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Hot ride makes the scene with flaming 'Five-0' stunt

By Mike Gordon

LAST UPDATED: 10:21 a.m. HST, Apr 21, 2011

Those were real flames, but the car spewing them wasn't really burning in the parking lot of Alii­olani Hale last week, thanks to the special-effects crew with "Hawaii Five-0."

It was the last day of production for the CBS show's first season and a carefully monitored event, according to the Honolulu Fire Department, which received advance notice so that when the 911 lines lit up, dispatchers could calm the public.

Even though you'd think all the camera equipment would be a dead giveaway, that last detail is important, said Capt. Terry Seelig, HFD spokes­man. Earlier this year there was a communication breakdown when "Five-0" blew up a car at the wharf in Kewalo Basin and the Fire Department sent an engine racing to the scene.

In Honolulu, large fires for TV shows or Hollywood movies require off-duty firefighters to stand by, typically with one of the department's extra engines just in case. That hasn't happened this year on "Five-0," but there have been scenes in which firefighters and their equipment were used in the background, Seelig said.

The car didn't get that charred look on the downtown set. It was blown up the previous weekend at Sandy Beach.

NO, YOU DIDN'T miss the "Hawaii Five-0" debut last week for Joji Yoshida, the Hono­lulu actor who was so excited about his speaking part. His entire presence in the show — aside from lying dead on a cliff and a mug shot on the crime team's magic computer — was cut from the episode.

Yoshida had high hopes before the episode aired, noting it would help his career, but it happens all the time. In fact, when the "Five-0" team gave the local acting community a lengthy orientation in February, the actors were told being cut wasn't necessarily a judgment on their talent.

"Usually if I have to cut something out, it's for the story, and people shouldn't take it personally," said Peter Lenkov, one of the show's executive producers and a panelist at the event. "It's not based on the performance. It's based on the storytelling."

Alex O'Loughlin, who leads the ensemble cast as Steve McGarrett, put it more colorfully: "In the business it's called ‘killing your darlings.'"


CHUCK MITSUI'S film "One Kine Day" is becoming a popular commodity on the film festival circuit, and even though the filmmaker had hoped for a warm reception, he said he's still a bit surprised at how much audiences love his debut.

The film screened to a pair of sold-out theaters last month at the Asian American Film Festival in San Francisco and will be shown May 1 at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival in the 600-seat Directors Guild of America Theater.

"One Kine Day" offers a view of Hawaii rarely seen by tourists and focuses on an array of earthy and authentic Windward Oahu characters easily recognizable to kamaaina. After its San Francisco screenings, viewers told Mitsui they loved the characters even though they often couldn't understand their pidgin English — something he was so concerned about he initially considered using subtitles.

"I'm really excited about the response," Mitsui said. "It's been really favorable and sort of unexpected. People are embracing it and not having the problems I thought they would have."

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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