Ready for ac­tion

Alex O’lough­lin is free of pain and lov­ing life on and off the set of Hawaii Five-o, writes Holly Byrnes

Herald Sun - Switched On - - On The Couch -

THE big kahu­nas must be smil­ing on Alex O’Lough­lin. Just months ago, head­lines screamed with the news of the Aus­tralian ac­tor’s ad­mis­sion to a re­hab fa­cil­ity for the treat­ment of an ad­dic­tion to painkillers.

It seemed, at first glance, to be an all-too-fa­mil­iar story where a film or TV star, with ev­ery­thing at his feet, wipes out and off the radar.

To O’Lough­lin’s credit, his tale wasn’t typ­i­cal at all, re­cov­er­ing swiftly af­ter strug­gling to shake a de­pen­dency on drugs used to treat a shoul­der in­jury he sus­tained throw­ing him­self too vig­or­ously into a stunt on set.

As the no-non­sense lead­ing man ex­plains: ‘‘ I got hurt pretty bad on the show and I ended up tak­ing painkillers to get to work. I had trou­ble get­ting off them. That’s as com­pli­cated as it gets.’’

The im­pact of his in­jury was a mor­tal­ity re­minder for the 38-year-old, learn­ing to ac­cept the age­ing process.

‘‘ I am not 20-some­thing any more, as you can see from the dust­ing of grey on the sides of my head,’’ he jokes.

But there’s no hold­ing a good man down. He rat­tles off an im­pres­sive fit­ness regime that would weaken the av­er­age Aussie bloke.

‘‘ I am still do­ing phys­i­cal ther­apy three times a week. I’m surf­ing, run­ning, do­ing all that stuff. I just have to say no to some of the stunts I love do­ing so much. I en­joy do­ing that stuff but I’ve learned to let the stunt­men do those.’’

The forced spell meant the pro­duc­tion, which airs on Chan­nel 10, went on with­out O’Lough­lin for a pe­riod, a strange ex­pe­ri­ence for all in­volved given he has been in al­most ev­ery scene since the show launched two years ago.

Play­ing pa­tient in­stead of the hero took some get­ting used to, he ad­mits.

‘‘ It was re­ally dif­fi­cult for me to be away. I’m at work 14 hours ev­ery day, and then all of a sud­den you’re not at work. I got a lot of let­ters and mes­sages from peo­ple say­ing ‘ Where are you?’ or ‘ It’s so weird not to see you in the show’. Prob­a­bly the big­gest thing is how re­spon­si­ble for

I ended up tak­ing painkillers to get to work

the show I ac­tu­ally feel. I don’t know if that’s my job to feel that way or what­ever.’’

Hap­pily, O’Lough­lin has some new re­spon­si­bil­i­ties in his life, pre­par­ing for the birth of his sec­ond child with his part­ner, surfer Malia Jones (who was due at the time of pub­li­ca­tion).

His son, Saxon, 15, has moved to Oahu to at­tend high school and be closer to his fa­ther, who has for many years sup­ported him from afar as the ac­tor tried to es­tab­lish his ca­reer in Hol­ly­wood.

O’Lough­lin has wel­comed the warm em­brace of the lo­cal peo­ple.

‘‘ I feel blessed to be part of these is­lands and part of this cul­ture. This is home now.’’

The prospect of par­ent­hood the sec­ond time over has also added to his cau­tion­ary new ap­proach to the job.

‘‘ Of course, when you be­come a par­ent you try to be a lit­tle more sen­si­ble and a lit­tle less stupid. And even be­fore, I was try­ing to ex­er­cise a cer­tain sen­si­bil­ity just for my own self­p­reser­va­tion (but more so) af­ter I got injured,’’ he says.

His TV char­ac­ter, Steve McGar­rett, how­ever, is still as in­tense as ever, with sea­son three promis­ing more shocks as he con­tin­ues to pur­sue his fa­ther’s killer and strug­gles to ac­cept the mother he thought dead for 20 years is still alive.

Doris McGar­rett is played by Emmy-win­ner Chris­tine Lahti.

‘‘ It’s re­ally mar­vel­lous to work with her and she’s play­ing the role pitch-per­fect,’’ he says. ‘‘ Chris­tine and the other guest ac­tors bring new flavours, a new flair and a new rhythm.

‘‘ I feel like this is our best sea­son so far.’’

Still hum­ming is his ‘‘ bro­mance’’ with co-star Scott Caan. Ad­di­tional re­port­ing:

GUY DAVIS Hawaii Five-O, Chan­nel 10, Mon­day, 9.30pm Ac­tion man: Alex O’Lough­lin now leaves the stunts to the stunt­men.

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