TV drama
to disrupt
Waikiki traffic

Filming of "Hawaii" will take
place 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday

After weeks of planning and discussions between NBC, city officials and Honolulu law enforcement, Kalakaua, Monsarrat and Kapahulu avenues will be the setting Monday for the most extensive car chase in Hawaii television production history.

The NBC pilot police drama "Hawaii" will spend as long as 10 hours filming three segments of a two-car chase scene -- police chasing criminals -- from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. but under specially controlled city restrictions to allow minimal traffic disruption.

"Hawaii" location director Ginger Petersen, Honolulu film commissioner Walea Constantinau and Honolulu police Detective Michael Cho began efforts two weeks ago to get necessary permits and city cooperation to film the scene in the pilot episode called "Hawaiian Justice."

The production will begin setting up at 6 a.m. Monday, with the first filming segment starting about 8 a.m. at Royal Hawaiian and Kalakaua avenues looping around the Hyatt Regency Hotel.

There will be 22 Honolulu Police Department officers monitoring pedestrians, controlling traffic and rerouting buses.

"Walea and Detective Mike Cho of HPD -- a consultant/coordinator for the production -- have been key in getting this to work," Petersen said.

The production will put up barricades at three sections along Kalakaua Avenue to block off traffic for about five to seven minutes of filming at a time. No travel lane of Kalakaua Avenue will be closed to traffic when the production is not shooting.

Traffic will be held up on Kalakaua Avenue while the production films the scene, then allowed through while the production reviews the tape and determines the next filming, Petersen said.

Filming will be done in three segments so the barriers can be moved farther east, freeing side streets. Each segment of filming is not expected to take longer than 90 seconds.

"The director fell in love with the Waikiki view and how gorgeous Kalakaua Avenue is, so I think the entire scene that's shot will end up in the televised episode," Petersen said.

The chase will have the cars going in the opposite direction, Ewa-bound, on Kalakaua Avenue and then a 180-degree spin -- by stunt driver Buddy Joe Hooker -- about 3:30 p.m. where Kapahulu and Monsarrat avenues meet.

"We wouldn't have allowed this if the production hadn't worked so hard to make it work," Constantinau said.


Isle-based TV show’s
star pulled from cast

"Hawaii" problems lead NBC
to let actor Michael Madsen go

Michael Madsen, set to star in the NBC police drama "Hawaii" filming on Oahu, was removed from the show yesterday -- leaving the production scrambling for a replacement and shutting down filming until Monday.

The announcement that "an actor was leaving" the show was made about 2 p.m. at the LaMariana Restaurant and Bar to about 80 crew and extras during the second day of filming the pilot. Madsen was not named nor reasons given, but sources later confirmed the information.

The decision to remove Madsen was made by NBC in Los Angeles and not by production executives in Hawaii, sources said.

Telephone calls to Madsen at his hotel were not immediately returned. Liza Anderson, Madsen's publicist in Los Angeles, had no comment, saying she had not spoken with her client or been notified by NBC.

According to sources, "issues" surfaced Wednesday night that led to the actor's departure. Problems apparently were that Madsen did not want his black hair lightened for the role and other creative differences, sources said.

Madsen's replacement will be cast in Los Angeles, where NBC executives apparently have specific actors in mind.

Madsen, known for his edgy and sometimes angry characters, was to play veteran cop Max Harrison, "one of the best cops on the island, who also is a devoted father," according to the "Hawaii" script. Madsen made his name in Quentin Tarantino's "Reservoir Dogs" and briefly appeared in "Kill Bill: Vol. 1."

Crews already had set up for filming inside the popular Keehi Lagoon restaurant, which was to be done in two shots at noon and 4 p.m.

That shot had to be postponed, as was last night's filming at a North King Street apartment building and today's shooting at a Kakaako auto body shop. Those scenes will be filmed at the end of production either April 1 or 2.

Casting directors notified 42 extras yesterday an hour before they were to report to the set for filming to stay away, though they were still paid. Thirty-six extras were scheduled to work today.

Filming will continue as scheduled on Monday for a two-car chase on Kalakaua Avenue. Madsen was to be part of that filming.


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