Hawaii actor busy with film and farm
Actor Joe McGinn
wears his black hair down to his shoulders -- a far cry from his clean-cut days at Damien Memorial School in the early 1990s. It served him well while filming a full-length feature that recently wrapped a 23-day shoot on the Big Island.
McGinn, 30, played a convenience-store owner and pig hunter in "Relapse," a story about the adverse effects of crystal methamphetamine.
The film is scheduled for completion in March, and cast and crew are hoping for wide release. Eventually, they'd like to see it shown and discussed in schools, according to McGinn. The University of the Nations in Kailua-Kona (if you've never heard of it, they apparently have a film school) sponsored the production.
But this is just one of McGinn's many projects. In an episode of "Beyond the Break," he played a significant role as the Waianae High School football coach, and has worked as an extra on "Lost" (look for him in the finale of Season 3, where he was a nurse in the hospital alongside Matthew Fox). He also worked on "Hawaii" and the feature "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," and helped with casting when "Las Vegas" shot on Oahu in 2006.
It all started when teacher Abraham Mokunui encouraged McGinn -- when both were at Damien -- to compete in speech and debate. That's where McGinn perfected his presentation skills.
McGinn continued this pursuit at Leeward Community College, where he also took voice lessons. Later, he earned a communications degree at the University of Hawaii, studying Web development along the way. A business degree from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, followed. Now he strives to achieve "balance" in life.
When he's waiting for callbacks, farming on the Big Island keeps him grounded. His great-grandparents operated an ulu, or breadfruit, farm on Oahu's North Shore (when asked his heritage, McGinn says he's "everything"). Despite his attraction to the world of Hollywood, he'll always know how to maintain his perspective.
Have you heard about the Hilo boys getting a ton of attention on YouTube? Ryan Higa and Sean Fujiyoshi produced a video that caught the attention of a Big Island newspaper for its catchy rap rhythm, good-humored self-deprecation and entertaining crotch grabbing. But here's the real news: As of yesterday nearly 10,000 viewers had posted comments, and the item had nearly 2 million hits. Others involved with the video include Kyle Chun, Tim Enos and Ryan Villaruel. Judge for yourself at www.youtube.com/nigahiga.
How will global warming affect us in the islands? Ted Obringer and Russell Shimooka examine this phenomenon in a one-hour documentary "Hawaii's Climate Crisis," airing at 9 p.m. Tuesday on KHON/Fox. It won't take much effort (except that you'll be forced to fire up a few neurons), since it follows the season premiere of "American Idol."