By Léo Azambuja
It’s a comeback of Jurassic proportions.
After wrapping up shooting on O‘ahu, film crews are now transitioning to Kaua‘i to continue shooting Jurassic World, the fourth movie of the Jurassic Park franchise.
“Whether they shoot here for a month or two weeks or three weeks, just to be part of it, it brings so much power as a film location and also film tourism,” Kaua‘i Film Commissioner Art Umezu said.
Jurassic World is scheduled to hit theaters in June 2015. Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard will star in the movie directed by Colin Trevorrow.
The original Jurassic Park — directed by Steven Spielberg — was shot partly on Kaua‘i, with the last day of shooting on the day Hurricane ‘Iniki made landfall, Sept. 11, 1992. Jurassic Park was released in the summer of 1993, and became a blockbuster.
Spielberg would return to Kaua‘i in 1996 to direct the second movie, Lost World, released in 1997.
The third movie, Jurassic Park III, was also partly shot on Kaua‘i. But in this last installment, Spielberg worked as an executive producer and handled the director’s seat to Joe Johnston.
Jurassic World will pick up where the first Jurassic Park movie left 22 years ago, according to Umezu. But there will be a whole new cast; this is the first time Sam Neill won’t star in a Jurassic Park movie. And apparently, there will be water dinosaurs for the first time.
Umezu said Jurassic World is one of the biggest buzzes in Hollywood right now.
The movie production was shut down in April 2013 for the script to be reworked. Umezu said that two months later, the movie’s location manager approached him at his booth at a location expo in Los Angeles, Calif., and told him she would do her best to bring the crews to Kaua‘i.
“She has family here on Kaua‘i, in Kekaha,” Umezu said of the location manager. “For me, it’s an incredible feeling to have somebody that has some connection with Kaua‘i.”
Unofficial reports said a new script was approved in September 2013, and last January, producers officially announced the movie was in the works, according to Umezu.
In March, Ebb Tide Productions held a casting call on Kaua‘i, which attracted more than 1,900 people trying to land one of the approximately 100 spots in the movie.
Umezu said he knows there will be at least two locations where the movie will be shot on Kaua‘i. One of those locations is on private property, and the other may be a county facility, he said.
When June comes around, the film crews will be gone from Kaua‘i.
“They need to be out of here by June, because they start production in Louisiana,” Umezu said.