Film on Kaua’iKaua‘i

Although Hollywood FILMMAKERS have been MAKING MOVIES ON KAUA‘I for more than 75 years, recent big-budget films with A-list stars continue to catapult Hawai‘i into the spotlight. Recently, “PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES,” starring Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz, was filmed here, as was “THE DESCENDANTS,” starring George Clooney, which earned an Oscar.

The family favorite “SOUL SURFER,” starring AnnaSophia Robb, Dennis Quaid, Helen Hunt and Carrie Underwood, showcases Kaua‘i and tells the story of beloved island surfer Bethany Hamilton, while in the romantic comedy “JUST GO WITH IT,” featuring an all-star cast that includes Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Nicole Kidman, Brooklyn Decker and Dave Matthews, Kaua‘i doubles as the neighbor island of Maui.

Hollywood has been using Kaua‘i as a back lot for feature movies since 1933, when the film “WHITE HEAT,” directed by Lois Weber, shot on the island. Since then, blockbuster movies like “JURASSIC PARK,” “TROPIC THUNDER,” “RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK,” “SOUTH PACIFIC” and “BLUE HAWAII” have filmed here, along with scores of documentaries and surf films.

The draw is 552 square miles of uninterrupted beauty parceled out in landscapes that vary widely from one short distance to another, which allows producers the imagery, diversity and red-dust haze needed to transform the island into the backdrops that shape their stories.

In Dustin Hoffman’s “OUTBREAK,” it mimics Zaire. Danny Glover’s “FLIGHT OF THE INTRUDER” finds Kaua‘i doubling for both Vietnam and the Philippines. In “JURASSIC PARK,” the island is meant to mirror an island in Costa Rica, and in “RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK,” a South American jungle. Kaua‘i even played a role in the sci-fi blockbuster “AVATAR.”

Island residents often answer casting calls. “Pirates” attracted 1,000 hopefuls, while 200 extras were hired for “The Descendants.”

Some local tour companies have found a niche matching movies to their Kaua‘i locations. One such company is HAWAI‘I MOVIE TOURS, which goes “on location” to offer visitors the nature version of a Hollywood tour with guides providing a running commentary on the stories behind the productions.

Hawai’i Movie Tours (800) 831-5541