Star-Bulletin Features

Dwayne Johnson, also known as "The Rock," starts filming "Helldorado" in September. Universal execs are scouting Kauai and Oahu locations. But is he fit to play a king? Controversy's cooking. See story.

Producers scouting
Hawaii locations

The possible projects include
a jungle movie with "The Rock"
and a new "Hawaiian Eye"

Kamehameha movie plan criticized

By Tim Ryan

Interest in Hawaii as a film and television location is booming.

Universal executives are scouting Kauai and Oahu this week for "The Rock's" "Helldorado," which starts filming in September.

The film is about a bounty hunter, played by the Rock, who attempts to square a debt by venturing into the Amazon jungle to capture someone. He soon discovers that his quarry isn't the villain he'd been warned about, and the two join forces in pursuit of riches stored in a mine. The film's co-star is Seann William Scott.

Hawaii's chances of being picked have risen since June 14, when director Peter Berg and producer Kevin Misher were robbed by armed bandits in the Amazon jungle. The two men, line producer Ric Kidney and production designer Tom Duffield were relieved of their cash and a laptop computer as their Portuguese-speaking guides pleaded for their release.

Officials from the on-again, off-again Paramount pic "Guam Goes to the Moon" are also looking at Hawaii again since first scouting here three years ago. Filming was to have started in February 2001. No cast has been announced for the film about a washed-up former astronaut who gets a second chance when a wealthy Guam industrialist hires him to put the U.S. territory on the map by starting up a space program.

There's also talk about a remake here of the classic late-'50s, early-'60s television series "Hawaiian Eye," which starred Robert Conrad, Connie Stevens and Anthony Eisley.

"Hawaiian Eye" was described as "'77 Sunset Strip' played in Hawaii" because both shows were produced by Warner Bros. and featured two good-looking young detectives as alternate leads, wacky sidekicks, and simple plots set against glamorous backgrounds. The Hawaii detectives were based at a poolside office in the Hawaiian Village Hotel, though little filming was done here.

Noted producer Chris Lee, who recently moved back to Hawaii from Los Angeles, apparently has the rights to the show, which aired Oct. 7, 1959, to September 1963 on ABC. Lee was not available for comment.

Oahu-born and raised actor Tia Carrere, the voice of Nani in the Disney hit "Lilo & Stitch," reportedly is being considered for the lead.

Lee is the founder of Chris Lee Productions Inc. and the former president of motion picture production for Columbia/TriStar Pictures. Based on the Sony Pictures Entertainment lot, Lee's current company is involved in a wide range of content creation: the production of motion pictures, television, Internet programming, music videos, commercials and computer video games.

And Mr. "Miami Vice" himself, Don Johnson, visited Oahu in June for discussions about a possible series here.

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