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Trailer shows 'The River' carries touches of 'Lost'

By Mike Gordon

LAST UPDATED: 4:12 a.m. HST, Jun 13, 2011

ABC's new series "The River," which will shoot in Hawaii, has a South American jungle backdrop similar to the network's failed series "Off the Map," which also shot in the islands. But the trailer for the pilot shows off a mystery that is more like "Lost."

Creepy locations ripe with menace. Unseen monsters. Situations that seem impossible to explain.

"There is magic out there," says the show's star, Bruce Greenwood, as the trailer begins.

Indeed. While trailers only offer a peek at the larger project, they're always fun to watch, and the two-minute-long journey up "The River" — which you can see online at ABC or YouTube —is no exception.

Greenwood's character, wildlife expert and TV personality Dr. Emmet Cole, has disappeared while exploring the Amazon. The search for him is the focus of the series.

Something terrible appears to be on the loose in the dark, moody landscape envisioned by ABC and the show's creative team, which includes Steven Spielberg and Oren Peli, writer-director of the "Paranormal Activity" movies. The rescue party stumbles into it. (And yep, you're not first person to see resemblances to the smoke monster from "Lost.")

With camera work that will remind you of "The Blair Witch Project" and "Cloverfield," the trailer is filled with flying bodies, weird sounds and plenty of frightened characters.

How can you not like that?

Moviegoers will remember the 54-year-old Greenwood from the 2009 movie "Star Trek" and HBO's "John from Cincinnati" in 2007. You can also catch him in "Super 8," the new science-fiction thriller from J.J. Abrams.

(Can you recall which Hawaii native starred with Greenwood in "John from Cincinnati"? Surfer Keala Kennelly.)

Production should begin in August, with the series premiere expected in midseason. To see the trailer, go to

WHEN THE 12th annual Maui Film Festival kicks off on Wednesday, it will host some of the brightest and most beautiful of Hollywood's rising stars. Megan Fox, Olivia Wilde, Garrett Hedlund and Andrew Garfield will attend as festival honorees.

Fox will receive the festival's Iris Award on the opening night for her environmental work. Afterward the festival will screen "Na Nai‘a: Legend of the Dolphins," which Fox co-narrated. She's starred in "Transformers" as well as the indie film "Friends with Kids."

Wilde will receive the Female Shining Star Award on Thursday, and her film "Sun City Picture House" will be screened. Wilde co-produced the film about volunteers building a theater in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. A busy actress, she has roles in seven movies tentatively set for release in the next two years, including next month's "Cowboys & Aliens."

Garfield, who was recently in "The Social Network" and just finished the lead role in "The Amazing Spiderman," is the festival's Male Shining Star recipient. Hedlund is the festival's Rising Star Award recipient. He just starred in "Tron: Legacy" and has a role in "On the Road," the Jack Kerouac story of the Beat Generation.

The festival runs through Sunday with more than 50 screenings at the Wailea Resort and at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Kahului.

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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