Kauai is back in the movies with Walt Disney’s latest blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean, On Stranger Tides, the fourth movie in Disney’s hugely successful franchise, which opened to $35 million on Friday (May 20, 2011) according to early estimates.
Filmed along the breathtaking Na Pali Coastline on Kauai and at the ruggedly stunning Maha’ulepu area on the South Shore, the movie is sure to send both visitors and locals hunting for the locations it features.
In the On Stranger Tides sequel, Captain Jack Sparrow ( Johnny Depp) crosses paths with a woman from his past (Penelope Cruz), and he's not sure if it's love -- or if she's a ruthless con artist who's using him to find the fabled Fountain of Youth. When she forces him aboard the Queen Anne's Revenge, the ship of the formidable pirate Blackbeard (Ian McShane), Jack finds himself on an unexpected adventure in which he doesn't know who to fear more: Blackbeard or the woman from his past.
After months of behind the scenes pre-production work, and on-site location work from June through August of 2010, the fourth film in Disney's blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, On Stranger Tides, was a boon to Kauai’s film industry and the local economy, as the island hosted the cast and crew of this huge production.
Producer Jerry Bruckheimer scouted and found the best movie locations Kauai had to offer, saying on his Twitter account that he had to use a special satellite phone due to the remoteness of many locations, and the fact that Kauai’s cell phone reception is sketchy even in populated areas.
Director Rob Marshall and screenwriter Terry Rossio arrived on the production’s remote Kalalau Valley location by jet ski. On the south shore some hiking and crawling on all fours was required to film at the Makauwahi Cave, the largest limestone cave complex in the Hawaiian Islands, which has s yielded an unprecedented look into Hawaii’s history, with a record of life that dates back 10,000 years.
At the Maha’ulepu location, the director took advantage of the cave and sinkhole, excavated by noted paleoecologist, Dr. David Burney and his wife Lida Pigott Burney, who restored the sinkhole and surrounding area to its original pre- human contact vegetation.
In one scene where Johnny Depp jumps from the top of the sinkhole and into a waterfall, the location is at Valley House (also prominent in Jurassic Park and George of the Jungle), located in Kealia on Kauai’s east side.