Hawaii Film Blog

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Princess Kaiulani Found

Writer-director Marc Forby, who's in pre-production for his $7 million indie feature biopic on Princess Kaiulani, has found two actresses to play the princess: Punahou student Cheyenne Kanani Pohuehue, who will play her at age 12, and Kamehameha student Soriah Manahea, who will play her at 17.

At 17, Princess Kaiulani was studying in England when the Hawaiian kingdom was overthrown by sugar and pineapple industry robber barons, the decendants of white Protestant imperialists. This prompted her to sail from England to Washington, D.C. to plead with President Grover Cleveland. She became the toast of Washington and convinced Cleveland to help preserve the Hawaiian kingdom. Despite his efforts, corporate interests propelled President William McKinley to approve annexation five years later in 1898. Princess Kaiulani, the last heir to the Hawaiian throne, died the following year at age 23.

Forby said, "I think she's been portrayed too much as a wall flower in recent biographies. If you read her letters at the state archives, which are available to everyone in the public, you'll find a very strong willed woman." He hopes to start filming in Hawaii sometime next year.

>> Film Depicts Life of Princess Kaiulani [KGMB9 News, 11/15/05]

Desperately Seeking Kaiulani
Hawaii vs. Hawaiian
Culture Clash

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