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GRACE PARK on 'HAWAII FIVE-0'

Contributed by Michael J. Lee, Executive Editor for RadioFree.com
July 23, 2010

Best known for her role on the critically acclaimed re-imagining of Battlestar Galactica, Grace Park is taking her talents to the reboot of another iconic television series: Hawaii Five-0. This update of the crime drama that ran from 1968 to 1980 retains the titular setting and instantly recognizable theme song of its predecessor, but raises the stakes with a more amped up, action-heavy, modernized sensibility, with a pilot directed by Len Wiseman (Underworld, Live Free or Die Hard) and penned by the in-demand Hollywood writing duo of Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (Star Trek, Transformers).

The new Hawaii Five-0 stars Alex O'Loughlin, Scott Caan, and Daniel Dae Kim as detectives Steve McGarrett, Danny "Danno" Williams, and Chin Ho Kelly, respectively. The character of Kono Kalakaua, a burly Hawaiian gentleman in the original, has been switched up into a fresh-faced rookie cop/resident island eye candy, played by Grace Park.

While covering the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con, we had the opportunity to speak to Grace about her new series. In this interview, she previews her character and the familial dynamic with Daniel Dae Kim's Chin Ho Kelly.

MEDIA: So how do you feel about being here at Comic-Con promoting a brand new show that's not even in the universe of Battlestar?

GRACE: Right! [laughs] I'm excited...When I heard that I got to come into Comic-Con with Daniel, and that Alex and Scott were going to go do [the Television Critics Association press tour], I was thrilled, because Comic-Con's always so much fun. I think one of the main things about Comic-Con is it's in the spirit of fun, you know? To be able to dress up and go as your favorite character, and then just play, like, Halloween all day long with a bunch of strangers and just get crazy, I suppose... [laughs] I don't know, really, what goes on in the rest of the city. But yeah, it's a fun place to be.



What can you tell us about the character you'll be playing in the new Hawaii Five-0?

My character Kono Kalakaua, she's a native of the island. She's going to be graduating from the police academy, so she has a wealth of experiences that she's about to encounter with this new team of McGarrett, Danno, and Chin Ho Kelly that you see forming in the pilot... [pauses] Oh, I just blanked on my thought! I was doing so well... [laughs]

...What kind of personality does she have, and what are some of her character traits?

Kono is outgoing, and I think as audience members, we're going to find out who she is along with her finding out who she is. And she's very active--she used to be a surfer, and she's pretty physical, and she can hold her own with the gentlemen. But at the same time, she's really willing to put herself out there and to be in risky situations. And I think that there's an allure for her to be in the police force, because she does like what good stands for versus evil, and I think the islands are really important to her--a sense of community and family, and to be able to protect that. And especially since her cousin Chin Ho Kelly, played by Daniel Dae Kim...There's been a tainting of his reputation, which kind of spreads to the whole family. I think she also is making it a bit of a personal mission for herself to kind of right that and clear his name. So it's always going to be a bit of a challenge, but because she loves him and there's that history between to the two, it's important to her. And because she knows that it's not true. At least, thinks it's not true. [laughs]

Will the two of them clash over their differing perspectives of the world?

Well, it's interesting...I just started reading a little bit of the second episode, and they just start touching upon that. I think that's going to be something that's played out for a little while. And there's going to be, I think, a sense of cynicism from Chin Ho Kelly, and his sense of what he's experienced, and how that's affected his character. And he's trying to protect Kono...And whether it be more naive or just a sense of belief in right and wrong, good and bad, that's going to be something that she stands for--I think probably to her, truth and honesty and integrity are very important. And of course, the same [with] Chin Ho Kelly, but he's just had a different experience of that. So he'll probably be trying to teach her or to protect her, and she'll probably be trying to push her opinion onto him and saying, you know, "It can be different...Really consider what you are doing..." That kind of thing.

[As is par for the course at Comic-Con, Grace is abruptly whisked away to her next interview...]

Thanks for your time.

Thank you. Sorry it was so short!


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