more than 50 films and TV series to his credit, Hawai’i-based actor Cary-Hiroyuki
Tagawa now stars as Capt. Terry Harada in the NBC cop-fest, Hawai’i.
How long have you lived in Hawai’i?
A: I bought a home
just after Hurricane ‘Iniki hit Kaua’i in 1991. I live there with my wife, Sally,
my son Calen, 16, and daughter, Brynne, 13.
more than 50 films and TV series to his credit, Hawai‘i-based actor Cary-Hiroyuki
Tagawa now stars as Capt. Terry Harada in the NBC cop-fest, Hawai‘i. Photo:
Guy A. Sibilla
Q: What are your Hawai’i
A: My father was born on Moloka’i. He met my mother in the
service when he was stationed in Japan. I was born in Tokyo, but my brother Greg
was born here [in Honolulu]. I was named after Cary Grant and my brother was named
after Gregory Peck. My mother was a real Hollywood movie fan.
Is there something you can point to in your upbringing that helped make you successful
as an actor?
A: My mother was an actress in Japan and one of the
most important things I got from her was her rebelliousness. The key to acting
is you have to be slightly rebellious; you have to move against the norm, especially
being from an Asian culture where you are raised not to make a spectacle of yourself.
Is there a location experience for a movie that leaps to mind as exceptional?
China. Being on location with Bernardo Bertolucci at the Forbidden Palace
in Beijing shooting The Last Emperor was a powerful experience for me. There was
so much energy there. I really connected with that culture.
Are you having fun with your role in the television show Hawai’i?
It has been so great to work here in Hawai’i and play the part of a local
police captain. The writers have been pretty liberal in letting me speak pidgin
to bring a more local sound to the dialogue. I even put a UH football helmet on
my desk for one of the office scenes.
Q: What do you think
is the difference that allows you to excel in your craft as an actor?
Japanese come from a warrior culture and warriors come from a spiritual place.
For instance, it wasn’t enough for the samurai simply to fight. They also had
to write haiku poetry. So when I am in a scene I rely on my martial arts training
to keep the energy of the scene in balance. I always find myself moving in counter-balance
to the other actors.