INTERVIEW: Hawaii Five-O's Scott Caan Finds His Way
The talented actor and playwright discusses his newest stage work, No Way Around But Through at L.A.'s Falcon Theatre.
THEATERMANIA: Why is it so important for you to renew your links with theater?
SCOTT CAAN: I certainly love writing. Usually when I write a play lately, I find I won't have time to act in it. It happened perfectly that I had two months on hiatus from the show where I could put this play up and be in it. The last play I wrote, which I wasn't in, was Two Wrongs at the Lounge II Theatre last year.
TM: You received some of your initial acting training at Playhouse West School in L.A. Can you speak about your work there?
SC: It ended up being more of a repertory theater than a school after a while. After two or three years, I just stuck around and did plays and we had access to three different theaters. Val Lauren and I put up the first play that I wrote in 1999, the second one in 2001, and then we did a collection of one-acts in 2003. I wrote and he directed or I directed.
TM: Why did you write No Way Around But Through?
SC: I like to find humor in things that aren't funny. This play is about a guy who has horrible issues with his mother [played by Griffith], who mistreated him. It's also about a guy who manipulated his way through every relationship so he didn't have to be serious. It comes from a really dark dysfunctional place. But it's fun for me to kind of find laughter in that. In a way, that's the way all my plays have been. To me it's sort of an excuse to be in a way sentimental, without truly doing that. I hate sentimental plays. I hate being manipulated into tears. The way I grew up, the people you love are the people who busted your balls the most. We never had sentimental moments. If we did, it was followed by a right cross or hook or upper cut.
TM: Are you enjoying working with Melanie Griffith?
SC: I'm so impressed by her. She's somebody who doesn't have to do a lot of stuff. She has four kids, a huge life. But she read this play and right away said she wanted to do it. It really sounds like I wrote the part for her. I hope I get to work with her forever.
TM: You grew up in an acting family -- your father is Oscar nominee James Caan and your mother is actress Sheila Ryan. Was acting an obvious career path for you?
SC: No I definitely didn't want to act at first. And my dad discouraged it. He didn't want me to be in this business. He wanted me to play baseball. I was just into anything that kept me out of a classroom, and I just wanted to get involved with creative endeavors, like being in a band. I've always been able to try things, and to meet people who I could learn from.
SC: Garry is amazing. He's someone to really look up to. He has made huge movies, huge television shows. He doesn't have to run and own a theater. I guarantee you he's not making any money there. He does it because he loves it. I aspire to be where he is one day. I want to have my own theater. I think one of the reasons we're here is that he saw that in Val and I -- and he wants to be in business with people on the same turf that he's on. I came into this theater and said "Man I really want to be doing this, but I'm on this television show," and he said, "Don't be sorry about it. I did a little show called Happy Days and it bought me this theater."