Five-0 Redux: Wild at heart

Nov. 30, 2013 | 7 Comments

BY WENDIE BURBRIDGE / Special to the Star-Advertiser

Talking to Hawaiʻi actor Will Oak Wild is like talking to a determined whirling dervish — he’s wild to a point, a bit of a daredevil and hungry for more knowledge, culture and experience, but strong in his sense of self and purpose. He is not one to wait for things to happen, but moved to make the world what he wants it to be, both for himself and others.

I had the privilege of speaking to Wild a week after “Ka ʻoiaʻiʻo maloko” (“The Truth Within”) aired on CBS. Wild played British mastermind Ellis Gregory, who stole the Kamehameha statue from Kapaʻau and unravelled the mystery behind the Medici Keys.

Will Oak Wild. (Courtesy Tracy Wright Corvo)

Will Oak Wild. (Courtesy Tracy Wright Corvo)

Fans loved the episode because of its infusion of Hawaiian culture into the typical procedural and the featured special guest star, Jorge Garcia. While Wild’s two scenes basically showed his capture and arrest, the action and intensity of his demise was memorable. Wild’s scenes featured him in a gunfight with McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) and Danno (Scott Caan) in the Honolulu Museum of Art, which lead him to steal his getaway vehicle from the “History of Motorcycles” exhibit and ended with him wiping out before Sgt. Duke Lukela (Dennis Chun) and a slew of HPD officers.

Before he’s hauled away by our heroes McG and Danno, we get to see a little bit of the bravado and cocky self-assuredness of his character. The look on Wild’s face basically says, “I’ll be back. Don’t you worry, McG.”

All in all, some strong acting from Wild. While brief, his scenes were a testament to his acting ability and athleticism. He wasn’t a villain I could instantly forget; perhaps it was the fact that he said very little and let his face and actions tell most of his story.

When asked about his scenes, he was very candid about his experience. He was pleased I had picked up on so much about his character, who he saw as “someone cold and ruthless, but a real person who has been led astray.” In his one line with a little girl in the museum (Aya Laprete), we talked a lot about how he seemed to be so gentle with her, yet it was obvious he was not someone to cross.

“Ellis sees the innocence of a child, and doesn’t want to see her hurt,” said Wild. “But he has business to do, so she can’t be standing in his way.”

I told him I thought that made him more scary than if he had just said, “Scram, kid.” The fact he was kind to her made him all the more menacing. Sort of what you’d want in a villian, I suppose.

Wild spoke a lot about his acting training and work before “Five-0.” He was raised in Southern California and majored in art at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His father lives on Hawaiʻi island and Wild traveled back and forth between Hawaiʻi and California to spend time with his dad and surf. An avid outdoorsman who is “at home in the mountains as well as in the ocean,” he is an experienced skier, snowboarder, and ski racer as well as surfer. He has strong family support and tries to have “harmonious, healthy, and positive relationships” in his life.

 From left, "Hawaii Five-0" actors Shawn Mokuahi Garnett, Will Oak Wild, and Dennis Chun. (Courtesy Amy Bakari)

From left, “Hawaii Five-0″ actors Shawn Mokuahi Garnett, Will Oak Wild, and Dennis Chun. (Courtesy Amy Bakari)

Wild is definitely not a cold, ruthless conspirator like his character on the show. He is grateful for every experience that has made him the man he is today.

“I have to say thank you to (recurring cast member) Dennis Chun. He gave me so much support and direction,” said Wild. Both Chun and Wild worked and trained under Scott Rogers, who Wild said taught him a lot about auditioning, while Chun helped him on set.

“Dennis said being on the ‘Hawaii Five-0’ set is yet another place to train,” said Wild. “He really helped me and even coached me at little before my scene.”

Wild had already spent some time on set as a stand-in and said it was a great experience to meet everyone and learn the set dynamic before he got the part of Ellis Gregory.

“Getting to be a stand-in before I played Ellis helped me to just focus on the acting with no distractions, because I already understood how it worked on set,” he said.

He also had a chance to work with stunt coordinator Jeff Cadiente, who is “so great (and) gets to live a boy’s dream blowing stuff up, fighting, riding motorcycles.”

Under Cadiente’s guidance, Wild was allowed to ride a motorcycle down a hall in the Honolulu Museum of Art, but a professional biker went through two bikes to finish the stunt.

“I like the crew, they are such a cohesive team, a real tight family,” said Wild.

 Hawai'i actor Will Oak Wild on a stunt motorcycle for his scene in "Ka ʻoiaʻiʻo maloko." (Courtesy CBS)

Hawai’i actor Will Oak Wild on a stunt motorcycle for his scene in “Ka ʻoiaʻiʻo maloko.” (Courtesy CBS)

When I asked what it was like to work with Alex (O’Loughlin) and Scott (Caan), Wild said they both were “professional and very real.”

“Alex introduced himself to me and shook my hand,” he said. “He was very cool. He’s very interactive with everyone on set. He’s completely a hands-on actor. He suggested ways to better the scene, especially the fight scene. He’d be a great director one day.”

Wild said it was very interesting watching O’Loughlin “gear up and get into the zone.”

“He went full-on into the fight scene. It really felt like a real fight,” said Wild.

While he had more interaction with O’Loughlin, Wild said Caan is just “one of the boys” as they share similar Southern California and surfing roots.

Since his time on “Hawaii Five-0,” Wild has been very busy going to various commercial and short film auditions and working on several new projects. He’s currently working on a short film, “The Drop,” playing a rookie police officer. He also starred in a short film directed by fellow “Hawaii Five-0” actor Kainalu Hecomovich. Hecomovich played the “local tweaker” who tried to carjack McGarrett in “Kahu.”

Wild was recently booked for a Canadian television commercial for TB Bank and was just cast as Steve Malone on feature length thriller “Forget Him” by Michael McClafferty.

“I’m grateful to have been on an episode,” said Wild. “Hats off to the writers. When I got the script, it was a page turner.”

Follow Wild on Twitter and Facebook, and watch his latest short film, “Legend of the Bearwolf Clan,” on Vimeo.

Redux Side Note:

 Actor William Sadler, left, with fans Amy Bakari, Lisa Woo and Keith Sato, and fellow actor Dennis Chun, second from right. (Courtesy Kenny Kai)

Actor William Sadler, left, with fans Amy Bakari, Lisa Woo and Keith Sato, and fellow actor Dennis Chun, second from right. (Courtesy Kenny Kai)

On Nov. 23, “Hawaii Five-0” fans planned an impromptu party for actor William Sadler, who plays McG’s father John McGarrett. Sadler, who most recently guest starred in the NBC series “The Blacklist” and Showtime’s “Homeland,” was here to film more episodes of “Five-0.” Seeing pictures of Sadler with fans, it looked like he had a great time.

Fellow actor Dennis Chun also attended the event at Big City Diner Pearlridge, where fans had a chance to take photos and chat with the actors. The only thing Sadler did not share with the fans was information about the scenes he filmed while on Oʻahu this time around, but I know fans are all looking forward to seeing more episodes featuring “Poppa McG” in the future.
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Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

  • Angela Gerstner

    Mahalo, Wendie for always giving us something to read and enjoy – even when our favorite show has not aired on Friday.

    Although I admittedly do not remember much of the scenes with Will (I’m actually just asking myself if I ever watched the full episode 4.03 – As you know I couldn’t watch current episodes until a couple of months ago…), I still found the blog quite interesting – especially Will’s statements about his work on H50, about Alex and about Dennis giving him useful advice for his work on the show. We all knew that Dennis is a wonderful guy – and Will has reconfirmed that.

    I agree with Will that Alex could easily do a great job as a director in the future but I honestly hope Alex will continue to work in front of the camera. It would be such a shame to “hide” a fantastic actor like Alex behind a camera! I might be a little selfish but I’m sure that all of Alex’s fans agree with me cause we just love to see him on screen ;-) Well, he could do both – direct and act…

    Thanks to Will for sharing his experiences and insights from H50 with us!

  • https://twitter.com/FanmisaN Fanmisa (Nadia)

    Mahalo Wendie !!!
    Loved the episode , Gorge was fantastic, same as Will !

    I really love H50, not only for the amazing actors we have, or the awesome writing the entire team does, but for action/stunts AND for the #Ohana spirit, so well portrayed in some episode with on overall view of the hawaiian culture.
    I’m impressed by the way they respect and keep putting forward the island, the beautiful views we can have, the great places, breathtaking spots … they show us between 2 scenes of action or bromance.
    H50 isn’t only a procedural show IMO, but a real cultural show that makes us discover one of the best, if not THE best, place in the world ;)

    Mahalo Wendie for this review, not new ep but so happy to have our weekly review :P

  • jlopie1

    Mahalo for the great read this morning, Wendie! I was needing a little H50 fix today! This was one of my favorite episodes this seasons, and I remember quite well the museum action sequence! I, too, was taken with the villain’s concern for the little girl. Very well played by Mr. Wild! Hope to see more of this actor on future H50 episodes – I will look for him on other shows he might be on in the future!

    Love the way you continue to give us insights into the lesser-known actors who obviously lack the headliner characteristics as, say, Carol Burnett, but who also play an invaluable role in making H50 memorable!

    Two more weeks without another new H50 episode? Well, if nothing else, I’ll get my Christmas shopping done on time this year!

  • Dina

    Love your behind the scene interviews!!!!

  • lovedepp deppi

    This is yet one of your great interview Wendie :) thank you so much for making everything far, so close to reach <3 your the best & give Amy my best xoxox
    #GreatWork.

  • lovedepp deppi

    Awww, so love the part he was talking about Alex ^_^ im so happy to hear, it only improves the pic a draw for Alex in my head :) Mahalo Nui Loa for the wonderful interview, loved everything you guys talked about <3 <3 <3

  • Diane

    Great interview Wendie. Always enjoy your the inside scoop on the guest casts. Its great to have someone focus on the supporting cast and guest casts. I hope we see this actor again soon. Enjoyed what he added to the episode.