If you glance at the credits of any many hit movies or television series, you’re bound to come across the same two names: Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. Over the past 10 years, Kurtzman and Orci have taken Hollywood by storm – and have become the go-to guys for every movie studio and television network looking for a hit.
They’re newest soon-to-be hit comes in the form of a remake of the television classic, Hawaii Five-O, for CBS. The show is headed by veteran CSI:NY producer, Peter Lenkov and stars Daniel Dae Kim, Alex O’Loughlin, Scott Caan, and Grace Park. Together, they all hope to put a new twist on the typical primetime police procedural.
In our interview, Kurtzman and Orci reflect upon how they manage to juggle all their numerous projects (about 20 in development), the differences between their new take on Hawaii Five-O, compared to the 1968 version, and whether or not it’s difficult to move from a sci-fi series like Fringe to a show that’s much more grounded in reality.
Check out the highlights below:
On how the team balances all of their numerous projects:
Roberto Orci: Luckily, there’s two of us. We never break the soul of more than one thing at a time. Once we have the story, then, after that, it’s down to us. Really, it’s all about figuring out what the story is. Nonetheless, we’ve got a lot of things going on.
Alex Kurtzman: I think the other key for us is to really work with the best people possible. When Peter Lenkov – our showrunner – came into the room and pitched his idea for Hawaii-Five-O, it was extremely clear that not only did he have the heart and soul of the show down – and had lived it since his childhood – but that he was going to run a very tight ship. That’s a huge part of what we look for when we get involved in anything because, at the end of the day, we can’t do everything.
Orci: …and we’re used to teaming up. Cause we’ve teamed up since forever. So, we like to team and we like sharing the spoils and the blame.
On how their Hawaii-Five-O differs from the original:
Kurtzman: Hopefully what you’ll find with this show is that the spirit of the original is very much alive and well. I think the spirit of the original was about family, for us, and how the team functions as a family – the island is the fifth character in the show.
It’s about how the team works together in a crisis to solve problems.
Orci: What’s different, though, is that it’s more like a movie for us every week – it’s more of an action show. When Len Wiseman directed the pilot, he gave it a look that I think is different than the standard police procedural where if feels a bit like a movie.
Instead of just doing the murder-of-the-week, it’s a little bit more of – Hawaii is sort of an international destination and the crime center reflects its position in the world as opposed to the neighborhood murder.
Kurtzman: I think what’s also really exciting for us is that we’ve never really done a procedural before and we’ve been fascinated by them. I guess the closest thing to a cop show that we’ve done is Fringe, but we had this whole sci-fi genre spin on Fringe. So, I think the idea of doing a more straight ahead, real-world procedural is really interesting because they’re obviously very successful and the rules [of doing a procedural] is something that we wanted to learn about.
Obviously, Peter coming off of CSI knows those rules really well. So, it felt like a really great combination.
On whether it’s hard to go from a show like Fringe, which is limit-less, to a show like Hawaii-Five O, which is based in reality?
Kurtzman: No, it’s not. I think that’s what’s fun for us in this is that we have four characters which gives you four different entry points at all time and you have to live and internalize and externalize those characters all the time. So, there’s a wealth of information that you want the character to draw from. So, I like that.
It’s also fun to see how they function together when they’re not always in the same room to solve a crime on a clock.
Orci: The real world is just as strange
Unfortunately, we’re all going to have to take their word for it until Hawaii Five-O airs this fall – especially me, because CBS has yet to send me the completed pilot (hint, hint).
While it may be hard to imagine tuning in to a new Hawaii Five-0, I have no doubts that with Kurtzman and Orci are behind it, they’ll not only be able to make it work, but also succeed in their goal to bring a new twist to the stale procedural offerings.
You can watch complete interview video below: (it’s currently processing and will be posted soon. So, check back!)
Check out the premiere of Hawaii Five-0 this fall on CBS