Saturday, March 8, 2008

Alex O'Loughlin article and interview in CBS Watch! Magazine's April Issue

CBS Watch! Magazine has a new article and interview with Alex O'Loughlin in the April 2008 issue. I'm happy to see them featuring Moonlight and Alex. We need more promotion like this to get everyone excited about the show returning in April :) Funny tho how even a CBS article gets some of the little details wrong.

Interview with the new Vampire
by Lynn Morgan

Put away your garlic and wooden stakes. Thanks to a new twist on the vampire legend, Moonlight's Alex O'Loughlin is emerging from the shadows as a TV heartthrob

"I've always been interested in storytelling," Alex O'Loughlin says. "Even as a kid, I've always been the guy spinning a yarn around the campfire."

The campfire is now TV, and the 32 year old Australian born star of Moonlight is mesmerizing an audience of millions with his portrayal of Mick St John, a private detective with a unique affinity for the dark side : He is a 90 year old vampire. And playing the broodingly sexy St John has anointed O'Loughlin TV's newest dark heartthrob.

"I've always loved the genre," says O'Loughlin. "I'm a big fan of Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles. The travels of Lestat are my favorites. I've always wanted to play a vampire. It's like playing a character with several different personalities."

As a fan of scary movies and dark literature, O'Loughlin feels right at home in this haunted and shadowy role. "It's an opportunity to play with bigger ideas," he says. "Infinity, immortality, the dichotomy within the character."

Taking a Stake to Convention

O'Loughlin is surprised and mildly taken aback by the fervor with which fans have embraced the show, a modern Gothic tale that combines elements of action, film noir and romance, and their passionate dedication to all things vampiric. Moonlight updates the legends of the undead, toying with the established and cherished mythology. Moonlight offers a 21st century version of the ancient dark archetype : no capes, no coffins, no wild-eyed, obsessive Van Helsings brandishing crucifixes. Most shocking of all to many dedicated vamp fans is Mick's ability to survive sunlight.

Some of their chat room comments have filtered down to O'Loughlin, and he greets their theories with good humor. "Daylight weakens Mick," he explains patiently. "He can go out into the sunlight, briefly, if he keeps to the shadows. The sun weakens him, and lengthy exposure to the light will kill him. We explored those things in the fourth episode when Beth [Sophia Myles] finds out the truth about Mick."

Reinterpreting this evocative symbol keeps vampires relevant and eternally fascinating. Novelists Laurell K. Hamilton, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro and, most recently Elizabeth Kostova have all put their unique spins on the conventions established by Bram Stoker and set in stone by Bela Lugosi. Moonlight creators Ron Koslow and Trevor Munson and executive producer Joel Silver are just taking their turn reimagining a world of the undead, and O'Loughlin is excited to be a part of it.

Shadow of Doubt

Moonlight is a breakthrough role for O'Loughlin, who arrived in Hollywood just three years ago from Australia. He worked in television playing guest roles - including an acclaimed performance on The Shield - and was narrowly beaten out for another iconic role by Daniel Craig, who was cast instead of O'Loughlin as the new James Bond.

Moonlight has brought him a new level of visibility for which he was not entirely prepared, but which he confronts squarely with a level head and a sense of humor.

"Fame is kind of frightening. I don't yearn for it," O'Loughlin says. "All of a sudden, you are driving home one night, and there's your head, 30 feet tall, on a billboard on Sunset Boulevard. I was an actor in theater in Sydney, and I've done little indie films that paid nothing. I am not an actor for that kind of recognition. I like playing parts that I can disappearin. I enjoy hiding behind my characters."

O'Loughlin is refreshingly irreverent about his new status as a heartthrob as well. Despite those ubiquitous billboards, he is convinced he is safely hidden behind Mick St John. "It doesn't look like me!" he laughs. "It doesn't even look like Mick! Between the wind machine blowing my hair around and the retouching, it looks nothing like me."

Fans of Moonlight obviously disagree. O'Loughlin's gravel-over-velvet voice and dark, rock-star charisma have them swooning. To them, he is the hottest bloodsucker since Brad Pitt hung up the fake fangs back in 1994.

Blood, Sweat and Tears

"I don't see myself that way at all!" the self-effacing actor scoffs, explaining that he's much more interested in exploring the depths of his character than in polishing the cosmetic surface. Moonlight's Mick St John is a tangle of contradictions, ambivalent about his vampiric state and ill at ease with his possible immortality, in high contrast with his amoral sidekick, Jozef Konstan (Jason Dohring), a billionaire vampire who is a blithe bloodsucker, comically unconflicted about his predator status - the insouciant Lestat to Mick's tormented Louis.

"Mick is the loneliest man in the world," O'Loughlin says. "Even though he's surrounded by people, he's isolated and cut off from his own humanity. Mentally, he's one of the most damaged characters I have ever played. He's not in a lot of physical jeopardy, but emotionally, he's a wreck. I try to reach inside of him and find the humanity at his heart."

O'Loughlin leaves the grim and angsty stuff on screen, though. Personally, he's cheeky and charming with a raucous laugh and a sexy, Down Under accent. He would rather ride motorcycles than brood, and his hobbies are more rugged than moody : running, rock climbing, and sailing "badly." He does as many of his own stunts on the show "as the insurance company will let me," he says. And to stay in shape for the grueling work, he spends his downtime on set in his trailer doing a punishing Navy SEAL workout to keep up with the physical demands of the role. After all, nobody would be scared of a flabby vampire.

Sound Bites

Recently, movie audiences got to see a different side of the actor as he played the brother of Jonathan Rhys Meyers' character in the movie August Rush, a holiday fable about the healing power of music. O'Loughlin got to showcase a few of his other talents in the film - singing and playing the guitar (in real life, O'Loughlin plays both acoustic and electric guitar).

When asked about his favorite musician, it takes the actor a moment or two to sort through the many possibilities before settling on one : "Hendrix. Definitely Jimi Hendrix. I don't play anything like him, but he's my favorite. He was the best."

Moonlight has a subtle musical subtext that will move to the forefront in upcoming episodes, when audiences will get to hear O'Loughlin play on the show as part of Mick's character development.

The actor remains intrigued by the character's possibilities and the potential for telling more stories about Mick St John. It's his purpose in being a performer. "I want to do work that's meaningful to me and touches people," he insists. "I don't care about being a heartthrob or any of that crap. I care about having somebody come up to me on the street and say, 'That meant a lot to me.'"

He has had that moment in his own life. "When I met Robert De Niro in New York, I got to sit and talk with him for a few minutes," O'Loughlin recalls. "It was amazing. He taught me a lot as a young man, through his work, and the characters he played. He helped me get through adolescence and along the road growing up."

One of the things he has come to understand along that road is the signifigance of stories, and of telling them. "I've always appreciated art and music, different forms of expression," O'Loughlin says. "As an adult, I appreciate the opportunity to tell important stories."

Photos by Cliff Lipson

Photo captions ~

Alex O'Loughlin and Sophia Myles bring new heat to the vampire tradition in Moonlight.

Mick St John (O'Loughlin) taking a bite out of crime.

A Star is Born
Birth name : Alex O'Lachlan
Birth date : Aug. 24, 1975
Birthplace : Sydney, Australia
Breakout role : Detective Kevin Hiatt on The Shield


Anonymous said...

Moonlightfans... try New Amsterdam on Fox (if you haven't already). It has real promise and I am guessing if you like Moonlight you may go for this show too. I really liked it - a lot of similar concepts and some real intelligence in the story line. Give it a try. Plus the lead is no Alex (who could be!!) but he has a certain something about him I have to say.

Sorry for going off topic Kandye - but I wanted to give our little community a headzzup on another show that I think is good in the "fantasy genre".

View from the Mountain said...


I enjoyed your interview with Alex O'Loughlin. After becoming a big fan of the show, I was astonished to hear that Aussie accent when I saw him interviewed about the People's Choice Awards.

I have been disappointed that the show did not immediately reappear after the Writer's Strike ended, and am glad they have announced the date the new season will start.

I am a little concerned that after the success of the show in the People's Choice Awards, that the "suits" will decend and it will lose its unique voice.

This seems to happen lately to all successful shows, when the P.C. police and the corporate wonks come around, controlling the scripts until they lose their freshness and entertainment value.

I hope the original writers in the show will have enough confidence to stand up for their vision and protect their stories from the powerful voices in Hollywood who want to interfere in places where they are not qualified to venture.

Good luck to Moonlight and company! Here's to a successful long run!

View from the Mountain said...

Hi Kandyegirl!

I just found your blog today and have added you to my links list on my BlogSpot Page:

I would like to invite you to visit!

Although my interests are varied, I am a big fan of Moonlight and have also added you to my list of favorites in Internet Explorer.

I am looking forward to reading your updates on the show.

I have a suggestion for a Moonlight wallpaper: You posted a picture of Alex and Sophia riding in the car, wearing sunglasses. I would love to have that as a screen saver at work!

Anonymous said...

I watched New Amsterdam --- Anonymous 1 you're right Nikolaj is NOT Alex but he's "different".

Kandye, so Alex is aging with every new magazine article :D -- refer to my comments on the Saxon article!

You're the best! The spoliers made me flip....I have a countdown clock - cant wait to see the new episodes and Alex.


Anonymous said...

"I want to do work that's meaningful to me and touches people.~ I care about having somebody come up to me on the street and say "That meant a lot to me""
Acting is such a beautiful form of the art.It infulences you and changes you, that is why we always need good storytellers from ancient time.
Thank you for sharing the article. After reading it I became a true fan of Alex.

Anonymous said...

Moonlight is in peril because CBS is not giving people who did not see the original episodes a chance to catch up. They are not airing the episodes, nor are they available to watch on demand in cable. Even on the website you cannot catch up. For Moonlight to continue it has to attract more fans. Word of mouth is great, but people will want to catch up. The only reason I became an avid fan of "The Wire" was because I got to watch the seasons I missed on demand at cable and it hooked me. Communicate to CBS to be proactive in giving fans a real opportunity to catch up and become a fan.

View from the Mountain said...

Hi Anonymous

Yes, I think that people ought to at least be able to access the first season episodes from the website.

They did show the entire first season a second time during the writer's strike, and some episodes I think they showed a third time.

I think they should also invest in some promotional spots on some of the women's cable networks as well as on CBS, and they should also consider some well placed billboards.

I think that anyone who is a fan should tell all of their friends.

This is the most romantic show on television, and it would be a shame to lose it.

Anonymous said...

I love Moonlight it is one of my favorite tv shows I do not want them to cancell it that would really stink

Anonymous said...

i love moonlight don't let it be cancelled