For someone who loves surfing as much as Scott Caan does, working on a show like Hawaii Five-0
-which shoots eight months a year on location on Oahu-should be a dream. Sadly for Caan, physical pursuits have lately been more of a nightmare. "I had a pretty gnarly knee surgery after I snapped my anterior cruciate ligament in August, so I've been out of the water for a while," Caan says over coffee on the mainland. Showing off a variety of scars, from his ankles to his shoulders, the actor confesses, "My whole body is a wreck. I've injured myself so many times with jujitsu, skateboarding, football. I guess I like to live hard."
It's not surprising, considering Scott, 34, is the son of legendary Hollywood tough guy James Caan (The Godfather
) and spent much of his unconventional childhood inside the walls of the Playboy Mansion where his father, now 70, briefly lived. "I'd have Scott bring me girls," James recalls with a laugh. "No one could say no to a cute little boy." Before long Scott had decided to follow in his father's footsteps; parts in hit movies like Ocean's Eleven
followed. Now his rough-and-tumble rep is paying off with his role as cop Danny "Danno" Williams on CBS' hit reboot of the '70s cop drama Hawaii Five-0
. "My character's a tough guy from New Jersey. I can't exactly wear a dress, you know?" Scott says, laughing.
The actor says he's not a macho man himself. "I'm actually very sensitive," he swears. Earlier this year he wrote and starred in Mercy
, an indie film about a troubled relationship. His creative streak is largely inspired by his father, whom Scott calls "one of the greatest actors of all time." Despite his admiration, though, Scott is clear: "To say our relationship wasn't dysfunctional would be a lie." Raised by his mother, model Sheila Ryan, after his parents split when he was a baby, Scott "witnessed a lot of things I wish I didn't do," James confesses now. "He saw me when I was a little rough around the edges," including periods when James was battling drugs. "Now," says James, "we're really best buddies." Scott doesn't hold a grudge. "I have no resentment. He made mistakes that affected him-and me-but he's always been there for me no matter what." Adds James: "I'm proud that he's grown up so well."
Perhaps because of his turbulent youth, Scott consciously avoids the same Hollywood pitfalls his dad experienced, noting that beyond a brief experimentation with drugs as a teen, he avoided substances and alcohol entirely for 14 years. "I'm not a nightclub guy at all," he says. "I wake up at 5 a.m. every day and go to bed early." While his friends, including his Entourage
costars (he has a recurring role on the HBO comedy as talent manager Scott Lavin), are often out on the Hollywood scene, Scott prefers to stay home and write scripts-ideally ones that could star his father. "If I can see him happy, working, and be responsible for it, that will make me happy for the rest of my life," he says.
But his grueling 12-hour days shooting Hawaii
leave little time for creativity-or love. "I want to get married, but I'm always tortured in relationships," says Scott, who previously dated Kimberly Stewart. "There are 6 billion people in the world. It's hard to find the one person who's right for you." So for now, he's just enjoying his newfound "Book 'em, Danno" success. "I caught a wave," says the frustrated surfer. "I've got to ride it."