Native Hawaiian actors audition for role of Kamehameha

Published: Jun. 9, 2017 at 2:47 AM HST|Updated: Jun. 9, 2017 at 3:14 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Auditions for the upcoming movie "The Islands" were held at the Japanese Cultural Center on Thursday night.

It was a closed casting call where movie executives eyed Native Hawaiian actors to play the role of King Kamehameha in the upcoming film.

"I'm glad they are offering the position to Native Hawaiians, the legal heirs of actual chiefs that were rulers," Kamehameha hopeful Ekolu Kalama said.

Some 60 people were invited to audition, some even dressed up to channel their inner ali'i.

"It's a blessing, just (to be) given the opportunity to even come here or get an email back. I'm certainly blessed, I'm going to do the best that I can, and hopefully get a part in this," actor Robert Siavii Jr.

The movie industry has been recently scrutinized for casting white actors to play Hawaiian characters, a practice known as white-washing.

Most recently, Zach McGowan was cast to play Ben Kanahele, a predominant figure in the Niihau community.

In December 2016, actress Jennifer Lawrence was under fire after joking about "sacred rocks" while on a movie shoot in Hawaii.

Since then, the industry has worked to repair the image of the industry in the islands.

Movie directors say other auditions will be held this summer, and the next one is this Saturday.

Interested applicants can email

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