It should come as no surprise to fans of Hawaii Five-0 that Alex O’Loughlin is GQ Australia’s Man of the Year in the acting category. The articles leading up to the event made it appear that Alex was in competition with Joel Edgerton who landed the Man of The Year title, but perhaps the Aussies do things a little differently. But no worries, as we continue to enjoy our main man on our favorite show with the bonus of hot new photos!
The below excerpt is from the GQ AU issue currently on sale in Australia.
Photos: Dusan Reljin
How does a battler go from labouring on Canberra’s building sites to living the showbiz dream in Hawaii? Hard work, steely resilience and a very Australian sense of humour.
The sun’s final dance of the day melts into the horizon as Alex O’Loughlin straddles his surfboard at the back of a gentle Hawaiian break, chatting to a surfer who recognises him from Hawaii Five-0, the TV series that delivered him to the archipelago 18 months ago.
It’s been six years since this high-school dropout from Canberra arrived in the City Of Angels. The only surfing back then was from couch to couch, crashing with mates until an eventual call-up.
That initial luck fell flat, with his first two shows cancelled. But then came the reboot of an iconic ’70s staple, an updated boys-own adventure that had O’Loughlin taking the baton from Magnum, P.I. in fighting crime — often shirtless — around Honolulu.
We sit down with O’Loughlin back on dry land — with his shirt firmly on.
Is it true you once wanted to fly planes?
Yeah, I was in kindergarten and the teacher asked what we wanted to do when we grew up. I said, “I want to be a fighter pilot.” She stopped in front of my desk and said, “Haven’t you got asthma?”
I said, “Yeah”. She said, “Well, you’ll never be a fighter pilot.”
Wow, that’s harsh.
I was crushed. And I never pursued a career in the skies.
Still, aviation’s loss was acting’s gain. How did you end up going that way?
I did my first play at primary school. I was about 10; I’ll never forget it. When I walked out under the lights and the audience was paying attention, I just got it. But I didn’t really think it was something I could do.
I was a working-class kid and I saw acting as a middle-class profession. So I went off and did a lot of other things. I was interested in building, in fact I loved it. I worked on a lot of houses and offices and it was good. It meant I could get my physical thing on and see something emerge. I also worked in hospitality. I once worked for Neil Perry as a barman and a waiter.
So when you decided to try out for NIDA, your main acting experience was from primary school?
I had no technical skills. I didn’t know what I was doing, but when it felt right it came from an instinct and I think people saw that. And passion. If I ever lose that passion I think I’ll change career.
Are you ambitious?
It can be a very ugly word, especially in this business. But I’ve always had a lot of drive. Whether I was working on a building site or auditioning or moving to the US, I’ve always done it with all of my heart. I don’t know how to do it any other way.