Jolie film decides against Hawaii base, moving down under - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Jolie film decides against Hawaii base, likely moving to Australia

Angelina Jolie Angelina Jolie
Louis Zamperini Louis Zamperini
Waikiki Marriott Resort and Spa Waikiki Marriott Resort and Spa
David Farmer David Farmer
Leon Sheen Leon Sheen
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The feature film "Unbroken," which opened a small production office in Waikiki a few weeks ago, has decided against shooting the movie in Hawaii, and most likely will move its production base to Australia, sources told Hawaii News Now Friday.

World-famous actress Angelina Jolie will direct the film, based on the true story of Louis Zamperini, a U.S. Olympic distance runner and a bombardier flying out of Hawaii during World War II.  He was shot down in the Pacific, survived on a raft for a month and a half before being taken prisoner and tortured by the Japanese for more than two years. Zamperini later became a motivational speaker and at age 96, still lives in California. 

Jolie visited Hawaii last month to scout locations for the movie – visiting public parks and military installations. The film opened a small production office at the Waikiki Marriott Resort and Spa three weeks ago, sources said. 

But sources said that office closed Friday afternoon, and most of the movie will now be shot in Australia, instead of Hawaii.  It is not clear why the film won't be based in the islands. 

"It is disappointing that a film of that credibility and that magnitude is at least drawing back from its full involvement with Hawaii. But we'll hope that they still will be able to salvage some work for our people," David Farmer, the incoming local president of the Screen Actors Guild, which represents more than 900 unionized actors in Hawaii. 

Farmer and other movie industry insiders are still hoping Jolie decides to use Hawaii to film so-called "second unit" work -- secondary scenes like wide or scenic shots without the principal actors. 

But there are other major movie and TV projects in the islands, such as  Hawaii Five-O, which just began shooting its fourth season. 

"Just hearing things like that coming to Hawaii, I guess with the new tax break, or things like that are really going to benefit a lot of filmmakers and, well, hopefully give us a lot more work," said Leon Sheen, a UH Manoa senior majoring in travel industry management and minoring in theater. 

He was one of hundreds of extras who ran down Lewers Street on film when the movie Godzilla filmed in Waikiki last month.

On July 1, Hawaii's tax credit for large TV and movie projects increased by five percent. The state will now reimburse producers 20 percent of their costs on Oahu and 25 percent on neighbor islands.  

"We have a thriving film industry here. It's not Hollywood, but we're doing pretty well for a regional office and a regional industry," Farmer said.     

This fall, a romantic comedy feature film starring Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone called "Deep Tiki" is set to film in Hawaii for up to four months, from September to December, sources said. Directed and written by Cameron Crowe, the film tells the story of a military contractor on top-secret military mission in Hawaii who teams up with an Air Force pilot to sabotage the project. 

Another major feature film called "Big Eyes," directed by Tim Burton will film in Hawaii for about a week in September.  A source said that film is expected to hire local actors as extras and in larger speaking roles.  Hawaii will play a prominent role in the story, a source said.


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