Blessing the set

  • photo courtesy of Sabra Kauka

    Sabra and members of Na Pua O Island School halau gave a blessing on the set before filming began last spring. From left Hiram Garcia (producer); Keola Takayama, Hanalei Wann Keliihoomalu, Raphael Alejandro (cast), Kumu Sabra Kauka, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Emily Blunt, Jack Whitehall, Taj Gutierrez, Jaume Collet-Serra (director), and Beau Flynn (producer).

LIHUE — Kumu Sabra Kauka and her Island School students have been sitting on a secret.

But Tuesday they finally were given the go-ahead to share and Kauka did just that — making public a photo of them with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Emily Blunt just after they blessed the “Jungle Cruise” set in May.

“(Johnson), he’s so hilarious,” Kauka said. “He’s a great guy with a super personality, an A-plus for the kids, plus he’s tall and handsome and has a sense of humor.”

It was the first time Kauka had seen the particular Grove Farm land where the set was built, but that was just one of the highlights of doing a feature-film set blessing.

“I always involve my students in blessings, take them with me because I want them to see the opportunities present on Kauai,” she said. “I want them to see the movie sets and the huge solar project that KIUC is putting in, the possibilities available on the island.”

She continued: “My students were so jazzed they told their friends about it and I got a rush of guys that wanted to learn to blow the conch shells.”

The other highlight was seeing Kauai graduates working on the set, pursuing their dreams and coming back home while doing so.

“It’s important to me to have this next generation in place, to pass the torch and make sure they’ve got a good hold on it,” she said.

Pre-production for “Jungle Cruise” started in January and filming began in early May. Production ran through June and then Crocus Production, part of Disney, picked up and moved to their next filming location in Atlanta.

In April, hundreds showed up for the extras casting call to audition for the movie and buzz around the island about the film continued through the end of production.

But not everyone was able to be on set with megastars.

“It was very exciting,” Kauka said.

“Jungle Cruise” is in post-production and is set for release in 2019. And while that’s cooking, Johnson is prepping to be back on island for at least one more film.

“Hobbs and Shaw,” a spinoff of “The Fate of the Furious,” is filming and Kauai film commissioner Randy Francisco confirmed in June at least some filming is set for Kauai.

Also on The Rock’s IMDB docket is the second in the “Jumanji” series: “Welcome To The Jungle Sequel,” currently in pre-production.

Announced projects are his role as King Kamehameha in “The King.”

Francisco said Monday he is under a non-disclosure agreement and can’t divulge much information about Hollywood’s activity on-island right now.

“We’re hopeful the publicist will do something to let people know (what’s happening),” he said Monday.


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