Hawaii Film Blog

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Our Loss is Their Gain

Miramax's upcoming war flick, "The Great Raid," depicts the WWII mission of American and Filipino soldiers to rescue 500 prisoners of war being held by the Japanese in the Philippines. The Benjamin Bratt, Joseph Fiennes, James Franco, and Connie Nielsen starrer would have been shot here in Hawaii were it not for the prohibitive expense. That's what director John Dahl told The Virginian-Pilot:

“No major film has been shot [in the Philippines] since 'The Year of Living Dangerously’ in 1980. The reason is political unrest. We considered Thailand, but it was the rainy season. We wanted Hawaii, but that would have added $10 million to the budget. To double as the Philippines, we chose Queensland, Australia.”

Considering the number of Asian people involved in the historic event, and considering that Hawaii is home to a large number of people of Asian descent, it doesn't take a great leap of the imagination to realize that many local actors would've been cast in this film--including some of the 700 local Screen Actors Guild members who had to seek work elsewhere to log the required number of work hours to keep their SAG health insurance. Plus the epic scope and war action of the film would have required the employment of lots and lots of crew members (SFX, Construction, Greens, Grips, Gaffers, Camera, Medics, Hair & Make-Up, PAs, etc.). But alas, Hawaii was just too darn expensive, and we were foiled (again!) by a cheaper locale.

"The Great Raid" isn't the only production Hawaii has recently lost to cheaper locales. The film now shares that dubious distinction with "The Longest Yard," which Adam Sandler, an avid fan of our islands, wanted to shoot here, but brought to incentive-heavy New Mexico instead; "Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and 3"; Clint Eastwood's Iwo Jima drama "Flags of Our Fathers;" Swiss Family Robinson; and two NBC pilots that went instead to New York and North Carolina, for no other reason than that both states have 15% refundable production tax credits. And those are just the lost productions we happen to know about...

>> Movie recalls WWII's ''Great Raid'' in the Philippines [Virginian-Pilot, 8/10/05]

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