Written by Tom Deehan on Jun 9, 2015. Posted in Production News

Jurassic World follows franchise roots filming dinosaur adventure in Hawaii

Jurassic World continues the dinosaur adventure saga that began with Jurassic Park back in 1993, and is the third sequel in the franchise. Like the first film, the new movie shot its location work in Hawaii, but the new story pits its human heroes against a new, genetically-enhanced dinosaur.

Puerto Rico and Costa Rica were both considered as filming locations before the production team chose to return to Hawaii.

“Hawaii had what we wanted for locations – it has a good crew base and equipment, and was easier to travel to,” explains Supervising Location Manager Laura Sode-Matteson: “Also, the threat of hurricanes and tropical storms seemed less forbidding.”

Producers shooting in Hawaii can access filming incentive support of up to 25% and location filming is specifically incentivised for the smaller islands around Oahu. Payments have a per- production cap of USD 15 million.

Jurassic World filmed mainly on Oahu and Kauai in the north of the Hawaiian archipelago. The team built exterior sets in jungle locales that suited the needs of the story.

Hawaii had what we wanted for locations – it has a good crew base and equipment, and was easier to travel to.

Laura Sode-Matteson, Supervising Location Manager

“One of the biggest challenges of working in a jungle is keeping it lush and not trampled,” notes Walea Constantinau, commissioner at the Honolulu Film Office: “The producers hired seasoned local crew very familiar with how to maintain the locations, which helped keep the look of the film consistent and on schedule.”

Weather was the biggest challenge, given that the Hawaii leg of the shoot was entirely on location.

“If it rains, it gets really muddy,” Sode-Matteson comments: “We had to build roads to some of our locations. Most of the ‘jungle’ locations only had dirt and gravels road, which needed constant reinforcement.

“We didn’t have much in the way of cover sets but the gods were with us and we had fantastic weather for most of it. We went to great pains to make sure we left the locations in the same or better condition than we found them.”

The team was ably supported by multiple Hawaiian agencies, including the Honolulu Film Office, the Kauai Film Commission and the State of Hawaii Film Office.

Hawaii has had a high-profile few years, with the combination of filming incentives, skilled crew base and easy access helping boost its appeal as an exotic, jungle filming location.

Recent productions have included the new Godzilla, Battleship and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, while the rebooted TV series Hawaii Five-0 has become a long-term resident.

“Hawaii is a very film-friendly state,” Sode-Matteson concludes: “They go over and above for any filming needs. There are always challenges that can occur when you are working on a big movie, and thankfully they were there to support us.”

Whereas the previous three Jurassic Park movies shot their studio work in California, changes in the filming incentives landscape meant that Louisiana was the most cost-effective option for Jurassic World.

(Jurassic World images: Universal; Honolulu image courtesy of Honolulu Film Office)

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