The red carpet. The two words invoke glamor and style…a place where camera bulbs flashed, microphones flurried back and forth, and fan cheers drowned out normal conversations.
I was there on a mission, with the privilege of covering the huge Hawaii Five-0 Season 2 premiere at the Sunset on the Beach event for my blog. An estimated ten thousand people gathered on the shores of Waikiki to get a glimpse, taste, and feel of the Hollywood life for just one evening.
With the old Sesame Street song “One of These Kids Is Doing His Own Thing” dancing in my mind, I sucked in a breath, cleared my head and hoped for the best. So with my camera, video camera, and list of questions, I waited in the queue of writers and photographers, for the opportunity to interview the cast of “Hawaii Five-0”.
Masi Oka was the first to walk down the red carpet. He’s exactly as his character, Dr. Max Bergman, with tousled hair and an unassuming posture. He was recently named as a series regular, and previous interviews revealed he will have a more significant role on the team outside of the morgue. He had a quiet smile when he shook my hand.
We’re here in Hawaii where there are a lot of Japanese tourists. Do you find yourself getting double the fan attention?
Definitely I get the Americans and the Japanese. Like the first time I was here in a hotel, everyone was around. It was the saddest thing: I couldn’t go to the beach and I couldn’t go to the pool while I was in Hawaii.
So you were like the Justin Beiber of Japan?
Well I don’t know…
Or more like the Japanese Alex O’Loughlin?
Oh no, I’m not taking off my shirt!
Everyone in the internet community and the fans appreciate all the tweets you put up.
Thank you! I feel a couple more coming up. I try to do what I can.
Daniela Ruah was a sight. She was tall, graceful, elegant, and she radiated a brilliant sincerity in her smile. I didn’t know much about her, other than the fact that she was going to do a crossover episode from “NCIS:LA” to “Hawaii Five-0” as Kensi Blye.
You look gorgeous tonight, what are you wearing?
I’m wearing Black Halo and Steve Madden shoes.
Daniela, so are you going to be in one episode or is there an arc to this?
So far, just one episode.
Is there something you want to say to the “Hawaii Five-0” fans who haven’t seen in “NCIS:LA”?
I can’t give away the plot, but its gonna be a fun episode, if you enjoy “NCIS:LA”, you’re going to enjoy this crossover. I play the same character, so you’re going to see Kensi interact with a few different people.
Is there anything you’re looking forward to while you’re here? [asked by Ryan Ozawa, hawaiiweblog.com]
I’m looking forward to surfing these waves because I’m a beginner surfer and people say surfing in Hawaii is good for beginners. I’m looking forward to seeing Pearl Harbor, USS Arizona, the Dole Plantation. I love pineapples.
She was so adorable when she said that.
Yes. Pineapples are really exciting.
Not really! Don’t make fun of me!
She was so adorable scolding me.
No, there’s a huge maze over there.
Yeah I heard it’s the biggest maze in the world! I definitely want to see the culture, and maybe try the Hawaiian fashion.
I have a lot of blog followers from Brazil and Portugal, is there anything you’d like to say directly to them?
At this point she launches into a lengthy speech in Portuguese. She could have been reciting the preamble to the Portuguese Constitution for all I knew, but it was so elegantly beautiful to hear. I didn’t catch a single word she said, despite having been subjected to the movie “Rio” fifteen times the past two weeks. Fear not, I’m getting it translated.
Thanks for your time!
I had been watching Peter Lenkov and Bob Orci run back and forth between writers and photographers. He stopped near me, and I finally had an opportunity to talk to him. For those who recently followed my blog, I contribute to the Mike Buck radio show on KHVH AM 830 radio station. The host and I talk about “Hawaii Five-0” for a segment on the Tuesday night after a new episode. Peter and I have chatted a few times on the radio show.
“Peter! I’m Officer 808. I’m so happy to finally meet you over here,” I said and shook his hand.
“Hey, come here,” Peter waved to Bob. “This guy has a major website that follows the show.”
“Hawaii Undercover?” Bob asked.
My heart skipped.
“He’s part of a radio show every Tuesday after the show airs,” Peter said.
“God bless you! God bless you!” Bob said.
The last season episode ended darkly. Are we going to see the darkness hang over the rest of the season?
You haven’t seen dark yet!
At this point Peter said something clever and witty. He laughed, Bob laughed, I laughed, and even Ryan Ozawa next to me laughed. I can’t for the life of me remember what he said nor can I understand it on the video. It’ll be one of life’s mysteries.
Are there any other references or shout outs that you’re going to make to the original series, like the Lincoln from the first season?
[Peter] Always! Every week there’s something. You just have to be a hard core fan to see them.
What was your favorite episode?
[Peter] Emotionally? The pilot. For me, it was bringing back something that meant a lot to people. It meant a lot to my dad, it was something I was emotionally invested in. It was probably my favorite episode, but I love all of them.
Are we going to see flashbacks at all this season?
[Bob] They’re a good tool, we don’t want them to be a gimmick. We want them to show something that’s important, we’ll use them judiciously if we have to.
Thanks guys, best of luck this season!
Mark Dacascos was energetic that night. He was smiling, slapping backs and interacting with the crowd. This level of excitement is a far cry from the serious and brooding Wo Fat character he plays on TV.
What culinary tastes have you picked up here that you incorporate at home? [Ryan Ozawa]
I’m old school, my wife is from Texas, but I’m a local boy, I still love burnt Spam on rice! I still go there! But as far as cooking at home, its hard to get local food where we live…so it’s basically I come here and eat all the local stuff that I can, then go home and know I can’t have it for a long time again.
Daniel Dae Kim was all smiles walking down the red carpet. He walked down the red carpet with the confidence of an old pro…he’s done it only about five times before between “Lost” and “Hawaii Five-0”. He recognized Ryan Ozawa standing next to me and came to shake his hand.
With your family here, how local are you feeling? [Ryan Ozawa]
I don’t know how to feel more local, I live here, my kids go to school here, I love it here!
Do you play tour guide for visiting friends?
What’s on your short list? [Ryan Ozawa]
I like to take them to Kualoa [Ranch] because it’s so beautiful, I like golfing excursions on the west side, and if they’re up to it, Koko Head [trail].
Ryan handed Daniel off to me, “This is Officer 808 of H50Undercover…”
“H50Undercover?!? You guys are all over us!” he smiled.
Word. I couldn’t help but smile.
I could have sworn Lauren German was walking on air. With a graceful stride she walked down the line. This season she plays a tough Homeland Security agent, and the Five-0 team’s newest member. She passed by me at first, and I had to get her attention.
“Lauren, hi, I have the 50undercover.com blog…” I started.
“Wait a minute! I went this way, where were you!” she said with a coy smile.
“You didn’t come here before, I’d remember talking to you!”
She smiled sweetly. Quick! Flatter her!
“You look beautiful tonight, what are you wearing?”
Thank you, its Rachel Zoe.
I’ve seen a few of the BTS photos…are you the unofficial fifth member of the team?
Yes, my character Lori Weston comes from a Homeland Security background. The governor assigns her as the new member of the task force.
What’s the biggest challenge of joining this team?
Trying to get all the tactical, logistical things correct: how to hold my gun, how to get it out, put it back, hold my shoulders. I just want to make it look real when I’m doing things I’ve never done before. I’m taking martial arts and going to the gun range. That stuff for me is scary and nerve wracking at first, but then it becomes fun the more I do it.
What martial art?
It’s mixed martial arts.
MMA? That’s hardcore!
It sounds so badass, but it’s not! I’m just in a room sweating and running in place!
Have you found any good places to eat around here?
Oh my gosh, yes! Uncle Bo’s. I go to Nobu’s quite a bit. …and the Olive… Leaf or Olive…Tree? The Greek place…
I thought you were going to say the Olive Garden. Is it in Kahala?
Yeah, I know that place [Olive Tree Cafe]. Well, thanks for your time!
Terry O’Quinn made his way down the line. Like Daniel Dae Kim, he was popular in Hawaii after doing six seasons of Lost. His motions were deliberate and his answers thoughtful.
All the Lost fans are stoked to see you and Daniel from “Lost” reunited on “Hawaii Five-0”, is there anyone from your lost cast mates or “Alias” that youd like to see? [asked by Ed Morita, nonstophonolulu.com]
I’d like to see Jennifer [Garner] on “Hawaii Five-0”.
Would she be a good guy or bad guy? [Ed Morita]
Definitely a bad guy, cause she could kick my butt all day long.
Is there anything different this time around filming now, from the six years of “Lost”?
Yeah, we’re working in town all the time and in offices.
Is that nicer?
No, I actually prefer working in beach and jungle.
“Walkabout” [from “Lost”] reinstilled my faith in good TV…it’s your best work.
Well thanks, it was a great episode.
There was no mistaking at this point that Alex was coming down the line. More flashes popped, the crowd was getting rowdier, and the members of the press all leaned in wherever he talked. This is the moment that I was waiting for. Ryan asked the first question.
Playing a local is a challenge. What are some of the traditions that you adopted yourself now that you’re spending more time in Hawaii?? [Ryan Ozawa]
It’s a daily life thing for me, I eat a lot of poke [raw fish], I understand pidgin a lot better, I say “Ho!”[pidgin slang] a lot, oh yeah I surf, badly, but I surf. It’s a lifestyle, and I love it.
Now at this point I would like to say that the intelligent question I wanted to ask was this: “Alex, Jack Lord was a magnanimous man who was well loved by the people in Hawaii and donated a lot of time and money to charity. Those are some pretty big shoes to fill…do you think you’re following in those footsteps as the next generation of Five-0?”
These were the words out of my mouth:
Hows’ the surfing going?
Terrible, but its going okay. Scott’s very supportive. I’m so A type and vicious, I want to be shredding. I’m more comfortable in the water.
Interview question fail.
Any particular surf spots?
I surf right here on the south shore, from Waikiki to Diamond Head, and some breaks on the north shore when it’s little.
Taylor Wily was hard to miss…he’s a big scoop of aloha with a smile. With his family at his side, he walked down the red carpet. Taylor is from the same side of the island that I’m from, the windward side. Small communities take pride in their own who make it big.
Taylor, just one question: how happy are the people of Laie for you?
I’d say very happy. I’m working hard trying to make everybody happy in the state, for all the islanders. Anybody who comes to Hawaii, they’ll know from me what Hawaii is about. I’m just trying to represent Hawaii!
You’re a good ambassador, thank you!
And then we were done. The press moved their equipment and took their places. The hard part of the night was over, and then it was time to watch the premiere. Stay tuned and I’ll give you a report on my personal behind the scene thoughts on the whole night.