words by SCOTT YOUNGBAUER
photos by TEREN ODDO
Many images come to mind when thinking of Captain Hook, but none have recently captured the unexplored charisma of the pirate quite like Colin O’Donoghue’s incarnation of Hook on the ABC hit show Once Upon a Time. Bringing back some adventure to the network’s Sunday nights line up, O’Donoghue’s eyeliner clad buccaneer has quickly become a fan favorite since joining the ensemble in season 2.
What is it about O’Donoghue on the show that has so many viewers infatuated with him? Upon getting the script for Hook’s first appearance in the show, O’Donoghue tells me that he knew there was something special about this take on the character. “Here he’s less of a villain and more of a misunderstood bad boy. The idea was to make him less like a mad man, and somebody who was more like someone who people would like to hang out with.” Hook was not originally meant to be recurring, but audience response helped garner O’Donoghue billing as a season regular quickly. It also might help that he has dynamite chemistry with actress Jennifer Morrison, whom he shares most of his scenes with.
Born and raised in Drogheda, South Louth in Ireland, O’Donoghue divides his time between home in Drogheda to Vancouver where the show is shot. Leaving his wife and year-and-a-half-old son back at home in Drogheda has proven challenging for the Irishman. Telling me over the phone from Vancouver, where he is currently shooting episode 8 of the current season, he explains, “It’s pretty hectic. I miss Ireland when I’m here, but Vancouver is such a beautiful city. It’s a lovely place to be.”
Like most kids who grew up in the early nineties, Dustin Hoffman’s flamboyant portrayal of Captain Hook in Steven Spielberg’s Hook was one of O’Donoghue’s favorites. It took him a little bit of time to break out of his head when taking on the character, knowing the Hook on the show had to stand alone. The wardrobe he wears may help a little, and viewers no doubt know the costume quite well: namely, a breathtaking shoulder-to-ankles leather jacket that he’s rarely seen without. “The jacket itself is custom made, and it’s pure leather. It weighs about 50 pounds. It’s quite heavy when you’re shooting for a 14-hour day.” On camera, the result of the full costume of the character is stunning, and his embodiment of the role with a rock star touch is just what it calls for.
A guitar can always be found in O’Donoghue’s trailer while on set, and he’s known to bring it to set with him while on breaks. Music is a big hobby for the actor, who is a former member of the band The Enemies. He took a break from the group when he joined OUAT full time. Helping others is also an important part of O’Donoghue’s life, as he is very active with causes and charities, Irish Homeless Aid and the Gary Kelly Cancer Center among them.
This season will prove to be yet another exciting chapter in the Disney universe-hopping fantasy series with the inclusion of Frozen characters Elsa and Anna, and with Hook acclimating to his domestic life in the “real world.” Reflecting on the role, he tells me, “I just feel lucky to be playing such an iconic character.” Hopefully this season will allow Hook to make a wardrobe change or two, since he’s been in the same coat for the past two seasons. O’Donoghue’s portrayal will no doubt be just as fun to watch as it is for him to play.
photography TEREN ODDO www.terenoddo.com
styling TARA WILLIAMS
grooming MELISSA DEZARATE at EXCLUSIVE ARTISTS using LA MER SKINCARE and KEVIN MURPHY HAIRCARE
photo assist RAHIL
photo assist MIKE HOPE
special thanks to OPEN MARKET LA www.openmarketla.com