When Jay Hernandez landed the role of Magnum P.I. (Mondays at 9 p.m. on CTV) on the reboot of the famed franchise, first thing first: he had to break the news to his mother.
“The contracts have been signed so now I can officially tell you, I’m on the new Magnum P.I.,” he told her over a glass of wine.
“What? Who’s going to play Magnum? Is it Tom Selleck?” she said.
“My mom’s still hoping it’s Tom Selleck,” Hernandez told a gaggle of giggling reporters in Los Angeles at the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour. She’s probably not the only one, but if Hernandez has his way viewers of the new series will forgot about the moustached version of the character sooner rather than later.
That’s because he’s working overtime to ensure that he doesn’t copy what Selleck did with the role, rather he’s trying to make it his own. That’s why, when the series premieres on Monday night, Hernandez won’t be rocking the Hawaiian shirts or a moustache (although he will be driving some fancy cars and working his magic to solve a very important case). It all boils down to what Hernandez likens to the Jared Leto situation on Suicide Squad. As one of the actor’s co-stars on the film, Hernandez had a front-row view of the pressure Leto faced to live up to expectations, and how important it was to have a completely different take on the classic Joker character.
“It was like built-in hate for the character for his portrayal of it. It was like, everybody wanted him to fail, and so I had that in the back of my mind,” he said.
Ultimately, Selleck has nothing to do with the new Magnum P.I., but he did give his blessing to everyone involved—included the barefaced Hernandez. And for his part, Hernandez was a huge fan of the show growing up so he definitely cares about the fandom in general. He used to watch the show with his mom, which is why he was so excited to break the news to her in the first place.
“She wanted Tom Selleck and she still wants Tom Selleck. She’s pitching me, she’s like, ‘When is he coming to the show?’ I’m like, ‘Knock it off. I’m Magnum,’” he jokes. “Maybe down the line…”
Hernandez wouldn’t say much more about a Selleck appearance other than he’d love one, but he did reveal that, for now, his mom seems on board (his exact words were that she’s “overflowing with pride”). At the end of the day fixated may be the word we’d use when it comes to Mama Hernandez’s love for the original P.I.
“She’s an easy sell though,” Hernandez laughs. “She just wants to meet Tom. If she meets Tom she will die a happy woman.”
Wouldn’t we all.