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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, May 24, 2010

‘Descendants’ film crew ‘depressed’ at leaving Kauai

Paul C. Curtis
The Garden Island

LIHU'E — Put yourself for a moment in the shoes of a crew member of the Hollywood film "The Descendants."

One week you're filming at night on Kaua'i, leaving your days open for surfing, hiking, snorkeling, fishing, diving, swimming, touring one of the most beautiful places in the world.

The next week you're confined to a hospital in downtown Honolulu all day long, watching an actress in a coma waiting to die.

It's no wonder the crew members of the film directed by Alexander Payne are "depressed," Payne said during a telephone interview from O'ahu on Monday night.

"Everyone loves Kaua'i. Everybody really had a great time," said Payne, who also directed the critically acclaimed "Sideways," the 2004 effort for which he was nominated for an Oscar as best director.

"Sideways" won Payne the 2005 Oscar and Golden Globe for best screenplay.

His and the crew's Kaua'i experience was all positive, he said. "Everyone was nice as pie. It made it so easy."

Payne said the business of filming is about more than just money.

"I want it to be about more than about economic development," he said. "It's about fellowship and partnerships."

Asked about some residents in Hanalei complaining about the temporary closure of Kuhio Highway when filming sequences at Tahiti Nui, Payne said, "Sorry for the inconvenience, and I do hope they like the movie. That's all we have to give, good feeling, fellowship. Filming touches a lot of lives."

Payne also said Kaua'i's reputation in Hollywood is solid. "I'm the one who feels grateful to be able to film on Kaua'i. Infinite (are) the cool natural beauties" of the island.

"In some cases we had to earn people's respect, and that's OK and to be expected."

The film professionals from Kaua'i left positive impressions, including Art Umezu, Kaua'i film commissioner, and Angela Tillson, a locations manager.

"Angela's awesome," and "Art is a very sweet guy," said Payne.