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'You May Not Kiss the Bride' will open Sept. 2 at Pearlridge

By Mike Gordon

LAST UPDATED: 2:25 p.m. HST, Aug 5, 2011

Rann Watumull and the rest of the folks at Hawaii Film Partners are ecstatic because they finally have a release date for their locally made feature film "You May Not Kiss the Bride": Sept. 2 at Consolidated's Pearlridge 16.

The romantic comedy, which began filming here in early 2009, will then head overseas in distribution deals that will screen it in 200 Russian theaters as well as in Romania, Hungary, Canada and Latin America, said executive producer Watumull, a co-founder of the Hawaii-based film and television company.

It was a long time coming and hard work, too.

"It's tough being an independent outfit," Watumull said. "We are not a studio, and this is not an artsy film. We are a mainstream, wacky, romantic, adventure comedy that is going head to head with the big studios."

The film's international release has the potential to give serious exposure to several Hawaii musicians in the all-local soundtrack. Hawaii Film Partners couldn't afford expensive licensing fees for mainstream musicians and instead went for home-grown tunes, Watumull said.

Ben Vegas and Maila Gibson, Tiffany Thurston, Imua Garza, Afatia Thompson and Willie K all have music in the film. Garza's "Smile" is the film's title song, but with a new approach that exchanged ukulele for saxophones in order to create a big-band feel, Watumull said.

"You May Not Kiss the Bride" stars actor-comedian Rob Schneider of "Deuce Bigalow," "The Hot Chick" and "The Animal," as well as Hawaii's Tia Carrere, the actress-turned-singer who won a Grammy Award earlier this year.

It's the story of a pet photographer — played by Dave Annable of ABC's "Brothers & Sisters" — who accidentally maims a cat belonging to the wife of a Croatian mobster. He ends up marrying the mobster's daughter, who is played by "American Idol" runner-up Katharine McPhee.

The film was directed by Rob Hedden, who directed "The Condemned" in 2007 and, years ago, "Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan."

Watumull would like to screen the film in additional theaters closer to home and said Hawaii Film Partners recently created a Facebook page (www.facebook.com/YouMayNotKissTheBride) to collect public support.

"We are mounting a grass-roots effort to show there is an audience for this movie, and if we can, Consolidated will let us have another theater," he said.

The film was shot almost entirely in Hawaii, from the Paul Mitchell Estate in Lanikai to Dillingham Airfield on the North Shore. Crews shot a cliffhanger scene at Halona Blowhole and found the only section of King Street where there aren't any palm trees — between River Street and Nuuanu Avenue.

Annable and veteran Hollywood heavy Vinnie Jones even take a walk in Chinatown, Watumull said.

"If you adjust the camera angles, you see buildings," he said. "You have nice brick buildings, and with a few ‘snow route' signs and some taxicabs, people will think it's Chicago."

Nothing is permanent in the world of television stage sets, even when they're functional. Case in point: the headquarters set of "Hawaii Five-0," which was built in an unused storage area of the downtown post office. It's gone.

What was once a suite of functional offices created as a backdrop for the show's characters — complete with dark wood trim, wanted posters and character-inspired desk decorations — is once again an empty space.

"There's not a sign that they were ever there," said Duke Gonzales, spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service in Hawaii.

There are no discussions to rebuild the set, he said. CBS would only say that the HQ set, as it's known, "is under transition."

And that's a wrap. …



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

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