Saturday, November 28, 2015         

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ABC to move 'The River' filming to isles

By Steven Mark


"The River," an ABC television show described as an adventure-mystery set in the Amazon jungle, is relocating production to Hawaii, network representatives said Thursday.

The pilot for the show, which stars Bruce Greenwood as a wildlife expert and TV host, was shot in Puerto Rico, but plans to move to Hawaii had been rumored in March. A network spokeswoman confirmed the move, adding that shooting will begin in August with the series premiere scheduled for midseason.

"The River" stars Greenwood as Dr. Emmet Cole, who travels the world to film a popular nature television show. He disappears in the Amazon, and his family, friends and crew set out to find him.

"The shocking truth about his disappearance is out there, somewhere, just waiting to be discovered," says a statement released by the network.

The show co-stars Joe Anderson as Cole's son, Lincoln, who has a strained relationship with his father, and Leslie Hope as Cole's wife, Tess, who persuades Lincoln to join the search. Paul Blackthorne, Eloise Mumford and Daniel Zacapa star as Cole's filmmaking crew, who are recording the search. Thomas Kretsch­mann is the group's bodyguard.

The show's executive producers are Michael Green, Oren Peli, Zack Estrin, Jason Blum and Steven Schneider.

State film officials, who are in Los Angeles at a convention where film commissions can meet with industry executives, welcomed ABC's decision, saying it was an indication of the state's track record of working well with film and television productions.

"I think that ABC, certainly with the success of ‘Lost,' and working on their other series ‘Off the Map,' has a very good sense of the depth of capability of our crew as well as the diversity of our location," said Georja Skinner, head of state's creative industries division, which oversees the Hawaii Film Office. Skinner said having a network television series shot here helps the economy beyond those people directly involved in the productions since business like restaurants, catering services and lumber and construction companies also benefit. Television shows generally budget $2 million to $2.5 million per episode, with about two-thirds of that spent locally.

Honolulu Film Commissioner Walea Constantinau said, "We were very well known to ABC in terms of what we could deliver to them," she said. Even though "Off the Map" was canceled after one season, she called it a "tremendous success" because producers could get what was needed for the show.

"With television they have to have confidence that you are able to deliver on a long-term basis continually interesting things," she said, contrasting that to the short-term needs of a film. A successful television series is expected to last five years, she said.

Constantinau said the islands should be able to deliver appropriate shots of a river, even though none of Hawaii's rivers could rank with the Amazon, the world's largest.

"We will surprise you," she said. "The magic of television will make it all work."

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