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Hollywood Called: Maui Answered

An open call in Kīhei for Just Go With It.

April 8, 2010
Paul Janes-Brown

The hope of that future arrived here on March 27, when Rachel Sutton Casting held an open call for the Adam Sandler, Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Aniston and Brooklyn Decker movie Just Go With It.

According to, “the story involves Adam Sandler recruiting Jennifer Aniston to pose as his soon-to-be-divorced wife and her kids to pretend to be his fake family.” The film, scheduled for release in February 2011, will be directed by Dennis Dugan, who just finished Grown Ups and also directed Sandler in You Don’t Mess with the Zohan (2008) and I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry (2007).

Maui County Film Commissioner Benita Brazier said that between 2,500 and 3,000 aspiring film stars stood in line waiting to be seen. The first ones arrived at the Kīhei Charter Middle School on Līpoa Street in Kīhei at 5 a.m. Brazier estimated that of the almost 2,000 Maui residents screened, 500 to 600 will be hired for work both in front and behind the cameras.

Article Photos

Ani Hesse is an award-winning singer and recipient of Maui Humane Society’s Kathryn Award for embodying the spirit of the Humane Society and for her original song, Hero.

Brazier would not divulge the exact economic impact potential of the month-long shoot, but said, “It would be several million.” She also was not at liberty to discuss the shooting location.

Sutton posted the following notice at , “…I am having an open call on Maui for Maui residents only. DO NOT FLY OVER [her emphasis] if you live on O‘ahu.”

The casting call began with adults from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; then, for the next three hours, children were screened. Those who were lucky enough to get through the door were given a form to fill out. A number was on the other side of the form. They were told to hold the number at their waist, had their photo taken and that was it.

In typical Maui style, this was not your usual open call. Some young entrepreneurs saw it as an opportunity to raise funds for a trip to a national soccer tournament in San Diego in July. Members of the Excel team—Dakota Littlefield, Willie Moser, Norman John, Taje Akaka and Chayce Akaka—state champions for kids 10 years old and younger, peddled Kool Pops from their radio flyer wagon and earned $10 in 10 minutes.

Kehaulani Rand’s Napua Kea Dance entertained the line of would-be actors while Eryn Bass and Philine Schriever delivered $1 hot dogs, $2 hamburgers, water and soft drinks from Sharkey’s to hungry people in line. Sharkey’s owner Dan Snyder, anticipating the presence of young children standing in line for hours, set up a free jumping castle as a diversion.

Members of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and American Federation Television and Radio Actors (AFTRA) were permitted to go to the head of the line. Lynette Chun, an original member of the ‘Ulalena cast, was among the few Maui union members in attendance. She hoped to be submitted for a speaking role. Trained in New York at the American Conservatory of Drama and the world-renowned HB Studios, she has appeared in numerous Off Broadway shows, and will present her play, Living Treasure, at the University of Hawai‘i Maui College on April 10 and 11.

Just about every actor on Maui populated the throng. Maui stars Marley and Zeb Mehring, who played Scout and Gem, respectively, in the Maui OnStage production of To Kill a Mockingbird, were seen, as were their parents, Patrick and Nina.

“I really hope we won’t have to go to school,” said Zeb.

Dylan Bode was also among the hopefuls. He played Conrad Birdie in Baldwin Theater Guild’s recent Bye Bye Birdie smash hit, and will also serve as assistant director and portray Thomas Putnam in the upcoming production of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible.

Ani Hesse, 10, an award-winning young singer and recipient of Maui Humane Society’s Kathryn Award for embodying the spirit of the Humane Society and for her original song, Hero, was also among those patiently standing in line.

Cheryl Zarro ushered in about 40 performers at a time, who were then asked to fill out forms. Some were asked whether they could stay out all day on a sailboat. The bikini-girl contingency was ushered elsewhere to be photographed in their swimwear.

At 5 p.m., the 300 or 400 adults and children still standing in line were thanked and dismissed.



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