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The Cleveland Show
Nov 14 2011, 03:00 PM by Earl Dittman
Born Alexander O'Loughlin on August 24, 1976 in Canberra, Australia, actor Alex O'Loughlin has become the star of the hit show Hawaii Five-O, the successful reboot of the '60-'70s cop primetime drama of the same name.
Surprisingly, it didn't always seem as O'Loughlin would make it up the Hollywood ladder of fame, especially living between Sydney and Canberra. Alex didn't begin acting professionally until 2004, but he hit the Aussie jackpot by appearing in the critically-acclaimed Down Under film Oyster Farmer. Although he had already technically gotten his start on the Sydney stage, with lead roles in Chekhov and Tolstoy plays, it wasn't until he snagged a lead role as a hunky detective in the gritty American crime drama The Shield (opposite Michael Chiklis) that Hollywood producers and directors began considering him a real leading man. After one season on The Shield, stints as a good-natured blood-sucking fanger in the romantic vampire TV show Moonlight and a heart doctor in the short-lived medical drama Three Rivers series soon followed.
Appearances in the films August Rush (with Jonathan Rhys-Meyers) and Whiteout (with Kate Beckinsale) would lead to his lead role in the Hawaii Five-O remake. While it might seem like a short, easy road to stardom for O'Loughlin, the heavy metal music-loving actor says he certainly paid his dues to be where he is now.
"It's tough getting in the business, but it's even harder when you are from Down Under," the outdoorsman says. "You just have to work hard and devote all your time to making it."
It probably helps sounding like an American, too, I comment jokingly -- since Alex sounds like a bonafide Yank on this particular press day.
"The accent stuff, it's not such a big deal for me anymore," the father of a young son, Saxon, says. "I've been doing that for a long time. Sounding American just comes second nature to me. I don't know if it helped me land any roles, but I don't sound like I'm from the U.S. on purpose."
However, doing Hawaii Five-O has him beginning to pick up the distinct accent of the Hawaiian islanders, too.
"It's hard not to fall in love with everything in Hawaii," the former plumber's apprentice says. "The islanders have a real distinct dialect and vocabulary and I am having a great time trying learning it, even though my character, Steve McGarrett, sounds as American as they come, there is still some Island sound mixed in." Alex, a self-professed outdoorsman, is also having a great time learning how to be a cop/military man for Hawaii Five-O. He loves to take chances, which is one of the reasons he likes to do most of his own stunts. And when he's isn't taking chances with life and limb for the Hawaii Five-O cameras, he's spends his spare time enjoying the beauty and excitement of the Hawaiian Islands. While playing his guitar is relatively safe, he gets his adrenaline pumping by rock climbing and riding motorcycles.
"I get a real charge out of riding motorcycles," he says. "But I'm not crazy and irresponsible on them. I do have a show to do."
He nearly had a film franchise to do. O'Loughlin almost landed a role that would have turned him into an adrenalin junkie. It was rumoured that when the producers of the 007 films were looking to replace Pierce Brosnan as the debonair secret agent, Alex was seriously considered to portray James Bond for the rest of the Bond films. Of course, the role finally went to Daniel Craig. O'Loughlin says he wasn't that disappointed that he didn't land the iconic spy role.
"Sure, I would have loved playing James Bond, who wouldn't?" he says. "But it just left the door open for me to do something even more exciting, like Hawaii Five-O.
Recently, O'Loughlin has been spending a great deal of time learning about the history of the Hawaiian Islands and what it is like to be a Navy man like his Hawaii Five-O character Steve McGarrett.
"I think it is important for an actor to do as much homework about their character and their surroundings as they can," he says. "I'm not the kind of actor who feels like he has to become his character, 24/7. It's just helpful to understand what makes your character tick. The more time I spend studying the Islands the more I become to understand what drives McGarrett. Most of the time I like what I discover about him, but sometimes his behavior surprises me. But overall, he's a good, honest man on a great, exciting and realistic show."
Hawaii Five-O airs Mondays at 10.00 et/pt.