Tom Selleck ‘gave his blessing’ for ‘Magnum P. I.’ reboot, says star
LOS ANGELES – “Magnum, P. I.” is back, but this time Jay Hernandez is the drive with the iconic red Ferrari and a sporty Detroit Tigers hat.
As fans of the original ’80s action-adventure series know, Tom Selleck’s first star as the famous private detective, and although there is no word if he’s making any appearances in the CBS reboot, Hernandez says the actor gave his blessing.
“I know that [Executive Producer] Peter [Lenkov] has talked to him, and the conversation went well, and he gave us his blessing,” Hernandez told reporters at the 2018 Television Critics Associations’ Summer Press Tour in Beverly Hills, California. on Sunday.
“I let him [Selleck] the cartoons actually,” Lenkov added. “He was great. I mean, I’ve spoken with him a few times since then, but when we were in the tent, because we went to him for his blessing.”
And even though it is 30 years ago that “Magnum, P. I.” the last broadcast, Lenkov says that the production of the show are “white whale” ever since he was a teenager.
“Putting words in Magnum’s mouth is something I have wanted to do for a long time, and I’m finally doing that with this great cast,” Lenkov admits, adding, “It really couldn’t be a better time for this again.”
Another important difference in the new series, which airs on September 24, is that the Higgins character (originally played by the late John Hillerman) will be a woman.
“I thought it was a boys’ club,” Lenkov said of the ’80s show, noting that “If you’re going to do it in 2018, you must have a strong female lead.”
Echoed Perdita Weeks, who currently plays Higgins: “The only thing that is perhaps missing in the original was a strong female character. There were a lot of women, but also maybe not play an important role. It brings a new dynamic.”
Why Lenkov wanted a reboot of the series now? The executive producer says that it is because they “really speak of these positive portraits of wwii veterans to come back, serve as civilians without uniforms.”
“It is interesting. I grew up in Canada, so I have no study of American history – but, the original ‘Magnum’ was about Vietnam veterans back home,” Lenkov explained. “I thought those guys were heroes, and they were.
“Later, when I was growing up I started learning a little bit about American history and the war in Vietnam, and I realized that they are not all received as heroes,” he continued. “I also thought that the image of Vietnam veterans in the late seventies and eighties – it was a really dark image. I thought that ‘Magnum’ was a real positive image of Vietnam veterans. So, you cut and 2017 2018 and we see a lot of movies about veterans – and of course they are dark portraits.
“And I thought that if there was ever a time to bring in ‘Magnum P. I.’ back, and it’s really relevant now because we really speak of these positive portraits of wwii veterans to come back, serve as civilians without uniforms, if he is serving and helping people and making,” he added.
And for Hernandez, a step in the role of an ex-Navy SEAL really hits close to home.
“It’s kind of this cool, life imitates art, because my brother about two and a half or three weeks ago, retired from the navy, and I’m playing a navy man,” Hernandez told reporters in a follow-up interview. “He spent 22 years in the U.S. army, went on numerous tours, went to the Middle East, went to Iraq – all this stuff. And, I’m playing a navy man on the television.”
“So for me it is a real source of pride,” he continued. “To be able to portray a character like this, and the fact that [Executive Producer] Peter Lenkov is known about the species of this positive image of veterinarians to come back, allowing them to have a positive impact on society – it’s not all about my PTSD and my misery and that side of things, it is for me a great honor and a great pleasure to be able to play that kind of character.”