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Good book's title restored for Bethany Hamilton movie

By Wayne Harada


With its inspirational themes juggling both devastation and determination, the island-filmed "Soul Surfer" has been riding a promotional wave leading up to its April 8 premiere. The biopic of Kauai surfer Bethany Hamilton, who lost an arm to a shark but reclaimed her life on a surfboard, previews at 7 p.m. April 1 as part of the Hawaii International Film Festival's Spring Showcase.

In a recent screening before religious leaders, Sony tweaked a scene where the Tom Hamilton character (Bethany's dad, played by Dennis Quaid) totes a Bible, but the words "Holy Bible" were digitally removed. Hamilton alleged that producer David Zelon doctored the scene to dodge a tsunami of friction to target a wider audience. In a subsequent screening, Hamilton told the Hollywood Reporter the omission issue was resolved. "I could see the words bright and clear; I looked at my wife and whispered, 'Thank you God, they put it back,'" he said. …

Audiences have trepidation about loss-of-limb flicks. Last year's "127 Hours," in which James Franco (as mountain climber Aron Ralston) chopped off his arm to save his life, was unsettling despite its real-life roots, so this apprehension parallels Bethany's saga — with a shark element. …

SIGHT 'EMS: "Cougar Town" star Courteney Cox and daughter Coco found beach time during filming of her Golden Globe-nominated ABC series. Co-star Brian Van Holt also managed to a grab a surfboard and head for the water. …

Speaking of boards, two-time American Olympic medalist Shaun White traded his snowboard and skateboard for a surfboard and kept fans happy on the Big Island. …

Cowan and Faith Wong, owners of On On at McCully, marked their 50th wedding anniversary last Sunday at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel's Surf Lanai. The charming invitation showed the bride at 18 and groom at 22, so at the luncheon, Ron Lee told Cowan, "You still look the same." Must be due to the TLC given the cake noodle and honey walnut shrimp they serve daily. …

WHEE, THE PEOPLE: That hastily scheduled Jake Shimabukuro benefit concert at Waikiki Beach Walk after last Sunday's Honolulu Festival parade through Waikiki raised $17,000 for relief efforts for Japan. Shimabukuro tapped Manoa DNA (Lloyd, Nick and Alex Kawakami) and Dai Hirai, and the event bonded local folks with visiting Japanese, providing comfort and aloha for those unable to immediately return home to beloved family and friends. "There was a sense of love and aloha in the air though many tears had fallen. … everyonehad a shoulder to cry on and a hand to hold," Shimabukuro said.

"I couldn't help but be impressed by the strength and selflessness displayed by the Japanese visitors in the audience," said Lloyd Kawakami."I was told over and over again, 'Thank you for helping Japan' … it wasn't'me' or 'us' … it was always 'Japan.' Pretty amazing when you think of the awful devastation and personal tragedy over there." …

Kumu hula Iwalani Tseu was visiting daughter Aureana in Japan and told friends in an e-mail: "It's pretty sad here; no water, food, toilet paper … and gas is high-priced."Iwalani was opening a new cultural school in Nagano when the devastation hit, but anticipated a flight home last week. …

CURTAIN CALLS: Manoa Valley Theatre's "Avenue Q" is a runaway hit. It's every bit as good as the Broadway original at a fraction of the cost. But tickets are nearly gone. …

"Brigadoon," the Lerner & Loewe musical that gave the world the tune "Almost Like Being in Love," opens Friday for a run through April 10 at the Bright Theatre at Castle High School. Karen Meyer is directing and discovering next-generation entertainers in the acting pool like Nicole Enos, as Fiona, and Gabe Wright, as Tommy. Nicole is the daughterof Johnson Enos, an entertainer-composer who's an alumnus of Castle and worked there with Ron Bright; Gabe is the grandnephew of veteran isle entertainers Sterling Mossman and Doug Mossman.

Director Meyer says "Brigadoon" will have the expected Castle stamp: "gorgeous sets, elaborate costumes, live music and big dance numbers." Tickets: 233-5626, www.showTix4U.com. …

Wayne Harada is a veteran entertainment columnist; reach him at 266-0926 or wayneharada@gmail.com; read his Show and Tell Hawaii blog at www.staradvertiser.com.

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