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Carrere and Hu land roles in new TV shows

By Mike Gordon

LAST UPDATED: 10:18 a.m. HST, Apr 26, 2011

If you're a fan of Tia Carrere and Kelly Hu — and who isn't? — you'll love the TV action the two Hawaii-born actresses are involved in.

Carrere has a guest role in the ABC series "The Hot Zone," which premieres June 21. Hu is starring opposite Don Johnson in a pilot being shot for NBC called "A Mann's World."

"The Hot Zone" is set in a military hospital in Af­ghani­stan in 2006. ABC describes the 13-episode series as a "highly charged" tale of doctors and nurses who must "navigate their way through the relentless life-and-death battles on the operating table."

The 44-year-old Carrere shows up in the third episode as a photographer named Jessica.

The series is being shot on a 185,000-square-foot set in Toronto. The cast is led by Elias Koteas, who was in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," and Michelle Borth, whom you saw some of in "Hawaii Five-0" and a whole lot more of in "Tell Me You Love Me."

In "A Mann's World" the 43-year-old Hu, who has a recurring guest part on "Five-0," stars as Johnson's ex-wife, Lei. According to IMDB, the series follows Johnson's character, a celebrity hairstylist in L.A. (Sounds a bit like the 1975 Warren Beatty film "Shampoo.")

NBC won't say anything about "A Mann's World" until it announces its fall lineup in May.

ASPIRING ACTRESS and former Kailua resident Stefanie Estes has a breakout role in the new indie film "When Harry Tries to Marry," which opened in New York this weekend.

She's hoping for a Hawaii screening, and you can help make that happen.

A "Demand it!" link on the movie website's release schedule — — allows you to tell the film's distributors that you want it.

Estes plays Theresa, whose friend Harry believes he wants a traditional arranged marriage to a young woman from India. As Harry's wedding nears, he sees something more in Theresa than just friendship.

"It's a romantic comedy but it's from a man's perspective," she said by phone from New York City. "Harry is a traditional Indian guy who has to chose between the traditions that he's sort of always thought would blend themselves into a happy and fulfilled life."

"When Harry Tries to Marry" is the biggest proj­ect the 26-year-old Estes has been involved in since graduating from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts in 2006. <t$>

"It's so hard to get films distributed," she said. "The other films I have done haven't been seen by other people even though I filmed some four years ago."

THE MAUI FILM Festival picked up a heavyweight sponsor: Relativity Media, whose chief executive officer, Ryan Kavanaugh, is now a part-time Maui resident.

The amount was not disclosed, but the West Hollywood production and investment company has been involved in billions of dollars in film financing. It has also lobbied state lawmakers in recent months to expand film production tax credits in Hawaii.

Festival co-founder Barry Rivers said Relativity's involvement, as well as Kavanaugh's personal interest, underscores his event's reputation. "It's nice to feel that a company like Relativity wants to be involved," Rivers said. "I think Ryan is genuinely trying to do something meaningful for the state and Maui. We are thrilled to have him on board."

The film festival runs June 15-19.

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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