I have noticed a recent trend surrounding Maui and its film-worthy appeal. The island’s laid back atmosphere and unbelievable beaches has stood in as the backdrop for numerous blockbuster movies and award-winning television shows in the last couple of years. Top directors like Clint Eastwood, and actors like Matt Damon, Adam Sandler, and Nicole Kidman have all seen work on Maui this year alone. When it comes time to film paradise, it appears Hollywood may be beginning to think Maui.
Here is a list of some of the recent filmings staged on Maui.
Modern Family: The 2010 Emmy-award-winning family comedy aired a two-part season one finale on Maui at the Four Seasons resort in Wailea. If I remember to plotline correctly, the grandfather in the series was celebrating a significant birthday with a relaxing and tropical “dream” trip to our beautiful island. Upcountry’s famous lavender farm is even highlighted as a day excursion one of the family members enjoys.
Just Go With It: Staring Adam Sandler, Jennifer Anniston, and Nicole Kidman, this romantic comedy is due to hit the big screen on February 11th. Film shoots were held again in Wailea, but this time at the Grand Wailea, which neighbors the Four Seasons. Keep your eyes peeled for lobby scenes, beach scenes, and a night luau all staged on the Grand Wailea grounds. Believe it or not, my parents were actually casted as extras in this movie, as auditions were held at the resort. They tell me Adam Sandler was extremely friendly with all the actors and crew, joking between takes, and shaking everyone’s hand. Jennifer and Nicole were more reserved. Again, Maui’s setting served as a romantic and relaxing backdrop.
Amazing Race 2009 Finale: Amazing Race fans will recall that the 2009 finale pitted the last three teams against each other as they carried a roasted pig across beaches in Kihei, raced jet skis near Ma’alaea, and organized surfboards at the now-famous Maui Surfboard Fence.
Hereafter: Clint Eastwood’s latest production, starring Matt Damon, was filmed in numerous locales across the globe including London, San Francisco, Paris, and of course Maui. Lahaina’s Front Street was transformed into a crowded street market (pictured) for a scene showcasing the destructive nature of a tsunami. Front Street was selected as the perfect setting because of its narrow and straight layout and close proximity to the ocean. According to a press release given to me by Warner Brothers, cameras were even mounted on surfboards in order to get close up action shots of the tsunami from the Maui ocean. Additional filming was set at the Sheraton in Ka’anapali.
Maui Fever: This is a sore subject for many locals on Maui. The 2007 MTV “teen reality show” was supposed to mimic the teenage conflicts of relationships, drinking, and an overabundance of time and disposable income (basically Laguna Beach staged in Hawaiian). MTV argued it would be great for Maui tourism and paint a great picture of the island, but after one airing the hate mail, boycotts, and editorials began flooding in. I remember the Maui News ran an article detailing how none of the supposed “Maui kids” had actually been born on Maui, and only a few had spent a couple years on the island. Most were actors from the mainland flown in for the show. If you are going to film on Maui, make the island look beautiful and welcoming (which it absolutely is), not like a party-ridden Las Vegas on the beach where locals take advantage of visiting tourists (as many argue Maui Fever depicted).
So, for all you directors and producers out there, Maui presents a beautiful option for a backdrop in your upcoming features. With 5-star resorts, crystal clear beaches, and tropical rainforests featuring waterfalls, it’s hard to image a better tropical paradise. Did I mention we have rainbows? Humpback whales too!
[Image Source: Warner Brothers]