By Wayne Harada
Where on Oahu do you suppose “Hunger Games: Catching Fire” might be filmed this fall?
That the Lionsgate production is Island-bound for November filming is not the question. It's where. The filmmakers have been mum.
The logical Oahu locale for Quarter Quell would be Kualoa Ranch, because it's proudly and efficiently served as a Hollywood backlot for years. But don’t you think it’s widely over-exposed?
Sure, Kualoa has iconic vistas of the Koolau mountains and plenty of valley greenery. But if you remember “Lost,” the ABC TV show that ran six seasons here, you can’t forget the wild wilderness on the Windward side, since much of the verdant terrain footage was done there.
Kualoa has become a prime destination for a variety of Hollywood projects, like “Jurassic Park,” Indiana Jones’ capers, “Godzilla,” “50 First Dates” and “Battleship.”
It’s also a frequent filming site for CBS’ “Hawaii Five-0.” Very often.
While studio officials have remained silent, one of the actors who is a Maui resident already has chatted about Oahu plans, without getting specific.
Woody Harrelson — who plays Haymitch Abernathy, the ex-Hunger Games winner who is a mentor of Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) competing in District 12 — has been an unofficial source of recent chatter, but he has not identified the Oahu filming location. On a recent “CBS This Morning” appearance, he was quoted: “The part I’m not in is going to be shot in Hawaii, which happens to be where I live. It’s one of life’s ironies.”
Harrelson resides on Maui.
Hawaii would play the jungle-like humid zone also boasting ocean water, as noted for the Quarter Quell Arena in Suzanne Collins’ book, on which “Hunger Games” is based.
So if not Kualoa, where?
Kahana Valley? Nice and green, without the amenities of Kualoa. No nearby ocean.
Kalihi Valley? Also verdant and unexplored, but no water and too close to freeway traffic. Besides, the wild boar wouldn't enjoy intruders.
Kaena Point? Lots of water, isolated, but lacking a humid wilderness.
Waimanalo? Close to the ocean, with a spectacular Koolau backdrop, but sacred land; old stomping grounds of Gabby Pahinui, after all.
Manoa Valley? Too many homes. No ocean. Will the arboretum agree?
Waimea Valley? Pristine greenery. Long commute, however; and will tours take a backseat to Hollywood needs?
Makaha/Makua Valley? Access issues — one way in and out, and you know how often traffic snags occur out that-a-way.