“The Descendants” – Starring George Clooney filmed in beautiful Kauai & Hawaii locations

Kipu Kai Photo by Wally G

Who will win?

The Descendants, has been nominated for 5 Oscars for the 2012 Academy Awards which will take place tonight February 26th at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood:
1. Best Picture
2. Best Director Alexander Payne
3. Best Actor George Clooney
4. Best Adapted Screenplay Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash
5. Best Film Editing

“The Descendants” is the latest of Hollywood’s ongoing love affair with Kauai which started back in the 1950’s with the filming of the movie South Pacific. The Descendants, released towards the end of 2011, wowed audiences with its tale of a Hawaiian lawyer and land baron on a journey to find and confront his wife’s secret lover. “The Descendants” cast includes actors George Clooney, Robert Foster, and a cameo role by local Kauai extreme surfer, Laird Hamilton, as well as actresses Shailene Woodley, Amara Miller and Judy Greer. Director Alexander Payne who also co-wrote the screenplay did a fantastic job capturing the essence of Hawaii. The Descendants’ excellent Hawaiian music soundtrack includes songs from such well-known artists as Ray Kane, Sonny Chillingworth, Gabby Pahinui, and Jeff Peterson.

Matt King, played by George Clooney, finds out about his wife’s affair and her plans to divorce him after a tragic boating accident puts her in a coma. King takes his daughters and their friend, Sid (actor Nick Krause), along for the ride as he travels from Oahu to Kauai.

Hanalei Bay Panoramic The DescendantsNominated in 5 categories, Alexander Payne’s The Descendants scored two of the big ones at the 2012 Golden Globe Awards: the award for best drama, and actor George Clooney earned the award for best actor in the drama category. With the Academy Awards nominations and Oscars not far off, The Descendants is expected to make a strong showing there as well. The movie boasts such stunning tropical scenery leaving many wondering where “The Descendants” was filmed. Its clear the movie is set in Hawaii, but which island was “The Descendants” filmed on?

Kauai Filming of The DesendantsThe Descendants was filmed on Kauai and Oahu – the primary filming locations being Nuuanu on Oahu and various locations on Kauai, including the Lihue Airport, the remote Kipu Kai, local favorite Tahiti Nui (Beau Bridges hangout) in Hanalei (local residents filled the bar as Hollywood extras) as well as numerous other beautiful locales dotted with sandy beaches and tall, swaying palm trees. During filming on Kauai, the cast and crew stayed at the luxurious St. Regis Princeville Resort in Princeville which offers spectacular views of Hanalei Bay.

The film is based on the novel by local author Kaui Hart Hemming who makes cameo appearance as Matt King’s secretary, delivering her line, “Matt, your cousins are here.” Hemming’s 6 year old daughter also landed a role as an extra playing on Hanalei Beach scoring her some bragging rights as well as $100 payday!

In The Descendents movie plot, King is the descendant of a Hawaiian princess and a white banker, called a haole by native islanders. King and his cousins are the stewards of an impressive tract of land on Kauai(depicted in the scene overlooking Kipu Kai filmed from Haupu Ridge) that has been in the family for many generations. This isolated Kipu area is a privately owned ranch and Kipu Kai beach is only accessible by boat.King squabbles with his cousins, including Hugh (actor Beau Bridges), Ralph (actor Matt Corboy), and Hal (actor Matt Esecson) about the fate of the land. King and his cousins debate whether they should continue to protect the land, keeping it in its unspoiled state, or sell it to real estate developers. King’s family consists of his wife, Elizabeth (actress Patricia Hastie), and two daughters, Scottie (actress Amara Miller) and Alexandra (actress Shailene Woodley).

In addition to The Descendants, 3 other movies released in 2011 featured scenes shot on Kauai: “Pirates of the Caribbean – On Stranger Tides” starring Johnny Depp, “‘Just Go With It” starring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston and most inspiring “Soul Surfer” about one of Kauai’s surfing heroes, Bethany Hamilton.

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