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.

Scott Caan
Scott Caan

Film and television star Scott Caan is currently thrilling audiences as hard-boiled detective Danny “Danno” Williams on the hit CBS crime series, Hawaii Five-O, but the talented actor is also a prolific playwright. His latest effort, No Way Around But Through, is now at Los Angeles’ Falcon Theatre, and stars Caan alongside Oscar nominee Melanie Griffith, Robyn Cohen, Bre Blair, and Val Lauren (who also directs). TheaterMania recently spoke to Caan about the play, his acting training, and his famous family.

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.

TM: Tell us about your experience working with Garry Marshall, who owns the Falcon?
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.”

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