Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Terms of Entitlement

by carol

Success can be defined in many ways. For actors, it may be an Emmy or Oscar on the mantle. A singer may take pride in receiving a Grammy or Tony. A politician wins an election. Hey, getting a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame gets your picture in the paper too.

Or … maybe you’ve hit the big time when you can demand a rider in your contract.

Sarah Palin insists on having prescreened questions, first-class round trip tickets, bendable straws, and an audience profile at her public appearances.*
In her 2010 world tour rider, Rihanna’s (real name: Robin Fenty) particular dressing room needs included: a six-foot couch that needs to be "White, Cloth, Plush (no leather)" and "wide enough for her to stretch out on and sometime take a nap." Animal print throw pillows ("Cheetah, Leopard") cannot have sequins. Since Rihanna's arena digs are often locker rooms normally occupied by basketball and hockey players, the spaces need to be spruced up with "Icy Blue Chiffon" placed atop drapery and "Archipelago Black Forest Candles." The bathroom, of course, must be "spotless," and the toilet has to be deep cleaned before the star's arrival.*

A baby boomer band is at the point that its rider states three oxygen tanks and three masks be provided backstage for their use. That's one requirement on the AC/DC 2008 tour rider. The band's alcohol requirement consisted of exactly one case of Heineken in bottles, though the rider noted, in bold letters, "no beer in dressing room prior to show." Presumably there are no restrictions on their requested small selection of "fun size" candy bars before a concert. Ditto that tasty assortment of imported cheese and crackers (of course, "English cheeses and water crackers preferred").*

Underage Justin Bieber’s tour rider is quite tame when compared to others. The singer wants concert promoters to provide mixed nuts, potato chips, herbal teas, some Vitamin Water, and deli, vegetable, and fruit platters. Bieberphiles may be interested to know that Justin’s candy of choice focuses on gummy treats: Swedish Fish (in the U.S.) and Big Foot (for Canadian shows). The singer also needs one Vicks Personal Steam Inhaler, Purell antibacterial soap, and an assortment of plain white t-shirts and “lo-rise” socks.*

Along with other performers, Jennifer Lopez took part in a remake of Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" for charity and was at Miami's Big Time studio on October 20 to film her cameo in the accompanying music video.  The production crew was given a detailed rider by Lopez's reps describing what needed to be in place prior to her arrival. It included a 45' trailer with triple slide outs and two entry doors equipped with hair sink and make-up station. Her dressing room required flowers, tables, drapes, candles and couches, all of which had to be white.*

Beyonce asks for Pepsi products only, Honey Nut Cheerios, Ginger Root, a two-man love seat, constant temperature of 78F in dressing room, freshly scrubbed toilet cleaned with disinfectant, as well as no sweets, chocolate or crisps in her dressing room.*

Johnny Depp is reported to like his dressing room decorated with Moroccan drapes and filled with candles and water pipes.

Knowing that Hawaii Five-0 star Alex O’Loughlin is an easy-going Aussie, I imagine his contract rider might be quite simple, perhaps with requests such as these:
  • 3 cases of Australian bottled water (preferably from Sydney)
  • 1 chocolate cake and a spoon
  • Snausages in variety pack for Reggie
  • 1 Bowflex or Total Gym  to hang clothes on since he won’t have time to exercise
  • 5 packs Nicotine gum and 1 box Cuban cigars
  • HDTV (minimum 42” screen) with dvd’s of Family Guy AND Xbox game system hooked up to TV with latest, most violent Xbox game
  • iPhone charger base plus extra batteries
  • Bags of chocolates for bodyguards to throw out as a distraction while fending frenzied fans off Alex
Did I miss anything important? Something Alex must have?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Taylor-made Dreams

By Pam

Starsky and Hutch had Huggy Bear. Baretta had Rooster.  The original Steve McGarrett had Joey Lee, a former gang leader turned confidential informant. The CI is an important part of the investigative process.  They supply information from the “street” where the good guys can’t go.   Usually, in the television cop/PI drama, the CI also offers comic relief.

Kamekona, the new Hawaii Five-0’s CI, offers so much more than information. He owns a successful shave-ice franchise, besides being a baby sitter and quite an adept sock puppet master.  And Kamekona can give Danny a run for his funny any day of the week. He has become a beloved unofficial member of the 5-0 team. Taylor Wily fits the role to a tee.

Taylor is a former sumo wrestler and mixed martial artist. Known as Takamikuni and the highest ranking sumo wrestler in the stable in 1987, he became a mentor. In March 1989 he reached his highest ever rank of makushita 2, and even fought two bouts with elite juryo ranked wrestlers. 

 After retiring from sumo in 1989, he went on to compete in the very first bout of the UFC 1 (Ultimate Fighting Championships) in November 1993. He was known in the UFC circuit as Teila Tuli, a variation of his first name, Taylor, and his middle name. The UFC owners wanted a more island sounding name for his persona. 

 In 2007, Taylor appeared in the feature film Forgetting Sarah Marshall, as a hotel worker who befriends the main character Jason Segel.

I decided to contact Taylor and ask if he would answer a few questions. Holding true to the Aloha Spirit, this gentle giant was immediately receptive to the idea. 

You have a sumo wrestling and boxing fighting style background. How did you get into acting?
Taylor: Always dreamed it! And when I heard they were casting a Hawaii sumo wrestler back in ’93, I jumped all over it!   And I always dreamed of being on TV so I went out and read in front of the directors. The Hawaii-based show was Birds of Paradise

How did you get the role of Kamekona?
Taylor: Casting Director at that time, Margret, let me know about the audition and I hit it up. Read the script last minute, walked in and read it!!!!!  Blessing.

Your Facebook account shows you are family oriented and very proud of your heritage. How does your family feel about you playing a character like Kamekona, who some might say is stereotypical?
Taylor: My family is enjoying it way more than I thought. I love the energy that it brings the world- they are all family too. It's a dream come true to play a role such as this one! It allows me to be who I am. Stereotyping ain't accepted in my world. I try to uphold that! I'm too busy sorting out what seems real to me, and ignore what seems to hold progress up.

Of the four main characters on Hawaii Five-0, who is your favorite?
Taylor: It's hard to have one favorite character out of the 4 because of their individual brilliance each actor brings to already favorite, legendary characters! Which is a very hard accomplishment.  GM (General Manager, Peter Lenkov) for Five-0 put together some championship team! #1 in da League !!!

What’s your favorite flavor of shave ice?
Taylor: On da real! I'm old school strawberry and banana, but still groupie of other flavors.

You are CEO of a music and entertainment label called All Heart. How did you get involved with that?
Taylor:  As a body guard and being with "Fiji the artist" I had it around me all the time - it just made sense, good plan or not at da time! (lol) I come from a village of entertainers. It's part of my destiny to be part of the business.

On Hawaii Five-0, do you think we’ll see another performance of what I like to call “Sock Puppet Theater,” like we saw in the episode "Kai e’e?" That was hilarious!
Taylor: Really don't know how I feel about that, but wouldn’t mind. As long as you guys keep watching! We can do it all day!

Who can’t agree with Executive Producer, Peter Lenkov, who said to Taylor at the time of his audition, "Don't move no where! Stay on the Island!” 


For a deeper look into the life of Taylor Wily, I recommend reading MAN IN THE MIRROR: Taylor Wily's study in reflective thinking
Posted July 03, 2006 Lisa J. Fehoko, writer at

Click here to become Taylor's friend on Facebook.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

GQ Style Australia cover story on Alex O'Loughlin transcribed

Caution: article contains adult language.

GQ Style Australia
Autumn/Winter 2011

Talking Five-0
Words Brendan Shanahan
Photography Robbie Fimmano
Styling Wayne Gross

Who would have predicted a former plumber’s apprentice from Canberra with a CV consisting of flops, misfires and obscure cult hits would be handed the lead role in the biggest American TV show of 2011?  Alex O’Loughlin’s ship has finally come – packed to the gunwales with colourful villains, wisecracking cops and bikini-clad femme fatales.

Nearly halfway through my interview with actor Alex O’Loughlin, the conversation takes an unexpected turn. He’s been talking about being in his mid-30’s, heading towards that dreaded period in which you are forced to ask yourself – what is truly important to me?

When I share some of my own fears with O’Loughlin, he recommends that I read Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet. For a time he extols the virtues of the classic text before coming to a sudden halt. “Can I ask you a question?” he says, not leaving any time to answer.  “Am I going to sound like a cunt when this interview comes out?”

This frankly phrased query arrives seemingly from nowhere. It’s asked partly in jest – another of the actor’s self-deprecating asides that scatter our conversation – and partly in an attempt to deflate any accusations of pretentiousness. But there is a part of it that feels genuine, too.  It’s difficult to know exactly how to respond. I do my best to reassure him (“Not unless you are a cunt,” I reply, which gets a laugh) and the interview continues. Nevertheless, I am left with a sense that Alex O’Loughlin is a bit of a livewire.

At 34 years of age, O’Loughlin has long been touted as “Australia’s next big thing” in Hollywood. With his aquiline features and the kind of rugged off-screen persona that the Yanks seem to lap up in Aussie actors, it always seemed just a matter of time. Now, almost seven years since his debut in the Australian film Oyster Farmer, and after a series of frustrating misfires, he might just be about to fulfill the destiny many have predicted for him.

The vehicle for O’Loughlin’s entry to the A-list is his lead role in the big-budget remake of the classic TV series Hawaii Five-0. Only loosely based on the original (this version is spelled with a zero, as in Hawaii Five 2.0) the new show sees O’Loughlin play Steve McGarrett, a Navy SEAL looking to avenge the death of his father as head of a multicultural kill squad given carte blanche by the island state’s governor.

The show is pure old-fashioned, suspension-of-disbelief entertainment, of the sort in which gorgeous female detectives have fistfights in bikinis and downtown Honolulu sees more explosions than Baghdad. Since its US debut in September last year, Hawaii Five-0 has enjoyed solid ratings, a fact that must come as some relief to its creators. Retreading such iconic shows is a big risk: a number of spectacular flops have made networks and audiences wary. Surely O’Loughlin couldn’t help but feel the pressure, both artistically and commercially?

“It’s really important that if you’re an artist involved in recreating something as iconic as this, that you find some way to step away from that. First of all, there’s a lot of fans of the old show and a lot of critics who are looking to get their teeth into us. And then there’s also a lot of fans and friends of Jack Lord – who played the original Steve McGarrett – and I’m an Australian. So I can’t think about any of that. All I can think about is doing my work, being true and honest within the character and trying to deliver on time.”