Interview: MOONLIGHT Star Alex O’Loughlin

Alex O’Loughlin
By: Amrie Cunningham [My Take on TV]

I have to admit it guys – Moonlight wasn’t on my radar until I heard about Jason Dohring (Logan Echolls…sigh) joining the cast. But I have to say that with each new episode I’m falling deeper and deeper into TV-boyfriend love with the main star, Alex O’Loughlin and his Mick St. John character. As luck would have it, he took some time out of his ridiculously busy shooting schedule to spend time chatting with some fans of the show (the interview jumps around a lot because questions came from quite a few people). Enjoy!

Can you give us any scoop if Coraline is back or what the whole thing is with that, and how that affects Mick?
Yeah, I probably should mark my words, be careful how much I say. What I can tell you is Coraline has an uncanny knack of going too far for too long.

Okay, anything else?
Might you be seeing Coraline, the answer to that is yes.

What about the character of Mick really spoke to you and made you want to play this character?
I really liked his humor, was the first thing that came off the page. First of all, you read, as an actor, you read scripts every day and you read people’s interpretation of the characters everyday and some are more filled out than others and some are more one dimensional, and also, some characters speak to you more than others, and this guy, I just really got him. I understood his motivation and I understood his passion and I understood why he is conflicted and I understood why what he thought was funny was funny. Yeah, I just got him right away. I just it just stems down to empathy. I had empathy and understanding for him, and therefore I felt that I could justifiably play him.

David Greenwalt came to the show briefly, then left. What do you feel some of his contributions were to the show and to your character in particular?
It’s a little difficult to answer that question because the crossover before David and letting David go all happened pretty suddenly. He wasn’t on board with us for that long; he was on board for long enough to make a difference. Those exact differences, it’s not that he made any fundamental changes to my character, nobody does that but me, ha, but he helped us, ya know, in the time that we were in the transition phase of the original pilot presentation to the recasting into Moonlight; he helped us find what the new show was going to be. It’s not that different than the original concept. He was there when we all came together and said okay, what are the boundaries…what are the rules, and it was a relief that he was on the same page that we were. In the sense that this show isn’t about difficult books and goblins and cure-alls and monsters, that it’s about modern day vampires coming from a long lineage from first generation blood from the last 1500 years.

You’re from Australia. How difficult is it to do the American accent and keep it perfect in every episode?
I don’t find it difficult, I’m actually surprised by how much we have to ADR (Automated Dialog Replacement). Sometimes I’ll slur my words, or the mike won’t pick up the sound or whatever, but it’s not usually because I have to fix the accent. I’ve studied for a long time, as well, like I’ve been studying acting for quite a while now. I’ve studied accents, specifically, since I was a little child. When I was a little boy I was fascinated with people who made different sounds. I always used to guffaw at Scottish accents, when I’d hear anyone from Edinboro or Glasgow, I’d roar with laughter because I thought it was the funniest thing I’d ever heard. To me, it’s always been like a music, which is the way I’ve approached it. Bearing that in mind, in combo with the fact that I’ve grown up with American television – you have to realize in Australia, we were bred on your TV, all the hit shows over here, went over there. My stepfather is Canadian. I’ve always been surrounded by the sound, so yeah, I don’t find it difficult, I quite enjoy it actually. But I stay in it when I’m working. [It’s interesting to note that as the conversation continued, he slowly ended up in his Australian accent and it was back on completely by the time we said our goodbyes].

What’s your favorite thing about playing Mick or Mick in general?
What’s my favorite thing about Mick? He’s an awesome character to play, I gotta tell you. I’m standing here as I speak to you, covered in blood and guts. I got up at 4:30 this morning and I’ve had my hands inside another man’s stomach, tying off his thoracic aorta, off in the middle of nowhere, there’s situations that this guy gets himself into. I’m always thinking, can’t you just go on Holiday? Go in a hut somewhere on a beach. My favorite thing about him is his ability to overcome the stirring drama and duress and not loose site of the lighter side of life, which essentially stems to the humanity that he clings to, which is fundamentally extended in his heart. So I think without sounding sanctimonious or sentimental, my favorite thing about this character is his heart.

Without telling too much, obviously, because you can’t give us spoilers, you have Coraline on there, who is of course your sire, you have Jason Dohring’s vampire (Josef), who is an ancient vampire, but primarily, a lot of the vampires we’ve seen pop up are basically newborns. Are we going to be getting in the future more of the old vampire mythology?
Oh you sure are. You sure are. We’re going to be, before the end of this round of 12 shows, you’re going to see some extremely old vampires. You’re going to meet some of the lineage of the blood line that Coraline and Mick are from. You’re going to learn as well about where we come from and where Coraline and therefore Mick comes from. We start exploring blood lines and you are going to learn about where our vampires come from. The mythology, we have the procedural element in this show, we always will have the procedural element in this show, and that’s established, and now the mythology and fan stuff, the vampire fans are going to go nuts. Like I’m a vampire fan and there is some really juicy stuff coming up in the next couple of months.

Do you have any upcoming movie projects?
I have August Rush coming out, which [came out on November 21] and that’s in the can obviously, since it’s coming out ha. I have Whiteout which is a Joel Silver film with Kate Beckinsale and it’s due to release sometime next summer, I think. At the moment, I’m reading scripts. It’s a tentative time. With the current climate in Hollywood, I’m unsure about which direction I’ll be going after Christmas. It’s all up in the air, which is very sort of disheartening if you let it in but we’re all just sort of keeping our fingers crossed, though I am reading some film scripts and there’s some good stuff out there, but I’m not attached to anything yet.

This is Kim interjecting (CBS’ publicist). This man works so hard. When he says he gets up at 4:30 in the morning, he isn’t kidding [Alex laughs in the background] and he works until midnight.
I’m not kidding, I’m not kidding!

What actors or actresses do you draw your inspiration from, or who are your favorites?
There are so many wonderful actors. Sean Penn got up at the Academy Awards, and when he won his award he said “everyone knows there is no best in acting” and, there’s no best, there are lots of performances that have inspired me over the years. Sean Penn is certainly one of them. Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Daniel Day Lewis is a phenomenon. He’s like an enigma. I’ve watched his performances and I can’t for the life of me work out how he transforms as he does. Marlon Brando. I love Marlon Brando, for all of his arrogance. I love actors that don’t make half decisions. Mel Gibson. I probably shouldn’t say that. I know he sort of fell of the wagon recently and said some stupid stuff. But growing up as a kid in Australia and seeing him do the movies he did, the Mad Maxes and stuff, and then move over to America, and cross the bridge to producing and directing as well, and come up with films like Braveheart. It’s hard for any young man who’s in the industry not to imagine and find that inspiration. But then there’s other actors that the world doesn’t know about that I’ve grown up with, that I’ve seen on the stage that have breathed life into performances that have changed my life. They’re some of my best friends, so that’s influential to me as those big stars that we all see in movies.

Speaking of the currently climate of things in Hollywood….are we going to have some kind of ending?
Oh yeah, we’re just killing everyone haha…maybe I shouldn’t give that away haha. I am joking, of course!

But did you get the chance to have some kind of a wrap up for the first pod?
To a certain extent. Let me be the one to tell you right now. I am not going to conduct myself and my character in this stage as though we’re not coming back. As far as I’m concerned, we are coming back, even though Nina Tassler hasn’t promised me anything, and Les Moonves, I can’t get him off the golf course to answer his phone, ha. We don’t know what’s happening but there are certain things.

Let’s put it this way – Heroes went and reshot an ending to give their 13 episodes an ending point so that [until the strike is over], people are at least satisfied with the first arc.
Oh people are going to be totally satisfied. People are going to be salivating, for Moonlight to come back, and that’s what we’re going to deliver because we don’t plan on not coming back. We’ve got a few really epic things that are coming that wrap the end of the [first] series. It’s an ending with no finale. An ending with a bunch of open ended stuff that you’re just going die to know what happens next. There are a couple of points that happen that change the course of the picture, but the world won’t let Moonlight fade away after this. The fans will be rabid. They will demand a re-release, they’ll demand a pickup.

You can have the fans ship nuts…
Or garlic!!

I really enjoy the relationship between your character and Josef. I was wondering if there were any plans to elaborate on that and if we get a little background on how they met.
Yeah, there are certainly plans to do that. That relationship, because it was pre-established….Josef and Mick’s relationship is established early on, and they’re great, that’s the way things are. Little pieces of information are released along the way more and more. You’re going to get more pieces of information, the whole how we met and that storyline, we don’t touch on until we come back, but there’s portions of it that come out in the storyline that have to do with Coraline and things that are going on with Beth. So you will learn more. I think you’ll be satisfied with everything, the way we’re wrapping it up.

I’m always interested to hear your take on why someone should pay attention to the show and watch it.
I think it’s a really satisfying show. We own the demographic. We own the demographic for a reason and that is that people of all ages are enjoying the show. Teenagers to people who are in the middle ages of life are sitting down to watch Moonlight because it’s got so many elements that we turn to. It’s a love story. It’s a story about unrequited love. It’s got incredible action and great fight sequences. It’s got a tormented conflicted protagonist who always goes towards good, well for now, and whose rules are ambiguous and his motives at times are ambiguous and it’s based in a genre, that’s really exciting, that’s mysterious, that’s really sexy. CBS hasn’t pulled punches on the show. They’ve allowed us to take it to levels of truth, they’ve allowed us to take it to levels of humanity where network TV can sometimes skimp on because they want it to look better or not be as real or being less sort of confrontational. I just think it’s an all around good show. I just think it’s a show that questions the norm, that questions the beliefs, you know society’s belief on certain topics. I hope that’s a sort of roundabout answer to your question.

Let’s talk Mick and Beth for a little bit here. You guys have sort of, and I hate to use this pun, but it’s the Moonlighting relationship, that’s a will they won’t they flirtation back and forth…how long do you think it’s going to be until something happens?
Something’s coming up in the 11th episode (airing in a few weeks), that affects the way Beth feels about Mick, and also affects the way Mick views Beth. A part of me feels like if anything does happen between those guys, the show’s over. But then again, I’m not the creator. The unrequited love aspect of the show, the Romeo and Juliet mirror that we constantly provide in Moonlight, I think is an essential part of the drama, of the tension. I mean, in Mick’s mind, there is no way he could ever cross that line, despite the feelings that he has for this woman. In his mind, that would be the ultimate sin. He looks at her in two different lives and he wants to sleep with her, that’s pretty weird.

Well he’s her guardian angel, so…
Well yeah, so he really shouldn’t be so he really shouldn’t be [frakking] with her, ha. You never know, I get surprised from script to script. I don’t think they should ever be given that luxury. I absolutely think it should be unrequited. I mean, re-read Romeo and Juliet and tell me you don’t cry at the end when they kill themselves, and I’m not saying what we’re dealing with here, by no means, am I drawing comparison to Shakespeare, but the nature of the idea…if you’re not putting like the big ideas on TV, who cares. If it’s not about the big love, the great love, the one great love, who gives a [frak]. Let’s go to the beach!

There’s a lot of action in the show, and I was wondering if you do your own stunts or if you have a stunt double.
[Alex deepens his voice to a sexy sounding level as if trying to pick up the interviewer and you can just picture him saying it with a wink]
I do my own stunts baby….

[Laughs all around.]
No, I do have a stunt double because there are certain things that they won’t let me do. They won’t like let me jump off a 20 story building. There are certain big jumps that it’s just impossible to get insurance to be able to do, but for the most part, I’d say I do, probably 75% of my stuff. I have my own harnesses and my own pads and back protectors. I really love it. I think it’s important, as well; you don’t have to shoot around the stunt double’s face, you can just shoot me doing my thing. It makes the show better, until I slip my sciatic nerve and have to work in a back brace….that’s the downside.

What are some of your favorite shows to watch in your downtime, which it sounds like you have none of anyway ha?
I haven’t had downtime for about 7 months. I really love Curb Your Enthusiasm. I really love The Contender, Family Guy. America’s Most Smartest Model haha…I love the Shield – big fan of The Shield. [do you guys remember Alex’s character Kevin Hiatt from The Shield?]

Are you pleased that the show moved into a more genre based show (versus the procedural element)?
Thrilled. I couldn’t give a [frak] about the procedurals. I mean sometimes I can. Sometimes it’s really interesting. Sometimes, it’s great fun. If I wanted to do CSI, I would have done CSI. It’s not what the show is. This show is a character driven drama, with a procedural element, that’s based in a genre. That’s what the show is. It’s a character driven drama. The procedural element is great when it’s used correctly, but when it’s overused, I think it’s really disappointing from a fan point of view when people get lazy and they know that’s going to work and it’s going to require less effort and they just sort of go with that. I think what the guys have done with Moonlight has been great. I think they’ve really put a big effort in to balance it all out with the great procedural stuff and some really interesting cases, and we’re getting into the characters more and more, and we’re caring about these characters more and more and we’re learning more and more about the mythology and getting deeper into the genre and the blood and guts of it, pardon the pun. I’m really happy with the way it’s shaping up.

Kim jumps in again to remind us to vote for Moonlight in the People’s Choice Awards.
Alex adorably cheers “Yay!”

I am really glad I gave this show a chance, and if you haven’t yet, you should. It’s a nice way to pass the time. Tune in Friday at 9 on CBS for a brand new episode!

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  • xbxtv

    MOONLIGHT rocks!
    I L.O.V.E. it and everybody who’s giving it a try will feel the same… 🙂

    Mick St. John is definitely my current TV-boyfriend *sigh*

  • Moonlight_kiss

    Moonlight is my favorite show this season. It’s my Friday nite drug if you can call it that. It makes me happy. It has everything you want in a show, drama, action, intrigue, humor, and of course the love between Mick and Beth (Alex and Sophia). They have an amazing chemistry together. Well done CBS for giving us a show that eveyone can enjoy!!! Alex is my obsession. 🙂

  • Fan from Ottawa

    This show is great. I enjoy the action, the love tension between Mick and Beth and that actor who plays Josef is sooo good. Just love those shifting eyes. I really hope that CBS commits to more episodes. Can’t get enough of that adorable Aussie…I mean really…his stepdad is from Canada :0)

  • Phyllis Miranda

    I love MOONLIGHT, I have already downloaded all the episodes from Amazon and can’t wait to hear that it has been picked up for a full season. Each show is better and better. I am a vampire fan, but I also like Alex O’Loughlin. Keep up the great work. Enjoy the show trememdously. So glad that Sci-Fi shows are getting serious attention.

  • venia

    I love moonlight it is the best show on tv Alex is so hot.!!!!

  • Christy

    Moonlight is my favorite show on TV right now. Great interview with Alex!! He seems like a fun, nice guy.

  • Danelle

    Thank you for such a great interview! Alex is such a great actor and I loved hearing what he had to say about the upcoming episodes. Moonlight by far my favorite show, I am totally addicted!!. It has everything: action, drama, humor, and of course the beautiful romance between MIck and Beth. It truely is Romeo and Juliet esque…. Thank you Alex!

  • malissa

    MOONLIGHT is my MUST see show,i NEVER miss an episode and i think its the best show ever and i hope that it doesn’t get canceled.

  • I totally enjoyed this interview with Alex…I have been searching for info on him and this is just perfect. I will have to feature this interview in my blog. I love Moonlight and it is totally one of my favorites. But…Alex is my Tv boyfriend!!

  • Hil

    I didn’t think I’d watch it after hearing bad stuff about the first episode, but I caught the second episode and have been watching it ever since. It is definitely Friday night crack, but there is always room for that for me.

  • Debbie

    This show has everything in it. Moonlight oh I can’t wait for Friday nights.
    I haven’t loved a show so much since Dynasty……… that is saying something especially since they are so different.

    Alex O what a terrific Actor, I think he could play any part and really be good at it.

    CBS keep this show going………….if not you are missing out.

  • Gemma

    If you like Moonlight, try Blood Ties which is on Lifetime. BT is a better show both in terms of writing, storyline and acting, so give it a go and how about an interview with THAT show’s vamp – Kyle Schmid? Or any of the three leads (Christina Cox and Dylan Neal being the other two) as they are all great!

  • Felicity

    I saw the trailer for this show and I was hooked. I guess that was the whole idea of the trailer, the first few minutes from the first episode (the interview) Who wouldn’t want to interview this vampire? Sometimes I find it really cheezy, but that’s the fun of it. It’s not dark and dreery like it could have been (thankfully) and there’s just the right mix of love. I hope it’s picked up for sure. I think Alex does a great job, Sophia is believable as the reporter. It’s just another great twist on the ageless genre…..

  • Sunny

    I love Alex O. too, so glad that this show brought him to the television screen. This show is so much fun, an hour seems way too short. I am hoping CBS brings it back after the strike.

  • sprite

    I have found a show to replace Buffy and Angel!….yeah!….MoonLight makes up for no vamp shows in a looooong time!….just LOVE IT

    Mick and Beth – forbidden love @ it’s best!….

  • I agree with the other poster – Moonlight is my Friday night drug! I am going to be lost with out it for the next few weeks! I really can’t wait for it to come back!!! I also really hope that they renew it! I even got my mom watching it! I have a new favorite actor! Way to go Alex – I’ll be watching for you in other things and if they don’t renew the show you can bet on it that CBS will be getting a large shipment of garlic from me!!! lol

  • Cathy

    This show SO deserves a 2nd season, and Alex O’Loughlin deserves the attention, he’s the most promising new actor in the spotlight now.

  • Angelbones

    Moonlight is undoubtedly the coolest — and hottest — show on Friday night. I applaud CBS for standing behind it (the *right* decision!) and cannot wait for things to settle down so that we can enjoy it without worrying. “Fleur de Lis” left us with a cliffhanger beyond imagination … as Sprite said above, “forbidden love @ its best”. What’s next, Alex and Sophia?? You are both phenomenal, everyone is — we love you!

  • HBmooney

    Moonlight is definately my favorite new show. I’m so glad I happened upon the 1st episode…I haven’t missed one yet. I find myself watching episodes over and over again. All of the actors are great on this show. Alex’s interview was great aswell, however it was a little disheartenling to hear him say he didn’t think the Mick & Beth characters should ever be afforded the luxury of getting together, they have such a great chemistry together and I’d much rather see Mick with Beth than with Coraline.

  • Starshipp

    I’m just a “sucker” for romance and Moonlight is soooooooo yummy!!!!!! Finally a show with heart! I haven’t been so happy since Ron Perlman and Linda Hamilton did the Beauty and the Beast series!!!! Got hooked when Mick carefully hugged Beth in the opener and am now seriously addicted. This show is GREAT! Alex is an incredibly fantastic actor, loading each scene with so many nuances, and Sophia brings her powerful survivor character to life! Am taping every episode for my permanent library and already have indulged in a Moonlight Marathon rerunning each ep front to back! How will I endure the 3 week hiatus??? ;-D

  • CC

    Moonlight turned out to be a lot lighter and more romantic than I every thought. It’s wonderful, and definitely turned out to be my major surprise love of this TV Season. It BETTER be back! haha And I can’t wait to get some backround on Josef, hopefully itll make the character a little juicer. Poor Jason had hardly anything to work with, so I commend him for what he’s done so far. I just hope they develop it more. And Beth and Mick, what can you say? They OWN their characters. The show would be nothing without Alex’s amazing acting skills. He really is telling the truth when he says he gets the character, you can just tell.

  • Kim

    Wow, what a great interview. Thanks Alex! 🙂 I love Moonlight and since watching the pilot, I’ve been obsessively hooked on it. I’ve recorded each episode so that I can watch them over and over any time I want. I’ve even ordered the subscription from Amazon Unbox just to help the show. I truly hope Moonlight stays around for a long time. If we get the 12 eps before scripts run out, that still won’t be enough to last… need many many more!! As someone mentioned already, I haven’t seen anything this good (or more chemistry between actors/characters) since Beauty and the Beast. I’m not a big tv watcher but some shows just get me… and Moonlight did. I vote every day for the show at people’s choice. 🙂

  • Tricia

    Love the show. I’ll be heartbroken if they don’t bring it back.

  • Julizzle

    Mac? Cheese? Still you, baby.

  • Diane St. John

    The show is fantastic and the role for Alex was tailor made for him. I think the (sexual) tension between Mick and Beth should remain throughout every espisode. But more close ups on Mick *sigh

  • Moonlight is refreshing, it’s Vampires are 20th Century with
    a whole new set of rules, and Alex O’loughlin brings sexy
    back to a whole new level. Sophia Miles makes his love
    intrest so real you can feel the chemistry between them,
    they sizzle….. not since Beauty and The Beast has there
    been such a romance of that magnitude !!!!!!!

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