2 TV pilot episodes
set sights on Hawaii

The movie director of "Blue Crush"
signs a deal for "The Break"

By Tim Ryan

Hollywood is renewing its love affair with Hawaii with two network television pilots about law enforcement set for production here early next year.

John Stockwell, director of the surf movie "Blue Crush," signed a deal on Friday with Imagine TV and 20th Century Fox TV for the police action-drama "The Break," set on Oahu.

And executive producer Simon West, who directed the movie "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider," will head the Paramount Network TV project "808" for CBS.

Donne Dawson, Hawaii Film Office commissioner, said she was elated by the news of the two possible TV series, which are "extremely important to the health and well-being" of the state's production industry.

"A television series of 22 episodes usually translates to about $20 million a year for our economy and keeps our local crews working," she said. "A series also is a weekly travelogue for the state."

In "The Break," a police officer returns to his North Shore home hoping to reconnect with his teenage son who he has brought from the mainland. The son has gotten into trouble and the father hopes to straighten out his life here. The show will focus on the lead character's home life and his job with the Honolulu Police Department's Crime Reduction Unit.

An Imagine executive, who did not want to be identified, said there are two major elements in "The Break": Hawaii and "a strong family environment." Story lines will include life in Hawaii, its "culture and textures," he said.

Many of the cases in "The Break" will involve the ocean and surfing, Stockwell told the Star-Bulletin in an earlier interview. Since water action will play a major role in "The Break," Brian Keaulana, water safety supervisor on "Blue Crush," has been contacted by Stockwell and Imagine's Brian Grazer for the same job on the TV show.

"Blue Crush," which opened last week, is set on Oahu's North Shore and is about an aspiring professional female surfer trying to compete in the world of men's surfing.

Stockwell said, "Brian and I came up with the idea for a television show set here while we were doing 'Blue Crush.'

"We both love it here, the natural beauty, the people, and the fantastic film crews. We put our heads together to see how we could make this work."

Several networks reportedly were interested in "Break."

Stockwell will write, direct and executive produce the "Break" pilot with Grazer and David Nevins.

The pilot and "a few episodes" are scheduled to be filmed here January through March, the source said. A full season of 22 to 24 episodes filmed throughout Hawaii would begin filming next summer, the Imagine source said. Casting is expected to begin in January.

The "808" pilot, meanwhile, will be filmed around February or March, said Jib Polhemus, the show's producer.

"808" follows a maverick mainland cop who joins the FBI's Hawaii bureau and investigates Hawaii's criminal underworld "as an entry point into the United States from overseas," said Polhemus.

The pilot script for "808" will be completed in December 2003, though the two writers will scout Oahu soon, Polhemus said. The production company will know in May if the show is picked up as a series. Executive producer West directed and produced the upcoming Warner Bros. feature film "Black Flag."

"We were attracted to Hawaii's cultural mix, for being a gateway to the Pacific Rim, and so incredibly beautiful," Polhemus said.

"808" producers were surprised by the announcement of the "Break" show, he said.

"It's the great race isn't it," Polhemus said. "Something is in the air about Hawaii. Perhaps it's a post 9/11 thing where people are thinking about good times and paradise. Hollywood is pretty savvy about picking up on these things."

The producers also believed it was time for another "good Hawaii series" like a "Hawaii Five-0," Polhemus said.

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