Now Playing Everywhere: These Mountains

Kualoa Ranch is a Hollywood favorite
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 12, 2017 9:03 AM CDT

(Newser) – Kualoa Ranch is one of those places that few have visited but many have seen—currently a 100-foot-tall beast is rampaging through it as Kong: Skull Island pays across the big screen, notes Radio Times. A privately owned nature reserve on Hawaii's island of Oahu about 25 miles outside of Honolulu, it boasts a mountain range so magnificent and yet easy to reach that it's become a Hollywood darling in its own right, reports Quartz. "It was incredibly important to shoot the film practically," Kong's director says, "on environments the actors can interact with, as opposed to putting them on a green screen stage. We’re bringing Kong to life at a whole new scale in this movie, so it’s critical that his world feels tactile, real, and absolutely alive."

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The majestic ridge line has stood in for parts of coastal Asia, the South Pacific, South America, and beyond, and the number of films and TV shows to use it is a testament to its grandeur and versatility. There's also the matter of its affordability: Hawaii offers filmmakers a 25% tax credit, making Kualoa Ranch known as "the backlot of Hawaii." For starters, there's Lost, the TV show filmed almost entirely on Oahu, and mostly on the ranch, whose lush scenery is every bit as much a character as any person. There's The Hunger Games. And let's not forget Along Came Polly, Pearl Harbor, Godzilla, Jurassic Park, The Karate Kid Part II, and now, Kong, to be followed by the Jumanji sequel starring Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson. The list is much longer. (This Lost actor never watched an episode.)

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