Jay Hernandez, The New 'Magnum P.I.' Actor, Hopes His Role Will Be An Important Step For People Of Colour
Another day, another TV series hitting your screens — '80s classic Magnum P.I. has been rebooted for today's detective-loving crowd. The legendary Tom Selleck has been replaced in the leading role by a man who has one of those faces that you'll definitely recognise but just can't quite place. So who is Jay Hernandez, the actor who is set to take on the role of Thomas Magnum?
Born in California to third-generation Mexican-American parents, Hernandez' childhood wasn't entrenched in the showbiz world, according to Latino Image Makers in Hollywood: Performers, Filmmakers and Films Since the 1960s. Instead, his mum was an accountant and his dad a mechanic.
In a story that sounds too good to be true (even for a film), CNN reports that Hernandez was in a lift when he was approached by a talent agent who told him he could have a successful career as an actor. The same agent then went on to enrol him in acting school and send his photo to numerous casting agents.
In 1998, the now 40-year-old star scored his big break when he was cast in the NBC series, Hang Time. The sitcom went on to air for two years. During this time, Hernandez grew closer to co-star Daniella Deutscher, eventually marrying her in 2006.
After his TV debut, he went on to appear in a number of films. His first was the 2001 drama, Crazy/Beautiful, in which he starred opposite Kirsten Dunst. Over the years, he has starred in everything from the horror fest that is Hostel to comedy Bad Moms and superhero film Suicide Squad. You may also recognise him from the seventh season of political TV series Scandal in which he appeared as journalist Curtis Pryce.
Magnum P.I. is arguably Hernandez's biggest acting job yet. In February 2018, his casting as the new Thomas Magnum was revealed. In July, he told Variety that he hoped seeing a Latino lead on screen would dispel any stereotypes surrounding people of colour: “There’s a lot of negativity attached to people of colour, so it’s really wonderful and bold and special to have this opportunity to put that imagery to tell stories and to be on TV and to have something up there that is in very stark contrast to a lot of what we’re absorbing on a subconscious level."
The series, which sees ex-Navy Seal Magnum team up with former MI6 agent Julie Higgins to investigate a number of crimes in Hawaii, first aired in the U.S. in September. Four months later and it has finally made its way to the UK. Welsh actress Perdita Weeks plays Higgins. Just like Hernandez, she has her fair share of acting credits having starred in The Tudors, Penny Dreadful, and Steven Spielberg's sci-fi epic, Ready Player One.
And if you already like the way the reboot sounds, you're in luck. With Hawaiian news outlets stating that roads are to be shut this month for the filming of the series, it appears that a second season is definitely on the horizon.
Magnum P.I. starts at 9.p.m, Jan. 16 on Sky One.