September 28th, 2016
For the seventh straight year, thousands of “Hawaii Five-0” fans showed up to welcome the show’s stars to the annual Sunset on the Beach season premiere in Waikiki.
San Diego resident Kailey Koons was among those who lined a security fence Friday afternoon more than two hours before series regulars Alex O’Loughlin, Scott Caan, Daniel Dae Kim, Jorge Garcia and Chi McBride made their appearance on the red carpet.
Armed with a poster that featured pictures of the entire cast — plus herself — she hoped to celebrate her 21st birthday with a greeting from her two favorite law enforcement officers, Steve McGarrett and Danny Williams.
“I started watching during season one,” said Koons. “Being in Hawaii and all is just amazing, but being able to watch the (premiere) episode with the cast is so cool.”
The season premiere screened after red carpet arrivals by the show’s stars along with local actors Taylor Wily, Dennis Chun and Teilor Grubbs, who have been shooting episodes since July and were on set earlier in the day before getting changed and making their way to Sunset on the Beach.
Every year fans travel to Hawaii from all over the world to catch a glimpse of the cast, who sign autographs and pose for photos before making their way down the red carpet.
Approximately 7,000 people were on hand by the time Grammy Award-winning artist Darius Rucker performed prior to the screening of “Makaukau ‘oe e Pa’ani.” He had been spotted earlier in the afternoon on the red carpet happily accepting an invitation from Lenkov and Guggenheim to get in touch about a future guest appearance on the show.
“I like the show a lot,” Rucker said afterward. “I do watch it. We’ve been talking about if I wanted to be a bad guy. We just don’t know what we’re going to do yet.”
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser spoke with a number of cast members as they made their way down the red carpet before the season premiere screening. Here’s what they had to say:
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER PETER LENKOV
Q: How does it feel that seven seasons in, thousands of fans still want to watch the season premiere on the beach with you?
A: We never take anything like this for granted. It’s amazing. We’ve got a very loyal fan base who still like the show. Every year I drive up here and I’m very nervous nobody is going to be here. We’re very lucky. I’ve never had this kind of experience before. It amazes me. Seven years later and I’m still blown away.
(The best part) for me (is) meeting the fans. It really is. We usually actually come in a little earlier. We come in at like noon. For me, that’s the real treat. (We brought) footballs and bags and banners and umbrellas (and) challenge coins. We had a lot of stuff this year. Some scripts. We bring the Coco Puffs, too.
Q: Now that the first episodes of both “MacGyver” and “Hawaii Five-0” are finished and on television, what do you think of the one-two punch the shows bring to CBS on Friday nights?
A: I think they complement each other. They’re pure entertainment. If you’re a fan of “Five-0,” I think you’ll like “MacGyver.” Very similar. They’re like brother and sister. They belong together. And that’s really what I set out to do, something that’s very Friday-friendly, something that could be something the family watches together. I’m really excited.
Q: Any thoughts about ABC’s plan to reinvent “Magnum P.I.” with Thomas Magnum’s daughter as the new main character?
A: I’m glad it’s coming back. I’m a huge fan of it in any incarnation, so I’m excited. I’ll watch.
ALEX O’LOUGHLIN (STEVE MCGARRETT)
Q: How has your approach to playing McGarrett changed from the first season compared to now?
A: I’ve never played a character for this long. The thing I really like about it that I’m really starting to see is that you get an ease that is very hard to find right away in film. You start a movie and once you start really getting comfortable with your character, you’re done.
Q: A lot of fans love the “cargument” scenes that have become a staple of the show. Do you love filming those scenes as much as fans love watching them?
A: It doesn’t take me any effort at all to yell at Scott on a regular basis. I take great pleasure in it. For some reason, we’re both outspoken people anyway. So once we start arguing, it kind of comes to us naturally, which is funny.
The first time it happened was when we read the pilot. We just started arguing and it was great.
DANIEL DAE KIM (CHIN HO KELLY)
Q: “Lost” filmed in Hawaii for six seasons before that show came to an end. What is it like making it to a seventh season with “Hawaii Five-0?”
A: If you would have told me the next series I did was actually going to be longer than “Lost,” I would have laughed. It’s very rare to have a show go 100 episodes, and now on “Hawaii Five-0,” we just finished shooting our 150th.
Q: How different is working on season 7 from previous seasons on the show? How do the two experiences compare?
A: We’ve really grown to become a family. When you first start working with a group of people, you’re getting to know them and everyone’s got a different energy. Everyone is coming together behind the scenes as well.
But now, after seven seasons, we shot a scene today where we were playing poker and the smiles were so natural. The ease with one another was just very comfortable and very organic. That’s the kind of thing you can’t manufacture.
Q: Peter mentioned in a recent interview with the Star-Advertiser that contract negotiations are underway with all of the main cast. Can you see yourself signing up for a longer run in Hawaii?
A: It’s an interesting question. I think Chin’s storyline has been great and I love the fans. Anything can happen.
CHI MCBRIDE (LOU GROVER)
Q: Now that filming is underway, what are you most excited for fans to see coming up during season 7?
A: What’s not to love? You’re in Hawaii and having a good time. I can’t think of anything better than us going into this seventh season and who knows how many more.
Q: Do you think your character has found his niche with the Five-0 task force?
A: That pretty much happened in season number five when we started. It’s pretty much old hat now. We all get along quite well both on and off camera. Grover is just as much a part of the fabric as anyone else, thank goodness.
Q: CBS is known to not shy away from crossover episodes. Would you want to see the cast of “Macgyver” and “Hawaii Five-0” share the screen?
A: Hey man, you never know. But they gotta come here. I’m not packing up any bags to go anyplace that gets cold. I don’t have any clothes for cold weather, so they have to come out here.
JORGE GARCIA (JERRY ORTEGA)
Q: “Lost” filmed in Hawaii for six seasons before that show came to an end. What is it like taking part in a seventh season with “Hawaii Five-0?”
A: Well, we knew “Lost” was ending at that stage of the game. With “Five-0,” who knows how long it can go?
Q: Will Jerry ever become a full-fledged member of the Five-0 task force?
A: Good question! So far, there’s no prop badge that I get. Or gun. But we’ll see. We will see. There’s going to be some moment when Jerry goes on strike because he’s not getting the appreciation he deserves.
TEILOR GRUBBS (GRACE WILLIAMS)
Q: Longtime fans of the show have watched you grow up on TV. Has your portrayal of Grace changed at all as you’ve gotten older?
A: I’m starting to get a lot harder roles. I’m growing as a character and it’s getting easier to relate to my everyday life than I was. It’s exciting.
Q: What’s the hardest part about living in Hawaii while starring on a hit TV show that films here?
A: I don’t know. I think I have it all. Most people want to live here and I’m on a hit TV show. It’s pretty great.
TAYLOR WILY (KAMEKONA)
Q: How does it feel to represent the local acting community on the show?
A: Well, first of all we have to give props and respect to Al Harrington. That’s the OG. I’m just under him trying to represent our people.
Q: If you had creative control, what would you want Kamekona to do next with his character?
A: I’d open up a club. Then I could put all the local entertainers on the show.
FOLLOWING THE beach premiere, nearly 400 VIP guests made their way to Sky Waikiki for the official Sunset on the Beach afterparty. CBS executives along with cast and crew from the show walked a 60-foot red carpet outside the club and were treated to exclusive new “Five-0” footage screened on Sky Waikiki’s 30-foot 4KHD media wall.
Sky Waikiki’s resident mixologist, Jenn Ackrill, also created a specialty cocktail for guests that celebrated the 150th episode being filmed and executive chef Lance Kosaka was on hand to supervise food service during the party.
“Hawaii Five-0” airs at 8 p.m. Fridays on CBS.
Jason Genegabus has covered the local entertainment, nightlife, music and bar scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.