“Hollywood meets Hawaii at the old Honolulu Advertiser building” from Hawaii News Now

Hollywood meets Hawaii at the old Honolulu Advertiser building
Source: Hawaii News Now (with video)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011 9:22 PM EST

Inside the old Advertiser is a room used as medical examiner's morgue on Hawaii Five-O.
Inside the old Advertiser is a room used as medical examiner’s morgue on Hawaii Five-O.

By Teri Okita 

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – A trivia question for you: what iconic Honolulu building houses a police department, a tsunami center, a medical examiner’s morgue, and even a brothel? Hmmmm. Stumped?

It’s the old Honolulu Advertiser building on Kapiolani Boulevard in downtown, and these days, it’s the center of operations for the hit show, Hawaii Five-0.

Steve McGarrett can call the three-and-a-half acres of prime real estate in Honolulu “home”. Well, sort of.

“We’re standing just outside Steve McGarrett’s house,” says co-executive producer and director, Brad Turner. “The ocean’s just over there,” he points to a big blue screen. “There’s a backdrop now for the ocean.”

Turner shows us how they’ve transformed the old newspaper property into a Hollywood soundstage. “It’s kind of movie magic at work again.”

McGarrett’s house – and Danno’s apartment – are nothing more than four walls suspended from the ceiling. There are no foundations. But the inside is decorated as any home would be, and it looks very realistic. Both sets are located within one the newspaper’s old storage warehouses. “The idea is: control the sound. Control the look. Control the light.” It’s easier and cheaper to build the sets than shoot on location over a long period of time.

The process for building the sets actually starts in the main building. The art department conceptualizes the sets according to the way a script is written. Then, the designs head down to the construction mill located, for now, in what was the Advertiser’s paper warehouse.

Turner says, “We’re moving the mill into where the printing presses used to be, and we’re going to build HQ in here”

HQ is Five-0’s headquarters – currently shot in the back of the Old Federal building in downtown, but next season, the main sets will all be at the old Advertiser. A good sign. “As we build more sets, yeah, it does indicate that we’re going to be here for a long time. It’s something we’re committing to, yes,” says Turner.

When they’re not creating sets, they’re converting old rooms on the compound. In 1929, the Beaux-arts style building boasted one of the most beautiful front entrances in all of Honolulu – with terra cotta detailing and a grand, quarried style staircase. Newspaper employees sat at their desks in the big, front room. Today, actors sit at the desks, in what is now, a fake police squad room.

They’ve used every nook and cranny of this old newspaper building to shoot. 95% of the property is being utilized in some way. The upstairs hallway was a brothel in one episode. On the second floor, the tsunami warning center sits ready for action, if needed, and downstairs, old newspaper offices have become the medical examiner’s morgue. Even the parking lot is used to shoot. Production supervisor, Angie Laprete, wants to see more kama’aina working around the property.

“One of my missions is to get as many local crews as we can on the show,” says Laprete.”And what’s nice about it is we have about 80-85% locals”

The Gannett corporation eventually plans to sell or redevelop this property – reportedly assessed at 16-and-a-half million dollars. For now, though, this iconic building – which is not on the list of historic buildings – will continue to sit at the busy intersection where Hollywood meets Hawaii.

Copyright 2011 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

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About officer808

Investigating Hawaii Five-0 from the inside.
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6 Responses to “Hollywood meets Hawaii at the old Honolulu Advertiser building” from Hawaii News Now

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention “Hollywood meets Hawaii at the old Honolulu Advertiser building” from Hawaii News Now | Hawaii Five-0 UNDERCOVER -- Topsy.com

  2. Val says:

    Well the fact that new sets are being built and a flurry of activity is involved in planning and designing for the upcoming season 2 is a jolly good sign indeed that its truly in place and I hope they stay for more seasons not just two. This show is just so brilliant and it feels so fresh and so new…just can’t imagine it ending anytime soon. So really hoping with a big sunny smile that the show will continue to grow from strength to strength….aloha!!♥

  3. textbook says:

    The enormous BUSINESS of movie- and TV-making never ceases to amaze me. Yet another reason I don’t want to see behind the scenes firsthand (besides the boredom of the repeated takes.) If I was in that business – at one time I wanted to be a film editor – it would be different, but dang they have to cover a lot of angles. Hard work.

  4. McPhee says:

    Words cannot explain how excited I am there is a possibly a 2nd season pick up

    Great video it’s amazing how they have put the set together I really liked how they designed it

  5. officer808 says:

    Yeah I understand that some don’t lke to see the BTS stuff, it ruins the “world” that the show creates…

    @McPhee everyone bt the execs have confirmed there’s a second season!

    • Cecile says:

      I like BTS stuff, it shows us how everything work. I’m very interested in the technical side of movie making, so it’s always cool to see these.
      But for a TV show, I’m a little more reluctant, because it’s usually spoiler loaded ! Even if it’s light, (Steve and Kamekona with casts, but we don’t know why, or showing a character…), it still kind of (slightly) ruins the surprise effect of it all !

      Same with the official promos, I usually wait after the episode has actually aired to watch it !

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