One of the bulkiest, most fit men on TV, Scott Caan is described in his bio as being “muscular, swaggering and tough” and anyone that’s seen his work on TV’s ”Hawaii Five-O” will attest to that.
An actor who was literally born into the industry (he’s the son of legendary actor James Caan of ”The Godfather” and ”Eraser”), Caan’s been performing steadily for the past 15 years, appearing in a variety of movies including ”Into the Blue”, ”Ocean’s Eleven” and teen football drama ”Varsity Blues”.
Recently Caan, who barely goes a film without a sequence of topless shots, starred on TV’s ”Entourage” and now plays the iconic role of ‘Danno’ on the ”Hawaii Five-O” reboot. As restricting as he finds television, Caan seems happy enough to be doing the show – and why wouldn’t he? it films in flippin’ Hawaii!
Looking at remakes on TV – there are failed TV reboots – my thought is that this is the return of the cool guy. The manly man.
That’s cool. I like that. When I first started getting roles in movies, I noticed that that was out and I thought I should have been here 20 years ago but that’s cool if it’s happening now or coming back. It’s better for me.
What does a manly man do? What’s cool in 2012?
Everything’s changing. Men and women. Their roles are getting reversed and changing – for the better but, I guess, I don’t know. It’s weird. I don’t know. We’re talking about television, movies?
But you and Alex [O’Loughlin] are pulling it off.
Oh. Were you talking about television? Movies? Or just LA? Or You’re talking about Hawaii Five-O? I was going about the world in general. I thought you were talking about the world in general.
Did you have a screen idol and who was it?
Sean Penn. He’s my screen idol when I was a kid. When I saw Bad Boys, I was like… that dude.
Did you like his work in Fast Times at Ridgemont high?
Well, I was a surfer growing up and a stoner growing up so, I idolized him. I felt I was a hoodlum and a kind of delinquent and I liked to fight so those two [Penn] roles really did it for me. When I was a kid I loved The Outsiders, I loved Bad Boys, I loved Ridgemont High… so, the comedic genius of Sean Penn in that movie and then the bad ass in Bad Boys – I was like that was my guy.
Okay – so we were told by one of your colleagues yesterday that you’re a bit of a renaissance man. You excel in everything apparently.
I’m OCDing right now. I love to hear these good things. I think that, for some reason, if I try something once I really get obsessed with it. I don’t think I’m great at anything, I think I just try to be a little bit good at little things.
You’ve a new film, Mercy. How did you find time to write and star in it with your TV commitment?
Well, that’s why I didn’t want to do Hawaii Five O. I told the producers and the network… I was like look, ‘there are so many other things that I want to do and it scares me that I won’t have time to do them’, but life’s long and I’ll have time. I’m still writing and I’m still trying to get other things going. It’s difficult because I only have a three month window to do it in. I can’t direct a film – it takes at least nine months but that’s why I didn’t direct Mercy. I wanted to try writing a movie and getting it done without being a director. And that worked – so I can do that.
Your co-stars have all bought places out here and are making a home here… Have you thought about it?
No. No. LA’s my home. I live in LA, till the day I die.
How have you been managing this and Entourage – which you’ve also been playing a part on?
They don’t shoot at the same time, I got lucky. You know. Entourage shoots April, May and June and this shoots July-March. Entourage is a much easier schedule. I want to stay relevant. The idea is to… be able to do whatever I want to do and the more relevant you are the more you can do what you want to do.
TV restricting though?
No. Hopefully it doesn’t hurt anything inside of me. You know. If it does, then I made a mistake but if it allows me to do what I want to do, I mean, you know, I can look at Mark Harmon or I can look at George Clooney. I mean that dude did it.
Does TV excite you?
I don’t know, if you’re doing a movie and doing four months where you’re doing a movie, it’s a collaboration where you want to give it everything you’ve got, but when you’re doing a TV show for nine months you want to pace yourself a bit. You know. If I’m doing a movie, I want the shot to be great, I want the guy jumping off the building, but when you’re doing a TV Show you kind of want to rest a little. You’re not as enthusiastic day to day.
And I suppose you don’t get much say creatively on the show?
Look, they know what they’re doing, they’re a very very very successful group of people here. And also the network. CBS. They know what they’re doing. Sometimes, I feel, my opinion is sort of irrelevant for this medium. Erm, I can tell you what I think people would like to see but generally it’s going to be wrong. The audience that we have, I don’t know what that audience wants to see so much.
Can you explain the success of Hawaii Five-O?
No. I can’t. That’s why I will never be an executive at CBS. I think the show has a great location and good actors and good writing and these are all politically correct answers? Right?
I think that they do, and I’m not answering this poetically, but I think they do a good job of holding the procedural. Most of these procedural shows have to stay procedural and I think that this show does a good job of bending a little bit and you do the show, you do get to go home with us a little bit and see our family lives and I feel that there is comedy and it’s not just a drama but there is drama and it’s not just funny. There’s a bit of everything. There is action. And when we can throw someone out of the airplane we do. We do things that are really hard to do on an eight day schedule and we crank that stuff out and do a really good job.
What do you do on your off-time? I know you’re a physical guy?
I love to surf, I love to play volleyball, I love to play basketball, football, ju-jitsu, I like to Rodeo.
Are there more stunts in season two? Get your hands dirty?
I don’t know. And I’m sorry I’m not good at answering those questions. It all happens so fast, and, you know. I don’t know. I read a script and then, it’s like, are we done with that one. It’s fast.
But you do some horse riding in an episode – that’s different.
Well. No. I just walked up on a horse. I’m meant to be uncomfortable on a horse and that’s the gag.
Where did you learn rodeo?
My mum’s side of the family were all….well a lot of them were, my uncles were ranch handlers and grew up on a ranch. They were rodeo cowboys. My old man was on the pro rodeo circuit in the 70s. 76-81. My dad was a rodeo rider. I was a rodeo rider. For a little bit. But I wasn’t as good as that. He really dedicated himself to that. I almost lost my thumb on a rodeo. Teen roping is an event. Do you know what that is? When you have two cowboys and a steer in the middle and the steer runs out and the header, it does what it’s called dallies, where he takes the slack of the rope and wraps it around his horn and turns the steer off so the guy from behind can come and rope the steers hind legs. That’s a heeler. And then you stretch out the steer you stop the steer and it’s an event. And it comes from the old days when you go out and catch cows and bring them home and own them. They’d have to rope them. And they did branding. You’d have to get the steer down on its side. And hold it down and brand the steer so you’d say it’s yours. So that’s where the event comes from. But a lot of people lose their fingers because you rope the steer, and when you go to wrap the rope around your horn if your finger gets caught, in that against the horn with the rope, then my thumb got caught in my dally and I wear a roping glove and I heard it go pop and I looked and I saw the white glove turn red and my hand was numb and I looked and thought “my thumb’s gone – I know it” and slowly peeled the glove off and it was all intact BUT an inch this way and it would have just popped off. I would have dislocated my thumb or something.
Being on Hawaii Five-O must be easy then after that?
A piece of piss.
Hawaii Five-O : Season 1 is on DVD December 1