Hawaii Five-0 CGI Jack Lord

Hawaii Five-0: Inside Jack Lord's CGI Cameo and That Insane Chase Scene AKA 'The French Connection on Foot'

CBS’ Hawaii Five-0 got people talking with Friday night’s Season 7 premiere, which surprised us with an uncanny cameo and then wowed us with an epic, parkour-filled foot chase.

TVLine hopped on the phone with showrunner Peter M. Lenkov to talk about recreating the late Jack Lord — who of course played Steve McGarrett on the original H50 — for a heart-to-heart with Alex O’Loughlin’s team leader, as well as find out the trickiest part about filming that extended, white-knuckle chase.

TVLINE | Where did the Jack Lord idea suddenly sprout from, seven seasons in?
I actually wrote the scene a few years ago — it was going to be the last scene of the series. As I realized that the end may not be as soon as I’d thought, I wanted to get it on screen before anybody else did something like that.

TVLINE | What all was involved? Motion capture, CGI..?
It was a voice actor, a real actor, a body stand-in and then CG work. Alex acted against a real actor, just to have something to play off of, and we put the voice in afterwards. We had a body double that looked like Jack Lord, who has the same bone structure, and the face was CG [laid] over the actor’s face.

TVLINE | Best I recall from my days as a rugrat, it was quite the soundalike.
Very much so. Actually, at the premiere in Hawaii, people who knew and worked with Jack were blown away as soon as they heard his voice on screen. You hear his voice before you see his face, and people were awed. It was pretty amazing. Look, CG like that is not perfected yet, but…

TVLINE | But it was pretty good. It was like 5 percent videogame-y, but otherwise….
Well, we tried. And I just wanted to do it before anybody else.

TVLINE | Did you need to get permission from Jack Lord’s estate? How does that work?
We went through his estate, which is owned by a bank, and they approved the script back in June, knowing that it was about honoring his legacy.

TVLINE | The parkour Hawaii Five-0chase scene, meanwhile, was just bananas. How long did that take to shoot?
That took, off and on, a couple of weeks. I told [director] Brian Spicer at the beginning that I wanted to have like six or seven minutes of a chase — I wanted The French Connection on foot. And those guys, they delivered. Jesse La Flair is a real parkour champ [and played the suspect], and there were a lot of cameras strapped to him, so we could get real POV shots. It was pretty amazing.

TVLINE | Is he the one who suggested the balcony sequence, or was that something you had seen and wanted?
That was a collaboration between Jessie, our stunt coordinator Jeff [Cadiente], and Brian, choosing locations that we could get and use, that worked into our schedule since we were doing little pieces at a time.

TVLINE | What was the trickiest part of shooting that chase?
Convincing the studio to air all of it. [Laughs] It’s a little bit under six minutes but it is pretty long, and to get a network to air something like that, which is just straight action…. They’re always worried the audience is going to change the channel, so that was the big feat!

Want more scoop on H50, or for any other show? Email insideline@tvline.com and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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89 Comments
  1. bobC927 says:

    IMHO both actions, (Jack Lord and the chase) failed miserably.

    • Dom says:

      You are clearly high. It was amazing

      • drhenning says:

        you are absolutely right.. Watching that opening scene, at first I wasn’t sure it was a Lord CGI throwback but it was clear as it went on it was.. that chase scene actually reminded more of the opening chase scene from Casino Royale with all the jumping from building to building. But of course French Connection is more well known. Hawaii 5-0 is such a great show.

        • M says:

          Bang on assessment. Jack Lord thing was kinda random and didn’t pay off well, and the parkour thing became too drawn out, and when he died seemed…kinda pointless. Just showing off to show off, not to pay off.

      • Rita says:

        Dom could not have responded better..Was pretty amazing for TV..I also LOVED the Jack Lord, cool tribute..

    • QYW says:

      IMHO, you are dead wrong on both counts. Very action packed and well done.

    • liame says:

      Totally agree, wasn’t impressed whatsoever. Lame and embarrassing.

  2. So, this was not the Blind Item?

  3. PatriciaLee says:

    The husband thought that the Jack Lord figure was heartwarming, and I thought it was ok. It didn’t detract from the show.

  4. Jubilee says:

    They should have tried harder because the CGI Jack Lord was creepy AF. Videogames create characters more realistic.

    The chase scene was ridiculously over the top and excessively long, IMO.

    • Kim R says:

      I kind of agree. The Parkour was amazing but a titch long for the viewers in my house. And Steve chasing him freshly off of almost dying was literally unbelievable. I’m not sure what the significance of the Jack Lord appearance was. It seemed oddly placed to me and I have to say he was a little creepy.

    • wickmclaren says:

      You must be hard to please because the chase scene was amazing. The athleticism by the stunt man was unbelievable. I’ve been watching TV for 65 years and that chase was the best l’ve ever seen.

  5. i applaud the sentiment but the pay off looked like it belonged more on supernatural or the walking dead

  6. wrstlgirl says:

    I loved everything about this episode. That chase scene was wild.

  7. Diane says:

    That chase scene was glorious. That dude was amazing.

  8. maregolden says:

    The chase scene was amazing from start to finish. The Jack Lord part was kind of creepy, but I appreciate what they were trying to do, which I assume was to pay homage to the first Steve McGarrett.

  9. patrickmaloney33 says:

    Was this the blind item about surprise casting?

  10. Shaun says:

    The chase was great but didn’t look like something an injured McGarrett or anyone other character could have realistically done.

  11. Tom says:

    The moment that I first saw the bad guy. I had a feeling he was not hired for his acting. But after a few minutes of the chase. I fast forward it. It was a bit boring after a while. The Jack Lord scene was awkward.

  12. nuschler12 says:

    I was REALLY pissed at the CGI model of Jack Lord! Dis guy was a saint to us here in Hawai’i. This show is so BAD compared to the original H50!
    Lord would have hated Scott Caan. a skinny girl Kono–Jack would have liked Daniel Dae Kim…but the rest? Humbug!

    • DS says:

      If you think it is so bad, why watch it? How would you know what Jack Lord would of liked? Were you there when they were casting the original? I, for one, really like this H50!!!

  13. Marci says:

    I never watched the original, so I had no idea it was Jack Lord in the car. I thought he looked and sounded spooky.
    As for the chase scene, it was amazing, but too long; I finally lost my patience and fast forwarded through the rest. I had to reverse to see the creep fall–very satisfying. I’m glad that was the end of him, at least. Now we have to find out who the other guy is.

  14. Bella says:

    It was obvious that the Jack Lord scene was CGId because the color and movement weren’t natural. But I still thought it was cool they did it. I loved the chase scene, and am glad they let the whole thing run.

  15. Kevin K says:

    They would’ve used a hologram for Jack Lord and that parkour chase scene was like coming out of Hardcore Henry. The actor who did all the parkour stuff is like the next Tony Jaa.

  16. Tina says:

    The lighting in the scene was perfect. I had to rewind my DVR just to make sure I was seeing what I thought I saw. The chase was heart-stopping.

  17. Kathy Bergeron says:

    I liked the episode but that CGI of Jack Lord was borderline creepy.

  18. mrkeno says:

    how many caught the Rosalind Chao character name Keiko the same character name she had in DS9

  19. Margo Langley says:

    Found Jack Lord “presentation” pretty amazing! Also, the chase scene. I was glad Steve made it off the rooftop in one piece, and that Danny got him to stop at the last second! Sorry to see Governor Denning go; he was cool! Whatever you “bring”, I intend to be there for the “ride”!

  20. Joun says:

    Wow 2016 and the worst CGI ever seen on TV !!!

  21. BG says:

    Just watching the scene now – pretty amazing footage! Impressive Parkour moves, my hubby & I thought it was great. Glad the studio went with it.

  22. Mike says:

    The Jack Lord CGI looked too much like a zombie. The voice acting was good though. Should have shot from behind with less CGI. The CGI reminded me of the Livia Soprano CGI which took me out of the show.

  23. Kevin In CT says:

    I liked the Jack Lord thing but I thought that the voice was way off. Did anyone else catch the Gov. Denning thing? On the original H50 the Gov. was played by Richard Denning!!

    • Maria Quinn says:

      The regular H50 viewers know about the Governor Denning thing, yes. He was the Governor in Seasons 2-6 (last season), played by actor Sam T. Jones. I’m counting Seasons 2-6 for the character’s participation because they didn’t name a subsequent Governor (Governor Mahoe) until this current season, but I don’t think Governor Denning has been seen, physically, in the show since Season 4 or 5. The character name was an homage to the actor (Richard Denning) who played the Governor (Governor Jameson) in the original H50.

  24. Wendy says:

    I really liked the Jack Lord scene, I thought it was exactly what Steve needed to here. I watched the original show as a kid, and to me it was the exact voice I remember. What I especially enjoyed was the storyline, a killer of serial killers is a new direction for the show. Overall, a great first episode doing all the things H50 does best, the great chase scene, excellent carguments, the wheelchair race where Grover won money from Kono, and then Chin driving the Camaro with Danny in the back was hysterical. They made Abby join HPD and not the team, and Kamekona is back to cooking up new business ventures. I am looking forward to the rest of Season 7!!

    • Maria Quinn says:

      Abby’s now part of HPD so the character can remain recurring. That’s because the actress, Julie Benz, also has a role in the CBS show Training Day, which I think is starting at midseason. If Abby had stayed with Five-0, then the character probably would’ve been expected to become a regular, in every ep, & the actress also has that other commitment so that won’t work.

      • Wendy says:

        Which shows that they have learned to keep the love interest out HF0. Things went downhill when they brought Cath in. I don’t think that any spouse/love interest belongs on the team, a recurring spot is perfect. Glad Abby is around for Chin, but we don’t need to see it all the time, the same goes for Adam and Renee.

  25. peterwdawson says:

    Man that was jarring CGI. Bad enough when big budget movies attempt this. At least they tried to cover it up.

  26. M. Majors says:

    Casually watching premier and recognized Jack Lord first then thought didn’t he die. Looking closer I saw CGI interaction. Kudos put me in thumbs up column

  27. Deb says:

    Hawaii Five-0 has JUMPED THE SHARK. I DVR’d it Friday and started watching it a few minutes ago. I was so creeped out I had to stop, and go online to see if I’d made a mistake and that wasn’t supposed to be Jack Lord. Mr Lord was a very private man who stayed out of the spotlight on purpose. This wasn’t a tribute it was a gimmick. And a tasteless one at that.

    • Kathy Bergeron says:

      I thought I was mostly alone in thinking the CGI Jack Lord was creepy. Nice to know someone else had the same reaction. It wasn’t just that either– the entire thing felt superfluous and just in poor taste.

      Sent from my iPhone

      >

      • Stephanie says:

        I actually cringed watching it. I loved the rest of the episode, but having grown up watching repeats of the original series with my dad, I thought they made CGI Jack look like a rotting corpse. The poor lighting didn’t help.

  28. Lee Salsbery says:

    The Jack Lord Zombie was unsettling. Hawaii 5-0 v2 is still depending too much on v1, using the original McGarrett in the flyover opening each week reminds me of the show’s lower action, but more ethical, predecessor.

  29. Tatyana says:

    That was an amazing scene!I’m glad that it wasn’t short (15sec.)like a lot of foot chase scene’s are. Just Awesome!

  30. Lea Ann Hodnett says:

    I watched Hawaii 5-0 when I was a little girl. I loved it then and I love now! Seeing the old with the new was amazing!!! I loved the chase too. Everyone on the show is great but now I know that the masterminds are behind the scenes! I’ve always wanted to see Hawaii but probably won’t ever get to go. I get to be there every time I watch HAWAII 5-0!!!

  31. Brooklyngirl says:

    To be honest the CGI (to me it wasn’t very well done) itself creeped me out a bit but I loved the idea of the old “Steve” meeting the new “Steve” and loved his words of wisdom to Steve. The chase had me breathless even though it was a bit too long. I never heard the word “parkour” before and had to look it up, Jesse was certainly excellent in it and, as always, Jeff outdid himself with the special effects! Awesome episode all around.

  32. Jake says:

    I’m split on the two topics – yea, the color of the CGI was too grey. Granted, it was a dimly lit chapel, but still, he looked like a ghost – which now thinking about is probably what they were going for. Having said that, I loved that it was an homage to Jack Lord. I just assumed they got an actor who looked like Lord, didn’t think he looked identical to Lord. So I like the idea, but the execution was a little lacking.
    As for the parkour thing, that scene illustrates what’s wrong with this 5-0 vs. the original – long on action, short on writing/story lines. I fast forwarded through it to. Just too much.

  33. Morisot says:

    I got side-tracked into a whole internal debate: is that bad lighting? is that supposed to be some creepy guy? is that supposed to be Jack Lord? why did they make him look like a cadaver? is that doctored footage from the original show? is that a look-alike? why did they make him look like a cadaver? is McGarrett really in a church at all? is he just imagining the whole thing? has the case been real up to now either? I guess it was supposed to be Jack Lord? what did he say?

  34. Joan says:

    I liked the concept, but it looked creepy. It was like a talking corpse.

  35. n says:

    That looks more like a young Abraham Lincoln than like Jack Lord.

  36. I legit asked myself who is this zombie ghost Steve is talking to? I was only aware of the old H5O but didn’t know the actors really well. I loved the chase scene because I love parkour but I agree that Steve keeping up with that guy was unbelievable. I get that they’re having Steve have a little trouble facing his own mortality because his body has basically been at its peak and never let him down since he joined the Navy at 18 but the serious lack of common sense he’s showing is really throwing me off. He just had major surgery, he shouldn’t even be doing a light jog much less jumping off balconies or across rooftops. If I was Danno I would be pissed too. I just gave you a part of a major organ and you’re acting like it’s just another Tuesday. I really wish they would fix their relationship and get back to basics. They’re like a couple who used to share teasing remarks but now the sniping as gotten a little too real, less teasing and more designed to hurt feelings.

  37. Ian says:

    I’m not sure why people are so impressed by the Jack Lord cgi cameo in the season premiere. It really didn’t look much like him or sound at all like him. Having watched allot of the original series growing up, I was able to figure out what the show was trying to do. I think they probably could have done allot better with some makeup and finding a voice impressionist.

    Sorry folks, it just didn’t work for me.

  38. Dawn D says:

    Loved the chase scene’s! Very well done. Anyone know when Michelle B/Cat comes back? Also the image of Steve McG Sr was cool but why did they make him look like TWD?

  39. Emily says:

    I’m a big H50 fan from the original and I must say I was truly at aw. like you said you hear him before you see him and anyone that knows the show new that that was him and then to see his face wow I give you all big props please do something else like that this season or in the coming seasons. in the outstanding out freaking standing

  40. BillB says:

    The Jack Lord tribute was a good try but a failure. They did get the hair right! But the voice was way off and the face was too. If they shot it from behind and sampled his voice from the original, comments would be more positive. As for the extended parkour scene with the pointless end, glad I DVR’d and fast fwd.

  41. njartist says:

    The tip of the hat to Jack Lord was nice but it was kind of strange. Looking at the
    above photo the eyes were not right . Also I found the voice to be somewhat off.
    5-0 has paid homage to the previous 5-0. A 1974 Mercury Marquis 4 door
    hardtop sedan driven by Jack Lord’s McGarrett has been featured as being driven
    by this Steve’s dad. Still that opening scene was a very nice reference.
    That chase was plain crazy & sometimes this show goes a little over the top.
    I have watched this 5-0 from episode 1. I like this show very much but I would
    have wished that the producers would have gone w/ new characters to continue
    the story of 5-0 yet refer back to the previous version. This 5-0 has grown on me.I like the new characters such as Grover that have been introduced. Hopefully it will continue for a few more seasons. I did watch the 68-80 5-0 and find that it still
    holds up quite well after all this time. It has been off the air for 36 years.

  42. JScout says:

    About half way through the chase I fast forwarded to the end of it. Way too long and repetitive. The Jack Lord thing was o.k., didn’t impress me that much. But, I’m glad the show is back, a good escapist 40 minutes.

  43. michelle says:

    That CGI was horrible – looked like a corpse. That scene did not succeed.

  44. Malissa R. says:

    I loved the chase scene. It was great.

  45. Andrew says:

    The cgi puppet was awful. Looked as natural as Trump’s hair

  46. shirley says:

    Will they tie in the Jack Lord double later. As Steve finds out more about his family

  47. DFranch says:

    The chase was awesome, the Jack Lord thing was just weird.

    • Mike Hartley says:

      I got to know Jack towards the later years of the series. I must admit both character and actor were serious role models for me. In person, he was almost shy, but also kind and gentle. After the show ended, Jimmy MacArthur and I became good friends and golf buddies until he passed. He had some great stories to tell about Jack! During the series, Jack WAS Steve.
      There is a Bronze bust of Steve at one of the entrances to Kahala Mall, nearby where he and his wife Marie lived. I pass it often on my way to get takeout from CPK.
      It is a very small token of respect to a man who made such a positive impact on our State.
      It was way cool seeing him in the premier. Brought tears to my eyes. Powers that be,
      Awesome! Thanks!
      Mike Hartley

      Yeah, you use my plane occasionally, but you still not getting discount😁

  48. Deidre says:

    Loved the chase scene and can’t wait for Catherine to be back. Steve loves her! Doesn’t anyone get to be happy?

  49. Larry Grund says:

    Will Hawaii 50 ever bring Catherine back to the show?

  50. Kay says:

    I thought the chase & CGI sequence were amazing. I loved the original Hawaii 5-0, but I really like this version also. WE never miss iy.