohana or family on screen, Lenkov wants the show to be something families can enjoy together similar to how he watched the original “Hawaii Five-0,” featuring Jack Lord, with his own father.
O’Loughlin, who plays the iconic character of Steve McGarrett, was also asked about what was the “secret sauce” behind nine seasons of the rebooted classic. O’Loughlin was quick to praise everyone who works and acts on the show. “I’m a cog in a wheel … It’s a collaborative art form,” he said. “No. 1 on the call sheet simply means you’re probably going to do a little more work than other people. There’s nothing else to that … There’s synchronicity — there’s something magic that happens when it all works.”
THE FIVE-0 LEGACY
There was a lot of talk about the legacy Lord left behind, and the pressure that O’Loughlin felt when he first came to Hawaii and started playing McGarrett. He even told the crowd about the Jack Lord statue standing in the Kahala Mall parking lot and how fans still come to place lei around the statue in honor of the late actor.
Ian Anthony Dale chimed in to praise O’Loughlin and said the actor “doesn’t give himself enough credit.” Dale shared how humble the lead actor is and how he “comes to work with the dedication and preparation because he wants the show to be the best it can be — and that’s how a show stays on for nine years.”
O’Loughlin was grateful for the compliment. “I feel blessed,” he said, adding that he was “intimidated” at first because of what Jack Lord did for Hawaii and the pressure as Lord played McGarrett well for 12 years. “I had to detach myself from that … as an actor, I look for a key— the key that will unlock my way into someone else.” His key into finding his own version of McGarrett was to latch onto his character being a SEAL. “I felt a lot of pressure to do something that had been done before — but you can’t think about that — you just do your job.”
THE SPIRIT OF HAWAII
One of the special discussions the panel had was about the spirit and magic of working in Hawaii. Chi McBride spoke most eloquently about the place many of the actors now call home. “When I first got there the thing I noticed right away … there was something very ethereal and very spiritual about (Hawaii) … it is a place of healing, a place of gathering, a place of family.” He also shared about the reverence islanders have for the island itself and how the show can only shoot “Oahu on Oahu” — meaning another state cannot “stand-in” for Hawaii.
McBride also talked about the cast having a “genuine affection for each other — all of that’s for real” and that he hoped their “fellowship and camaraderie comes through” when people watch the show. As many call the “Hawaii Five-0” cast and crew the “Five-0 ohana” it is evident that Lenkov’s vision of families enjoying watching a family on screen has certainly come to fruition after nine years of hard work and dedication to the show — and to each other.