Bless­ing in dis­guise

Run­ning around and ‘fight­ing’ in ac­tion dra­mas has helped Chi Mcbride open up a new ca­reer path.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - TV - By YIP WAI YEE

Amer­i­can ac­tor chi (pro­nounced “shy”) mcBride lost 28kg over the past five years partly be­cause he took on a string of ac­tion-heavy TV roles. Best known as the im­pos­ing high school prin­ci­pal in TV drama Bos­ton Pub­lic (2000 to 2004), he played a de­tec­tive in ac­tion se­ries Hu­man Tar­get (2010) and Golden Boy (2013).

now, the 52-year-old joins the fourth and lat­est sea­son of hit se­ries Hawaii Five0 as SWaT cap­tain Lou Grover, a role that re­quires plenty of run­ning around, gun shoot-outs and fist fights.

Speak­ing over the tele­phone re­cently from his home in Los an­ge­les, he says: “i’ve dropped 62lbs (28kg) in the last five years and that’s amaz­ing. i did it to stay alive. i was 48 years old and my doc­tors asked me, ‘Didn’t you have enough pizza?’

“So i de­cided i was go­ing to change the way i live my life. Then i got to do ac­tion roles and that has just been so great.”

This has opened a whole new ca­reer path for him. “Do­ing ac­tion length­ens your ca­reer a bit. ac­tion is some­thing that peo­ple haven’t nor­mally seen me do, i’m re­ally grate­ful for it,” he says.

mcBride, who is mar­ried with three sons aged six to 33, started out in mu­sic, re­leas­ing a sin­gle in 1989, He’s The Champ, which spoofed the mar­riage be­tween boxer mike Tyson and his then-wife ac­tress robin Givens. He also re­leased an al­bum as part of r&B group covert but it failed to take off.

He then turned to act­ing at age 30, do­ing a guest role in hit TV se­ries The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air (1992) and a sup­port­ing bit in the movie Re­venge Of The Nerds III: The Next Gen­er­a­tion (1992).

He has since acted in more than 30 films and 28 TV se­ries, in­clud­ing the film Mer­cury Ris­ing (1998) star­ring Bruce Wil­lis and TV dra­mas Push­ing Daisies (2007 to 2009) and The Nine (2006 to 2007).

But it was his part as school prin­ci­pal Steven Harper in Bos­ton Pub­lic, about a fic­tional pub­lic high school, that earned him a nom­i­na­tion for in­di­vid­ual achieve­ment in Drama at the Tele­vi­sion crit­ics as­so­ci­a­tion awards in 2001.

While he en­joyed all his roles, he says there are none that he wishes could have lasted longer. “i’m not re­ally sen­ti­men­tal like that. if you don’t un­der­stand the con­cept that things end, you are go­ing to be do­ing a lot of drink­ing. You know what i mean?”

Were you a fan of the orig­i­nal

se­ries that aired from 1968 to 1980?



Yes, ab­so­lutely. i grew up watch­ing it and loved it. i was work­ing on other shows when the new Hawaii Five-0 came out, so i didn’t have a chance to watch it. But af­ter i was ap­proached about join­ing it, i watched the older episodes on DVD. They were full of ac­tion, and very in­ter­est­ing and ex­cit­ing.

What was it like be­ing the new guy on an es­tab­lished show?

i love work­ing with the cast. i’ve known (ac­tor) Scott caan for many years and he’s re­ally fun to be around. alex O’Lough­lin and Scott and i also have a lot in com­mon, and we’ll smoke cigars and tell sto­ries. i play golf with a lot of the pro­duc­tion guys. and get­ting to shoot in Hawaii, that’s been a bless­ing be­cause there’re so many things to do, whether it’s golf or hik­ing or what­ever. it’s a bal­ance of vo­ca­tional life and pri­vate life as well.

Your char­ac­ter Lou Grover was fea­tured on the orig­i­nal and was

Hawaii Five-O

played by Scott Brady. Did you feel any bur­den in keep­ing old and new fans of the show happy?

not re­ally, be­cause of­ten­times when you start wor­ry­ing about things like that, you end up do­ing a car­i­ca­ture of a per­for­mance. all i can do is use what­ever small tal­ent i have and de­pend on the writ­ing – and it’s been re­ally great. my job is to in­ter­pret what they write down on the page and i don’t let any­thing else creep into my head.

Hawaii Five-0

That de­pends on your def­i­ni­tion of diver­sity. i think Hol­ly­wood is a busi­ness that cares only about one colour: green. if you can make money, they don’t care what colour you are.

i never ap­proached my job from the stand­point of my race be­cause i’ve al­ways had a lot of con­fi­dence in what i’m able to do as an ac­tor, so i’ve never dealt with the diver­sity is­sue. any­way, diver­sity is more than just a bunch of peo­ple who look dif­fer­ent. if you put peo­ple who look dif­fer­ent in the same place, all you have is a Benet­ton ad which is great if you want to sell a lot of sweaters. But diver­sity is much deeper than how peo­ple look or what their races are.

Hawaii Five-0,

i’ve been bust­ing out Y chro­mo­somes since 1980 and i’m glad i don’t have any daugh­ters be­cause i have enough grey hairs as it is. The prob­lem would be that she’d try to wrap me around her lit­tle fin­ger and i’d pretty much let her, and it would just be a mess.

Bruce Wil­lis told me that the first time some­body came over to take his daugh­ter out on a date, he was sit­ting on the porch, clean­ing his gun and he asked the guy, ‘Hey kid, did you see Die Hard?’ The kid goes ‘Yeah’ and he’s like ‘al­right then’ and lets him walk away. i’m so glad i don’t have to deal with that kind of busi­ness.

You started out in mu­sic be­fore go­ing into act­ing. Would you ever con­sider go­ing back into mu­sic?

Hell, no. my record didn’t go gold nor plat­inum – my record went plas­tic. i ac­tu­ally don’t know any­one other than my fam­ily who even owns the record. i don’t even have a copy of it.

if you work in the movie or TV busi­ness, your movie or TV show can be a hit or a flop, but you are still go­ing to get paid. But you can make an al­bum for a record com­pany and if it is never com­ing out, then at the end of the day, they’ll hand you a bill say­ing you owe them US$100,000. So, no thanks.

How would you like to be re­mem­bered?

i don’t think about stuff like this be­cause in 100 years, noth­ing will mat­ter. But if i’m go­ing to be re­mem­bered, i hope it’s by the peo­ple who truly love and care for me. To be re­mem­bered for what kind of man i’ve been to my wife and what kind of fa­ther i’ve been to my chil­dren – that’s what re­ally mat­ters. ev­ery­thing else is bulls***.

i know plenty of peo­ple whom ev­ery­one loves and sends them fan mail, but their kids hate them. i’d rather have it the other way around. — The Straits Times, Sin­ga­pore/asia news net­work

Hawaii Five-0 Sea­son 4 airs ev­ery Mon­day at 10pm on AXN (Astro Ch 701/HD Ch 721).

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