Monday, November 30, 2015         


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'The River' could make 3 for series filming in isles

By Mike Gordon


It feels like deja vu all over again. A year ago, when ABC was filming the pilot for "Off the Map" in Puerto Rico, there was talk that the medical drama would relocate to Hawaii for the series.

By last summer it had done just that.

Now there's talk of a similar move involving a pilot for ABC called "The River," which started shooting in Puerto Rico last week. No decision has been made, but a source at the network said Hawaii is one of several locations being considered if the pilot becomes a full-blown series.

"The River" was created by some of the folks behind the creepy film "Paranormal Activity": Oren Peli and Jason Blum.

The official studio description of the pilot said it involves the search for an adventure television personality who went missing in the Amazon.

"His family, friends and the ship's new crew, each with their own motivation for being there, go looking for him on their state-of-the-art research vessel," the pilot's outline continues. "During their search, they'll encounter mysteries, abnormal occurrences, adventures and thrills deep in the heart of the Amazon."

The cast includes Bruce Greenwood (2009's "Star Trek" and HBO's "John From Cincinnati"), Eloise Mumford ("Lone Star," "Crash"), Joe Anderson ("Across the Universe," "The Crazies") and Leslie Hope ("The Mentalist," "24" and an episode of "Off the Map").

ABC loves Hawaii's dense forests. It relied on them in "Lost" and uses them for "Off the Map," which turned a ravine in Whitmore Village into a remote South American town.

A midseason replacement, "Off the Map" finished shooting episodes last month, and the network has insisted ever since that it hasn't decided on the show's future.

The state hosts two network shows — "Off the Map" and "Hawaii Five-0" — but it's hosted as many as three.

If there's another network series coming, it would be news to the Hono lulu Film Office, according to film commissioner Walea Con stan ti nau. But this is pilot season, when much of the business is unpredictable, she said.

"I find it best to be patient and be ready to react," Con stan ti nau said. "Trying to anticipate will make you crazy. You are not going to know until you know."

ALTHOUGH no release date has been announced, the official trailer is now online for "Madison County," the horror film that features Hawaii actress Joanna Soto mura, a 2005 'Iolani graduate. That's Soto mura at the end of the trailer hiding from an ax-wielding lunatic who's wearing a pig's head.

The trailer is the first footage Soto mura has seen of the movie — her feature film debut — because writer/director Eric England wouldn't allow his cast to view the dailies when shooting in Arkansas last fall.

But it was better that way. One look at her acting and Soto mura would probably have toned it down, she said.

"I would have self-directed like crazy," she said. "When I was watching the trailer and I saw it all together, I just saw that the director knew what he was doing and my trusting him was a smart decision."

You can find the trailer at

Coincidentally, Sotomura's TV debut will be Wednesday on the CBS series "Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior," which airs at 9 p.m. on KGMB.

AND that's a wrap.

Mike Gordon is the Star-Advertiser's film and television writer. Reach him at 529-4803 or at

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