Alex O’Loughlin Talks CRIMINAL MINDS and Reveals Why MOONLIGHT Failed


While it may not be the MOONLIGHT revival that fans were hoping for (or to be more specific, that one really dedicated fan who is single-handedly keeping the “Save MOONLIGHT” campaign alive by inundating my email box with bi-weekly emails), star Alex O’Loughlin is making a return to the small screen this evening on a very special, not to mention intensily creepy episode of CRIMINAL MINDS. And here to talk about tonight’s role with your very own TV Addict, in between shooting his new CBS pilot (THREE RIVERS) and his upcoming romantic comedy opposite Jennifer Lopez is the immortal one himself, Alex O’Loughlin.

Before we get into your guest appearance on tonight’s CRIMINAL MINDS, I of course have to first ask about MOONLIGHT. Were you surprised it was cancelled?
Alex O’Loughlin: Yes and no. It was a tough show for everybody in a sense that it was a high maintenance girlfriend. You love her, she’s great in bed but it takes so much of your time to appease her [laughs] that you’re left going, “Okay, is this worth the end result.” From the very beginning, there were huge amounts of changes: Five different showrunners, from the early days when it was Twilight we fired everyone, recast the show, reshot the pilot, called it MOONLIGHT, changed the showrunner. [Producer] Joel Silver and the network were butting heads constantly about the creative direction of the show. It was a lot of stuff to deal with behind the camera, maybe too much in fact. But to answer your question, I was surprised we were canceled because it was doing so well.

On tonight’s CRIMINAL MINDS, you play Vincent, a serial killer who couldn’t be more different than MOONLIGHT’s Mick St. John. How did this guest appearance come about, and did you purposely look for a role that was Mick’s polar opposite?
In terms of CRIMINAL MINDS specifically, the writer, Simon [Mirren] is a great friend of mine, and he said, “listen, I’m writing a role with you in mind. Would you read it,” and I did and the rest is history. I love playing different roles, the more variety the better. Once I’ve played a role I don’t want to play it again.

Was there any apprehension about playing a serial killer?
No apprehension because as far as I’m concerned Vincent is a redeemable character. When I first read the part, I could see how sympathetic he was. In terms of how I prepare, obviously not by going out and slaughtering anything. My main preparation with this character was the obsessive compulsive stuff because that’s the thing that rules his life and keeps him doing what he does time and time again. His OCD is at the core of his physical being.

A lot of your scenes are with a young actor [Jake Cherry] who plays Stanley. Before accepting the role did the old Hollywood adage about not working with kids or animals ever cross your mind?
(Laughs) That’s the old rule man, no kids or animals! But I love working with kids, I’ve never not enjoyed it. But then again maybe I’ve never had a bad kid. The thing about working with children is that there are no walls there, no barriers between you and their vanity. When you’re working with adults, we all have vanity, narcissism, whatever we have that has to do with our ego can potentially get in the way of our work. With kids there is a purity and an innocence regardless of what character they’re playing within them. And so to tap into that is just extraordinary to work with because it’s so true.

What can you tell fans about the THREE RIVERS [the pilot that Alex O’Loughlin recently shot for CBS]
Set in Pittsburgh, it’s a medical drama told from the perspective of the organ donor, the organ recipient and the surgical team. So every episode, someone may live and someone may die. Meaning the stakes are very high.

Was it a difficult decision to sign on to what potentially could be seven years of playing the same character versus the idea of playing different characters between films and occasional TV guest appearances?
Very good question and yes it his hard, it is daunting I got to say and i don’t think any actor would disagree with me. Once you’ve done a couple of films, I think the whole idea of being a movie star — well I don’t know about the ‘star’ thing — but the idea of working regularly in feature films that’s my dream. To go from one character to the next and get to tell a million different stories, that would be wonderful, I’d love to be able to do that.

But the thing about television is that the job security, you cannot beat. I’m a family man and I have to think that way. But I definitely do get scared I’ll get stuck in one character and never find my way out. That other people aren’t going to trust me that I can’t find my way out to find one of their characters. So there is that.

That being said, after experiencing what I’ve experienced on both THE SHIELD and MOONLIGHT there is also joys and benefits to playing a character for a long time because you discover things and get to live out things you discovered about the character. There have been so many times in my life when I’ll finish a play or a film and a week later I’ll wake up and say, “Ah F*ck, that’s what I should have done with that scene, that’s the missing element.” And so in TV you get to live that out and discover so much more it’s great. but it’s definitely a catch 22 situation.

Have you started shooting The Back-Up Plan?
I start shooting in about a minute!

Aside from the opportunity to work with Jennifer Lopez, what attracted you to the project?
Nothing, just J.LO… No, just joking. The film is great, it’s funny, well written and I’ve never really done a lead role in a romantic comedy over here yet in America. Also, the director’s a pal, the great Alan Poul, who has a really smart clear vision for the film. And Jennifer being attached didn’t hurt.

CRIMINAL MINDS airs Wednesday nights on CBS at 9PM (8PM on CTV in Canada)

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  • Liz

    Where’s your picture with Alex? I’m so disappointed right now. It’s still a great Q & A, but I’m really missing that photo.

  • Mel

    That is a disappointment, Daniel. No photo. Excellent interview otherwise. I’m looking forward to seeing Alex in all his new projects.

  • I can’t wait to see Alex tonight on Criminal Minds! This extremely talented actor has been missing from our televisions for far too long! If CBS execs have a collective brain in their head, they will pick up Three Rivers and lock in Alex before someone else does! His star is on the rise and there is no stopping him now! He is a phenomenal actor and his fans will be behind him in all his endeavors be that tv or movies! Congrats on all your success Alex! You deserve it!

  • Mena

    Excellent interview Daniel and good questions. Yeah. It’s got to be very scary signing to seven years with one character. Of course, show biz is very scary all on it’s own! I’ve watched Alex in several roles now. He has several good movies out there (primarily from Australia) and the guy is a wonderful actor! People who want to hold him to only doing Mick St. John are missing out!

  • Cindy R

    Great interview. Now can we let the man get on with his career and quit the Moonlight stuff? It’s comparable to a newly wed man being constantly asked how much he loved his dead wife.
    He’s moving on and we are going to be dumbstruck with his unlimited talent. It’s like watching an eagle soar, sort of takes your breath away.
    Thank you Alex, you have restored my faith in what Hollywood should be about. I’ll be watching and squeeing in the background like some crazed fangirl. 🙂

  • Karen

    This is a really great interview. Thoughtful, intelligent questions and thoughtful, intelligent, and funny answers. Among the recent flurry of Alex interviews this is the best. Thanks!

  • Sharon

    thank you for the very thoughtful and interesting interview with Mr. Oh!!! So looking forward to seeing him tonight in Criminal Minds!

  • Awesome interview! I’m glad to see Alex is back in the news again. I’m a die hard Moonlight and Alex fan. I can’t wait to see him in Criminal Minds tonight. When I saw the promo for Criminal Minds the other night my jaw dropped! To go from the perpetually cool Mick St. John on Moonlight to Vincent the geeky, creepy OCD weirdo with the click click tic who’s a serial killer… Talk about acting range! I’ve been watching Criminal Minds since the beginning and this is the first time I’ve ever seen them promote the one playing the serial killer. This is going to be a thrill ride for sure!

  • Mandy

    Thank you for a terrific interview. His warmth and humour always come out and his answers are always interesting. Thank you for asking good questions too.

  • MichaelC2B

    Thanks for the great interview! I am so excited about tonight’s Criminal Minds and about everything else that Alex is doing. If Alex is in it I know I will love it.

  • justmick

    Great interview! I just wish it would have been audio so we could hear that magnificent voice.

  • Claudia

    Great interview! Thanks a lot for some great questions that let us “hear” Alex’s wonderful answers. We’ve been Alex-deprived for SO long, it’s really great to see some attention on him again and to be waiting for his new performances. We know everything he’ll do will be great!

  • MyVamp

    Nice interview. I just watched tonight’s episode of Criminal Minds, and I was positively captivated the entire time. Alex’s performance was, in a word, stunning. There was no sign of Mick anywhere. Alex was Vincent, completely.

  • Far Mountain

    Thank you for posting this interview and giving us the opportunity to make comments..

    I don’t watch CBS, but I just finished watching tonight’s Criminal Minds episode, Big Wheel.

    Wow! I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen. Alex O’Loughlin’s performance was riveting; frightening and sympathetic at the same time. That can’t be easy to do. There was no trace of his Moonlight or The Shield characters. He was just Vincent.

    I continue to be amazed at the depth and range that Alex has, and I will make it a point to tune in to see Three Rivers.

  • Alex O’Loughlin’s performance on CM was awesome last nite! He completely disappeared into the role. He made your actually CARE for a serial killer and made you feel SAD when he died….many tears were shed. It was an excellent example of the quality of actor that Alex is. He is versatile and compelling in a ‘strapped to your seat’ kind of way….you couldn’t wait to see what his character was going to do next. Hollywood needs to wake up & see just what a gem Alex O’Loughlin is. His portrayal proves he is MORE than a pretty face and should help his pilot for CBS, Three Rivers, get a fall pick-up. Alex did his fans proud! We’re ready to follow him ANYWHERE!

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  • Thanks so much for the great interview of Alex. I can’t wait to see him in all his new works

  • Sandy

    I hadn’t seen the promos for CM this week and was very surprised when I first saw the “unsub.” I’m a Moonlight fan and just bought the DVD and I told my husband who I thought was playing the role. What a great show. It was, by far, my favorite of the season probably because he made the character so sympathetic. I’d love scifi to pick up Moonlight but I’m sure he’d be good in any well written show. I just seemed like they should have given it another year with all the vampire stuff out there in book and video form. Anyway, the interview was great. Thanks.

  • MariaMoonlight

    Great interview…Alex was awesome on Criminal Minds
    and btw
    Alex has tons of “really dedicated fans” ..I’m one of them but some of us don’t beat a dead horse 🙂
    When Alex said it was over was over.

  • midwestfan

    Alex – sooooo good to have you back! I believe you are amazing at
    any role you do ~ great interview ~ good luck on all new projects!! We
    want to have more of you!!!

  • Marisa

    Thanks for a very interesting interview, very good questions and the always intelligent, ingenious answers of Alex and with an entertaining touch.
    I wanted to read again on Alex after so much time out of the mass media and even more being in person who tells us his impressions on the professional moment through that he is living at present, I was already the moment of that the means were paying the attention that Alex deserves.
    I think that Alex’s way is opened definitely towards the success, after seeing his Vincent’s fabulous interpretation in CM to nobody, he will have left doubts that he is an impressive actor capable of realizing any role, really Alex disappears inside the most pleasant and vulnerable serial killer that I have seen, really it is sad to see dying his personage.
    I hope that CBS should compensate now Alex and all his fans for the stupid Moonlight cancellation and should allow us to see him again and enjoy his interpretation in a big show as it will be Three Rivers.
    A lot of luck Alex in your movie with Jennifer Lopez, another sure success, we will be there to celebrate it with you.

  • ladyhawke_2006

    I have now watched Alex’s CM episode 10 times…Crying when Vincent died each and every time. I have been an avid Alex O’Loughlin fan ever since Moonlight. I have watched EVERYTHING he has been in…including Feed where he played Michael Carter who was also a serial killer. In both rolls Alex, for very different reasons, makes you feel sympathy for the killer. Just another testament to his endless talent!!!

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  • Arlene Buglisi

    Great interview.
    Having withdrawal symtoms since Moonlight was cancelled. Counting the days until Alex is back on the screen.
    Good luck with the new movie and hope Three Rivers gets picked up!!!!!!

  • granniejm

    I really enjoyed the interview with Alex. Loved him on Moonlight (I still watch the DVDs) and was amazed at his acting on Criminal Minds. I’ve seen some of his early movies and will continue to follow his career. I wish him continued success. I’m a 68 year old grandmother that wants to see more pictures of him! Love his sexy voice too!!!