Coming to a theater near you
Story by Jon Letman
(CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT) HTA; PORTER HOVEY; JOHN GRIFFITHS
From Blue Hawaii and South Pacific to Raiders of the Lost Ark and Jurassic Park,
the island of Kaua‘i has literally “been there” and done that. For the past five million
years, Kaua‘i has been pummeled by nature, shaped and worn into an infectiously
beautiful island that has come to attract some of the world’s biggest filmmakers from
Hollywood and beyond.
They’ve used Kaua‘i as the setting for Gilligan’s Island, Fantasy Island, Voodoo
Island and just about any other tropical island you might imagine. And, why not?
Kaua‘i has more natural beauty per square inch than you’ll likely find anywhere else
in the Pacific. Expansive golden sand beaches? Check. Thick tropical rainforests
dripping with foliage? Check. Jaw-dropping cliffs and irresistibly blue seas with
seasonal big surf? You get the picture.
Whether you want to create the illusion you’re in Vietnam, Peru, West Africa,
the arid Australian bush or even the biologically rich but besieged moon Pandora
in James Cameron’s Avatar, Kaua‘i has a landscape that fits the bill. Ever since the
1933 film White Heat, and especially after MGM’s Pagan Love Song (1950), making
movies on Kaua‘i has become big business for the little island, contributing to the
economy with revenue generated from filming permits, vehicle and equipment
rentals, accommodations and incidental spending, hiring local residents, not to
mention the longer-term residual benefits of being associated with a major motion
Ask any local resident on Kaua‘i how visitors respond when they learn that’s the
beach where Tattoo shouted “Ze plane! Ze plane!” or those are the giant trees from
Jurassic Park, and they’ll tell you how a Hollywood blockbuster has a way of weaving
itself into the contemporary fabric of the place where it was shot. Even though it’s
Scene on Kaua‘i
From Vietnam to West Africa,
Kaua‘i’s diverse beauty and
landscape is the setting
Hollywood movies are made of.