Depending on your age and how sacred you consider 1980’s hit TV shows, the last few years of remakes either leave you breathlessly excited or rolling your eyes. From MACGYVER on CBS to LEATHAL WEAPON on Fox, and now MAGNUM PI is joining the retro line remake line up on CBS starring Jay Hernandez as the title character.
Jay Hernandez may be familiar from his many movie and television credits, from SUCIIDE SQUAD, to SCANDAL, and THE EXPANSE. Now he takes on a remake of that mustachioed private investigator that made Tom Selleck famous, Magnum PI. Magnum is a decorated former Navy SEAL who, upon returning home from Afghanistan, repurposes his military skills to become a private investigator in Hawaii.
So before Hernandez took his first case as Magnum when the series premiers on Monday, September 24th at 9pm on CBS, we had a quick chat with Jay about taking on this iconic role, the new Higgins, and all those stunts.
Hernandez has been in the entertainment business long enough to know that a reboot of a loved classic, and one with a much-loved title character might be hard but one worth tackling.
“It was really intimidating, because people stepping into an iconic role; the Joker, or Batman, there is always going to be built in criticism for the casting choice. That’s just the nature of people having opinions and they have their idea of who the people should be or who the casting decision should be. So that was always there in the back of my mind, but I had creative conversations with the producers, and knew that they got it, in terms of trying to update it. So we wanted to take the spirit of it and make it feel fresh and new.”
But never fear, he is not here to replace Tom Selleck.
“You can’t replace Tom Selleck, that’s Tom Selleck! So the last thing you want to do is truly replicate that because then that’s just a bad version of Tom Selleck, you know?”
Another change in the reboot is that Higgins, Magnum’s trusty companion and person in charge of the large household in Hawaii where Magnum slives and works security for it’s mysterious owner. In the reboot, Higgins is played by Perdita Weeks as Juliet Higgins the majordomo (i.e., property manager) for the large Hawaiian estate of writer Robin Masters, for whom Magnum works. How has that change impacted the show?
“Higgins being a woman is cool! Not only does it change the dynamic between Magnum and Higgins but it also just a bad ass role for a woman to play. She’s not there just taking orders and hanging out being pretty. She kicks people’s butts and gets me out of situations all the time, so it’s cool.”
Playing Magnum also means, driving some pretty sweet cars.
“I am very ok with that 488 Spider, that’s a beast. There’s something special about getting behind that wheel and hearing that engine roar.”
And naturally, he does all of his own stunts
I did this skydive wire thing, lots of car driving, jumping form the car to the helicopter that I shot, I had to shoot off this platform and catch the bottom of the helicopter. I do everything; I’m like the Tom Cruise of television shows!,” he says with a laugh.
Catch MAGNUM PI when it airs on Monday, September 24th at 99pm on CBS. And for additional information go to www.cbs.com