Honolulu Star-Bulletin Local News

New ‘Five-0’ crew
will book ’em again

Filming of the pilot will
begin in a few days

By Tim Ryan

With just eight days before filming is scheduled to begin on the "Hawaii Five-0" pilot for CBS Television, a revised script is nearly complete and key locations are set, but the five primary roles for the show remain uncast.

Kam Fong in the
original series

The 12-day filming of the screenplay by Stephen J. Cannell is scheduled to begin March 25 and must be ready to air in May for the ratings sweeps.

In the current script, a cameo role for actor Jack Lord, who was to portray Hawaii's governor, has been eliminated because he reportedly is too ill to perform. Instead, James MacArthur, who played Detective Danny Williams in the original show, will be governor.

In the first script, MacArthur was head of the "Five-0" team and was murdered. In the rewrite, a character named Alex Bowland - a non-speaking part that could be filled by a Hawaii actor - heads "Five-0" but dies early on, said Jo Swerling, co-executive producer.

In the opening sequence, simply titled "Hawaii Five-0," an assassin attempts to kill Gov. Williams but instead kills Bowland and seriously wounds Williams during a ceremony at Iolani Palace.

Hawaii's lieutenant governor appoints Jimmy Xavier Berk, the number 2 "Five-0" guy, and Nick Irons, a former FBI field office chief in Honolulu, Swerling said. Irons is the governor's favorite because he came to Hawaii from Washington D.C. at William's request to help find his kidnapped daughter.

The two detectives are an odd pair, Swerling said, because Irons always wears a suit and tie with never a wrinkle despite Hawaii's heat and humidity and goes strictly by the book. Berk "is more laid back and wears torn jeans and Hawaiian shirts."

The "retired" detectives, Chinn Ho, Kono and "Truck," are introduced early in the pilot.

Irons doesn't want any assistance "from a buncha half-blind, old guys in straw hats." But Berk argues that "the old guys are very valuable because current criminals don't recognize them" and because they've "got seasoning."

File photo
Cast members from the original "Hawaii Five-O" share
a laugh during a gathering in Burbank, Calif., in October 1996.
They are, from left, Zulu, James MacArthur and Kam Fong.
All three will have roles in the new "Five-O," too.

Without Irons' cooperation, Berk involves the original "Five-0" team in helping solve the shootings.

The "Five-0" offices are far different than when the "old guys" worked here some 20 years ago. Now there's an ultra-high-tech look with wall screens projecting crime data, and electronic image enhancers everywhere.

As for details of the actual plot, it's similar to the original "Five-0" pilot in that there is international intrigue. Once the crime is solved, Lt. Gov. Aaron Oka must pick either Irons or Berk to head the "Five-0" unit. But you'll have to tune in to see who gets the nod and the clever twist to the delicate situation.

The list of actors being considered for the two key roles is "endless" and includes some well-known performers and newcomers, Swerling said. Neither Kam Fong, who plays Chinn Ho, nor MacArthur have yet signed a contract, sources said.

Swerling expects MacArthur's character to be a recurring one. And the pilot is written in such a way that the other regulars "could appear in a number of episodes," he said.

The theme composed by Morton Stevens and performed by The Ventures will be "updated and reorchestrated," Swerling said. Not all of the original montage in the opening credits will be used but producers plans to pay homage to certain key shots by rephotographing the famous zoom-in shot of McGarrett on the terrace of an Ilikai Hotel penthouse, the hula girls and the King Kamehameha statue.

"We're trying to keep the flavor of the original show," Swerling said. "We don't want 'Five-0' fans to say that what they see in the pilot isn't what they loved about the original."

And, yes, the show's most famous phrase, "Book 'em, Danno," once again will be uttered, but in a twist, MacArthur gets to deliver the line.

Who da guys?

The five main characters in the "Hawaii Five-0" pilot, according to the script and co-executive producer Jo Swerling:

Nick Irons, age 40, "ramrod straight, cut from granite," usually wearing a black tie and suit. His appearance is "unremittingly crisp."

Det. Jimmy Xavier Berk, 40-something, bald, wears rumpled suits, white socks and brown shoes. "His head glistens; his shoes don't." Berk is second in command at "Five-0."

Det. Ken Vassey, 25, a blond, handsome, fit, surfer type. "He looks like he either stepped off the pages of G.Q. or Hang Ten magazine."

Det. Rellica Sun, "a beautiful Eurasian girl, black hair and slashing black eyes. One of Hawaii's finest." (Named after island surfer Rell Sunn?)

Det. Danny Kahala, young and Hawaiian.

What you said???

The "Hawaii Five-0" pilot revives some of the characters from the original series. Here is some of the pilot dialogue for actors Kam Fong, Zulu and Moe Keale:

Chinn Ho (Fong), as he begins to follow a suspect: "Dis turkey's gonna get roasted." Wondering about Gov. Williams' condition: "You think they gonna have ta write d'song for Danno?" Reacting to the death of the "Five-0" head: "Alex go join his kumulipo on d'big reef."

Kono (Zulu), after the shootings: "Dey sure got some kinda big Kapulu going out der." Reacting to Nick Irons' possible appointment to head "Five-0": "Maybe he run the 'Five-0' all time forever."

"Truck" (Keale) questions Irons' appointment as head of "Five-O": "How come den he don't never take off da' coat and tie? What kind Kamaaina Ting dat?"

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