Friday, December 14, 2001

Lights! Camera!
Willis movie to film here

'Man of War' with Bruce Willis
will help boost the local
film industry next year

By Tim Ryan

"Man of War," a $70 million movie by Revolution Studios starring Bruce Willis, will film in Hawaii for about 14 weeks beginning early next year.

Pre-production may start as early as late January, according to sources.

Film executives scouted Oahu, Kauai and Maui counties in October and the Big Island last week for the filming, which is scheduled from March through mid-June.

Most of the footage will be shot on Oahu, but the production also may film on a second island.

Hawaii won out over Australia despite that country's more favorable exchange rate and tax rebates for film productions.

Charles Neuwirth, Revolution's head of physical production, praised Hawaii for its natural beauty, Oahu facilities and "excellent crew base."

"I've had very good experiences in Hawaii with filming 'Throw Momma from the Train' and have also budgeted other films there," he said in an earlier interview. "And I always like to shoot as close to home as possible."

"Man of War" is about a Special Forces unit, led by Willis' character, sent to an African country to retrieve a doctor (Monica Bellucci) doing humanitarian work in a small village before a civil war reaches her. Once they arrive, the woman refuses to leave unless 40 villagers are evacuated with her.

Hawaii, as it has done in many other films, will double for Africa.

Bellucci starred in the acclaimed "Malena" and in October finished filming "The Matrix Reloaded."

"Man of War" will be directed by Antoine Fuqua, who also directed "Bait," "The Replacement Killers," starring Chow Yun-Fat and Mira Sorvino, and, most recently, "Training Day" with Denzel Washington.

Cole Hauser ("Tigerland") is in negotiations to co-star in "Man of War." He would play Atkins, a cocky young soldier who joins the Special Forces unit. Hauser just finished "White Oleander." His other films include "Pitch Black" and "Good Will Hunting."

The filming is good news for Hawaii's production industry, which this year may only reach $70 million in production revenues.

That would be about half of last year's total, which included $60 million from MGM's yet-to-be-released "Windtalkers."

Separately, the tentatively titled "Surf Girls" movie began six weeks of filming Wednesday on Oahu.

The movie, with a $30 million budget, also will film in Los Angeles.

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