by Albert Rodriguez -
SGN A&E Writer
When Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates opened in theaters last weekend (see review in this week's SGN), it was one among a long list of movies and TV series filmed on the beautiful island of Oahu, Hawaii.
The new comedy, starring Zac Efron, Adam Devine, Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza, was filmed last summer at the vacation hotspot with many of the scenes shot at the Turtle Bay Resort, situated on the North Shore. Based on real events, Efron and Devine play siblings who have a knack for ruining family events and as a result are asked to bring dates to their sister's upcoming wedding. When the brothers place an ad for hot dates, what they get instead are hot messes, in the form of Kendrick and Plaza.
Specifically at Turtle Bay, scenes were filmed in the resort lobby, port cochere and its guest suites and villas. Additionally, the movie features the hotel's oceanfront, pool area, Kawela Bay and miles of sandy beach. Devine embarks on an on-site helicopter tour from the resort, where he enjoys a stunning aerial tour of Oahu. Efron and Devine are also filmed while shark diving with local expert Ocean Ramsey.
All of the actors stayed at Turtle Bay Resort, either in rooms or condos. Outside of filming, the actors spent time working out at the luxury hotel's Nalu Kinetic Spa's Fitness Center, which features panoramic ocean views and the latest cardiovascular equipment and fitness classes. The cast also walked the beach and hung out at Surfer, The Bar, a beloved watering hole inside the hotel. Efron also took private TRX lessons outdoors. I'm told the actors were extremely hospitable and polite, and some even took photos with staff (i.e. Efron with the entire housekeeping team). For more on the hotel, go to turtlebayresort.com.
A half hour from Turtle Bay is Kualoa Ranch, a 4,000-acre private nature reserve, working cattle ranch and tourist attraction that has been used for lots of film and TV projects, including Jurassic Park, Jurassic World, 'Lost,' Pearl Harbor, Godzilla, A Very Brady Sequel, The Karate Kid 2 and 'Hawaii Five-O.' Most recently, Kong: Skull Island, starring Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson and John Goodman, was filmed at Kualoa Ranch; in fact, there was 'action on the set' when I visited the attraction last November, so portions of the lush park were closed off. I highly recommend an excursion to Kualoa Ranch if vacationing on Oahu, whether you drive there yourself (about an hour from Waikiki), or go as part of a packaged tour. It's a great place to visit for film and TV buffs, or anyone who loves natural, scenic surroundings. There are several tours to choose from, but the 'Movie Site and Ranch Tour' ($45 adult, $35 children) is perfect for those wanting to recognize scenes from their favorite 'Lost' episodes or Godzilla. Go to kualoa.com for further information, or to make tour reservations.
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates isn't the only movie shot at Turtle Bay. The 2008 rom-com Forgetting Sarah Marshall was also filmed on the property and included scenery from nearby La'ie Point.
A year ago, another romantic comedy, Aloha, opened in theaters with a star-studded cast, including Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Bill Murray and John Krasinski. It was filmed throughout the island, including prominent scenes of Hickam Air Force Base.
In 2011, The Descendants put Oahu in the spotlight because aside from standout performances by George Clooney and Shailene Woodley, the Oscar-nominated drama included great footage of the island, such as scenery from the Nu'uanu neighborhood, Honolulu Elks Lodge No. 616 and Queen's Medical Center. The cast and crew stayed at the posh Kahala Hotel and Resort (kahalaresort.com), featured earlier this year in an LGBT tourism promotion that showed footage of a real-life wedding of a same-sex military couple.
One of my personal favorite TV comedies is 'The Brady Brunch' and it sparked my initial interest in Hawaii when the eight-member clan, plus family housekeeper Alice, flew to Oahu for the opening episodes of season four, aptly titled 'Hawaii Bound.' The Sheraton Waikiki Hotel (sheraton-waikiki.com) is where the Bradys stayed at during Mike's business trip, and it's rumored the actual cast stayed there as well. Waikiki Beach, where Greg wipes out surfing, Diamond Head and various lookout points on the island are included in the two episodes.
Although few people have probably seen it, the Heather Locklear-starring TV movie Flirting with Forty was partially filmed on Oahu, including scenes at The Royal Hawaiian (royal-hawaiian.com) and Waikiki Beach. The Lifetime chick flick revolves around a 40 year-old divorced mother of two who vacations alone in Hawaii and falls for a young surfing instructor, and thus returns to the island afterwards to spend more time with him.
Punch-Drunk Love, 50 First Dates, Blue Hawaii, Blue Crush, The Big Bounce and the classic From Here to Eternity are other films that were shot on Oahu.
KOS Tours takes visitors on excursions to see many of the film and TV location sites around the island aboard hummers. The sites include The Descendants, Blue Hawaii, George of the Jungle, Big Jim McLain, Pirates of the Caribbean, 'Magnum P.I.,' Jurassic World, 50 First Dates, Godzilla, Along Came Polly, Karate Kid 2, Forgetting Sarah Marshall and The Big Bounce. Go to hummerstourshawaii.com for more details.
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