Before they hit the stage of Sunset on the Beach or the media cameras of the red carpet, the stars of Hawaii Five-0 greeted their fans at the second season premiere. Many had waited for hours in the Waikiki sun for a glimpse of the actors and they did not disappoint. Although every single one was gracious, my favorite was the youngest.
Teilor Grubbs plays Grace Williams, daughter of Scott Caan’s Danno Williams. She was not part of the red carpet arrivals, she and her family entered through the VIP walkway. Fans, including several about her age, called for her to sign autographs and after her father nodded his consent, she obliged. Her smile was open and honest, she seemed happy and composed – not at all artificial or conceited.
Her willingness to engage with fans was matched by the other stars – but not by CBS. I thought last year’s crowd control was bad but it was worse this year. After asking many people where the stars would arrive and getting no satisfactory answer, I positioned myself along a barricade that seemed to have a view of several possible approaches. I asked several times if the barricade would move and was told no. But, minutes before the stars were slated to arrive, we were moved back to create a VIP pathway that became a barrier between us and the red carpet arrival area. Not only were we moved back after waiting for hours, the various VIPs stood in front of us while their names were checked off “the list” when it would have been very possible to move out of the way on the sand between the walkway and the VIP area.
On all sides, fans ringed the area several layers deep, hoping to get a photo of their favorite star. International media who had passes to access the red carpet area or the center arrival area constantly stood in areas that blocked our view. They had MANY places to stand and we were hemmed in but they seemed not to notice or care that they stood between us and photos of the stars. They were more than happy to use us as a backdrop for their own shots, as they blocked ours.
I have been in the media. For many years, I worked in top ten media markets and I had all-access passes to anything I wanted. I hope I was not as insensitive as those I witnessed tonight. I chose to stand with the fans to record the fan experience – what everyone could see if they wanted to attend the Sunset on the Beach Hawaii Five-0 Premiere. It seemed as though the Sunset on the Beach staff (including really large security guys who make excellent blockades), the media, and especially CBS, were intent on showing the fans that they rank really low on the ladder.
Everyone, that is, EXCEPT the stars of the show. They went out of their way to overcome the cattle-chutes created by CBS. They went out to shake hands with fans, take pictures, sign autographs – every single one of them made their way to the fans. Some had to double-back to get around the barriers. Honestly, I expected Daniel Dae Kim to be as approachable as he was in the past two years (for the first Hawaii Five-0 premiere and for the finale of Lost). But he was equalled by Scott Caan who seemed to launch out of the limo in the direction of the crowds lining the street. He was smiling and laughing and good with the world. At one point last year, there were rumors that he was less than happy with the show and/or shooting in Hawaii but there was no evidence of it tonight. He was as accommodating with fans as any local.
Last year, Al Harrington was a local favorite as an actor repeating from the first incarnation of Hawaii Five-0. He is joined this year by Taylor Wily’s Kamekona.
Both showed local flair, as did Mark Dacascos – the Iron Chef who doubles as bad guy Wo Fat on the crime drama. I think he shook every single hand around the entire perimeter of the barricade – I know he shook mine. He was smiling and sincere and everything his character is not. At one point, he and Terry O’Quinn met one another in our area, each coming from a different direction. Rather than being concerned that someone was being upstaged, the actors willingly shared the spotlight. Even Alex O’Loughlin, the Aussie star who has become the pin-up fixation of women of all ages, took his time along the line of fans. He signed autographs on newspapers, caps and t-shirts, smiling all the while.
Every single star of Hawaii Five-0 was filled with aloha for the fans. They accomplished something that all the sound and fury of the orchestrated stage show could not – they created a real connection with the people who tune in every Monday night. We appreciate it!