Location experts are key players behind the scenes of ‘Jurassic Park
BY CHRIS COOK
TGI New Media Manager
With the help of local and
Hawaiian-born coordinators, Kaua’i is retaining its reputation as a “Jurassic
island” with the completion of location filming for the third movie in
Universal Pictures’ “Jurassic Park” series.
Director Joe Johnston, his cast
and crew spent last week filming on the South Fork of the Wailua River, in a
pasture south of Kilauea that appeared in the first film and on Princeville
Corp. land overlooking Hanalei Valley.
The storyline of the film is top
secret, though expected to be along the lines of the two earlier “Jurassic
Park” films, and again set on a Central American island.
A week earlier,
the film company used Dillingham Field on the north shore of O’ahu as a runway
The filmmakers are now back in southern California, where a good
portion of the movie will be shot at Universal’s studio in Universal City. The
ever-improving magic of digital film effects should play a big role, too,
during post-production work.
The film is scheduled for release in the
summer of 2001.
The Kaua’i footage will be used as a backdrop for the third
film in the “Jurassic” series. For now, it’s named “Jurassic Park III” (with
the III resembling the claw marks of a raptor in logos appearing on film crew
The second film in the series was released in 1997 as “The Lost
World: Jurassic Park” and featured a number of Kaua’i locations.
original “Jurassic Park” brought director Stephen Spielberg to Kaua’i in 1992.
Released in 1993, the movie went on to be an all-time top box office attraction
Plans for the recent Kaua’i location filming go back about six
months, when Kaua’i film commissioner Judy Drosd and Hawai’i-born location
manager Laura Sode-Matteson scouted the island for just the right locations for
Johnston, who is taking over the director’s chair from Spielberg this time
Sode-Matteson grew up in Kailua in windward O’ahu and went to
Hollywood in the late 1970s. Her more recent credits include serving as
location manager for “Gone in Sixty Seconds,” and for “Batman Forever” and
“Batman and Robin.”
Earlier credits include location manager for the
Disney adventure film “The Rocketeer” in 1991, and a watershed acting role as
Jack Lord’s on-screen secretary in the final years of the 1970s TV series
While earning a masters degree in social work at the
University of Hawai’i -Manoa, Sode-Matteson made friends with the “Hawaii 5-0”
crew. After the show folded, she moved to Los Angeles in 1980 and found work at
Orion Pictures, a film and TV company. She worked her way up from receptionist
to an assistant in production planning, then production coordinator and
Sode-Matteson said a location manager ensures that
locations match what the director and production designer are looking for. The
job entails advance scouting for a movie after the director picks what he
wants, securing location permits, working with local police and fire
departments and putting locations back into shape once filming is
When asked why director Johnston came back to Kaua’i for
location filming, Sode-Matteson said, “They had such success in the past films,
and Kaua’i is so beautiful.”
She said locations used this time included a
mix of sites used in the earlier “Jurassic Park” films, plus “other ones that
could work for this.”
“Kaua’i is so film friendly,” she commented.
“They really wanted us to come back here,” she added, referring to the
wishes of Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, the executive producer and close
associate of the famous director.
Sode-Matteson complimented Drosd for her
assistance on the film.
“Judy is fantastic. She’s a very big asset to your
county. She works very hard and knows this island,” Sode-Matteson said. “She’s
very knowlegeable about the film business.”
Sode-Matteson said Kaua’i
filming wrapped last Saturday night, with all the principal actors here for
Despite the many advances in digital film effects, the
real thing is still needed when it comes to beautiful scenery and backdrops
because “you still have to shoot a location to give it a base,” she
Living proof that youth from Hawai’i can make it in demanding fields
like filmmaking, Sode-Matteson described her own path to success and urged
local students to follow their dreams.
“When I was younger, I knew that
there was more out there,” she said, “but I didn’t know exactly what. In
school, they give you your basic things. I had no idea about the film industry.
It’s so different than anything I imagined.”
New-media manager Chris
Cook can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 222) and email@example.com
Photo courtesy Kaua’i Film Commission
Jurassic Park III location manager
Laura Sode-Matteson (left) and Kaua’i Film Commissioner Judy Drosd stand along
the Wailua River. The Wailua Marina served as a staging area for filming
upriver on the South Fork of the Wailua River.