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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, March 28, 2003

North Shore cop show awaits its big TV break

By Wayne Harada
Advertiser Entertainment Writer

"The Break" was filming Wednesday in Waikiki, however, most of the show — a Fox network series pilot about a surfer cop — is set on the North Shore.

Richard Ambo • The Honolulu Advertiser

"The Break," the Fox TV pilot winding up filming on O'ahu today, is awaiting a 13-show pick-up, word of which could come within the next month.

"It'll happen," said an optimistic John Stockwell, series creator, writer and director and director of the popular Universal film feature "Blue Crush," shot here last year. "We've had the waves, we've got the people, we've got a good show."

If it happens, "The Break" would give Hawai'i its first network series since 1998's short-lived "Fantasy Island" on ABC. "Baywatch Hawai'i," which filmed two seasons here in 1999-2000, was a syndicated series.

"Fox is doing something unusual," said Stockwell. "We're hoping for an early pick-up. By April 5 I have to put together a short presentation reel and deliver my final cut later in the month." (At one time, there was a specific "pick-up season," when networks considered new productions and put them in the line-ups. This schedule is now much more fluid and pick-ups happen more rapidly and at any time.)

For the past 15 days, Imagine Entertainment and 20th Century Fox TV have been shooting mostly exterior scenes for the crime-in-Hawai'i show with its accompanying family storyline. Spending here is expected to top $5 million. While most of the footage has been on the North Shore, including the surf at Pipeline and Pupukea, cameras and crews were townside this week, on Kalaka'ua Avenue, at Kapi'olani Park, and at an apartment complex on the Ala Wai opposite the Hawai'i Convention Center.

"The Break" is about a surfing police detective named Dane Patterson, who joins a local Crime Reduction Unit after being away from Hawai'i for 17 years. He is a single parent who has come home accompanied by his 13-year-old son and who has to confront hoodlums in paradise while nurturing a relationship with the boy.

Dylan Bruno, 30, who plays the central role, said the series suits his lifestyle. "I surf, I'm physical," he said. "But my favorite part is the struggle to raise a son (played by local boy Chas Chidester)." Of teaming up with Stockwell, Bruno said: "John and I understand and respect each other; we're on the same page. He's very free-form and things unfold organically. He keeps himself open, allowing freedom in the acting."

Bruno was jolted when he first took to Island waves. "It scared the pants off me," he said. "They told me the waves at Sunset were 12 to 15 feet, but it must be 12 to 15 Hawaiian — to one who lives in L.A., it was more like 12 to 25."

Bruno said he is more than willing to move to the Islands if the series is a go. Stockwell, who's been renting on the North Shore, is eager to buy a place here. But, he said with a groan, "The sticker price is shocking."

Kala Alexander, 34, who plays a member of the crime reduction unit, said Stockwell wrote the part for him. "I was in 'Blue Crush,' " said the tattooed surfer of Hawaiian, Filipino, Irish, German and Scottish ancestry. "John was fighting for me, convincing the networks that I was an actor who could play the part."

"We wanted to convey the real Hawai'i," said Stockwell.

"A series means millions of dollars into our economy, steady employment for over 100 film-industry workers and invaluable exposure for us," said Walea Constintanau, who runs the city and county film office. "It would bring Hawai'i into the living rooms of America week after week."