HAWAII has always been associated with words like exotic, heavenly, paradise and many others. And why not? It is a truly a beautiful place, not just in geographical terms, but in its people and culture too.
Made up of eight main islands – the biggest being Hawaii, or the “Big Island” – and surrounded by hundreds of other tiny islands, Hawaii is the 50th state to join the United States in 1959. This is one of the main reasons why the TV show Hawaii Five-0 is so called.
“When they first started work on the show it was originally called The Man, but ultimately, they wanted it to showcase the state of Hawaii so they changed the title,” explained Hawaii Five-0 executive producer Peter Lenkov in an interview in Honolulu last week.
With Hawaii Five-0’ s classic editing style of showing delectable images of the Oahu and its beautiful people in between scenes, it is hard not to fantasise about being there.
“ Hawaii Five-0 is a postcard for the state. The original show did so much for tourism here, so there’s potential for this one to also boost the state’s economy,” said Daniel Dae Kim, referring to the economic slump that Hawaii has been experiencing for the past two years.
The Aloha Spirit, an important sentiment in Hawaiian life where “each person must think and emote good feelings to others” (as explained in Hawaii’s state law), is clearly portrayed in each episode of the series.
However, apart from Kim who has been living in Honolulu for about eight years now, not all the main actors have fully adapted to the island lifestyle.
“I miss the chaos and the stress of the city life, I miss Italian food. I think Hawaii is a wonderful place to live in, don’t get me wrong, but I grew up in Los Angeles and have lived in New York, so it’s a pretty big change for me,” said Scott Caan.
Meanwhile, Australian Alex O’Loughlin found it rather easy to adapt to his new life in Honolulu. “Hawaiians are like Australians, so it wasn’t that difficult for me. But I do miss my family,” he said.
Still, being homesick is nothing compared to what Grace Park experienced. “The first month was extremely stressful. I couldn’t get credit for a car! I kept telling them that I paid all my bills on time back home and that I pay taxes but the bank still wouldn’t give me a loan. So, I had to call my father,” she revealed.
Park also said that although it is great to see people being so kind to one another on the island, she does tend to be wary of their sincerity sometimes.
“It’s a small place, you know, and it is hard to gauge people’s sincerity. Sometimes I wonder if somebody’s being nice to me because they know who I am or simply because they’re actually nice. You just never know,” she said.
Cast members (from left) Scott Caan, Daniel Dae Kim, Alex O’Loughlin and Grace Park working on the Aloha Spirit, which is portrayed in each episode of the series.