Hawaii Five-0 Location Scouting (and Teasing Season Six) with Timmy Chinn, Part II

Timmy ChinnWhen we left Chinn in Part I, he was scouting for locations for Season Six of Hawaii Five-0. In the first episode of that upcoming season, Chinn teased, “They (the writers and producers) wrote the script a certain way for a certain location. We could have used that location, but it simply didn’t work, so it was rewritten from one location to another. I can’t tell you where they are, but it’s not particularly uncommon for certain initial locations not to work. I think we’ve managed to do pretty good overall though. I remember one season we were looking for a meat-packing house, and they actually don’t have those here (in Hawaii) anymore. Then, last season (Season Five), they needed a foundry. And there are no old-style foundries. They haven’t existed here for 20 or 30 years. So, it does happen regularly. As I’m sitting here talking to you,” he laughed, “I can just hear in my mind Jeff Downer talking to Peter Lenkov telling him, ‘It simply doesn’t exist here.’”

Off the Grid

Locations unfamiliar to tourists are wonderful places to visit on Oahu. Chinn told me one such place is Maunawili on the Island’s windward side. “That’s a jungle area that we’ve used four or five times since I came on board in Season Two. We set up Grace’s girl scout camp there in Season Three, Episode 10 [“Huakaʻi Kula” (Field Trip)]. We’ve done compounds of all sorts there as well. In Season Five, Episode 4 [“Ka Noeʻau” (The Painter)], we needed a beach house compound, so we used the Shriners Beach Club in Waimanalo and built a compound around it.” And Kono’s wedding in the Season Five cliffhanger took place at the Royal Hawaiian Golf Club at Maunawili.

Waimanalo Beach(1)Favorite Spots

Chinn has some favorite filming locations on Oahu, including the Kualoa Ranch. “It’s a schlep to get there, but we used it a lot in Season Two and Season Three. I don’t think we used it at all in Season Four. We used it a couple of times in Season Five. And, I believe we’re using it in the first episode of Season Six,” he further teased. “I also like Waimanalo Bay (which incidentally made the top spot on Stephen Leatherman’s annual best beach list of 2015), and I’ve gotten to like shooting inside Diamond Head Crater. You deal with the National Guard and the Department of Defense when you go up there to shoot. You have to go through three or four different agencies, but they all know us now, and they’re all great to work with. It’s kind of a hassle for us getting all our equipment there, but we’ve gotten it pretty well nailed down now. The main hassle is getting everything through the tunnel leading into the Crater, which is quite narrow and, as a State Monument, Diamond Head attracts thousands of visitors a day, necessitating good traffic control and coordination. I like the Crater because you can do all sorts of things in a very small area and make it look different each time. We built the Afghanistan village in Season Four, Episode 21 [“Makani ʻolu a holo malie” (Fair Winds and Flowing Seas)] there.

Two Places at Once

Other locations of interest used in Season Five include two different spots that represented the same barber shop in the series. In Episode 14 [“Powehiwehi” (Blackout)], when the barber shop first appeared, Island Style Cuts on Kapahulu Avenue was used. Then, in Episode 19 [“Kahania” (Close Shave)], “since there was a huge gun battle on the street in front of the barber shop and in the shop itself, we knew we would not be allowed to control traffic on Kapahulu Avenue to the extent that we would need to, so we rented a vacant building on South Street and built the barber shop there.”


Season Six Tease

Chinn has been most proud of a location that he did not find himself but had the opportunity to work on as Location Assistant of a film project. He can’t disclose the location because it’s in Season Six. He teased again, “I worked on this shoot years and years ago, and I never thought I’d ever be able to get permission to use the location again. After we were done filming, I was told that this particular location would never allow filming again, not because of any damage we had caused, because there was none, but more because of the impact we had. I think we prepped there for about a week and shot for five days and nights there. We only have permission in theory to shoot there now. Final approval is pending upon their read of the script. It’s in Episode 1 of the upcoming shows, but I can’t give you any details,” he smiled.

Hard to Answer

Surprisingly, Chinn revealed, “One of the most challenging locations to find for Season Five was actually the swimming pool we used to do some of the water work for Episode 23 [“”Moʻo ʻolelo Pu” (Sharing Traditions)] where Kono is lost at sea.”

Easy to Spot Locations

Some of the more familiar locations to tourists used in Season Five included the Bayer Estate (for McGarrett’s house), the Valley of the Temples, Magic Island (for the shrimp truck), Masaharu Morimoto’s Morimoto Waikiki Restaurant at The Modern Honolulu, Honolulu International Airport, Kalakaua Avenue in Waikiki, and Kualoa Regional Park with Mokoli’i Island (Chinaman’s Hat) in the background. The Honolulu Board of Water Supply was used for the coroner’s office exterior. And Aunt Deb (Carol Burnett) was married (to Frankie Valli) at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel [Episode 8, “Ka Hana Malu” (Inside Job)]. Most of the beautiful mansions seen in the series are in Kahala or Portlock.

mauna loa

Mauna Loa

As for the most remote location used by Hawaii Five-0, Chinn reckoned that to be on the slopes of Mauna Loa, a volcano on the Big Island [Episode 9, “Ke Koho Mamao Aku” (Longshot)]. “It’s 8-9,000 feet elevation, and there’s nothing up there. I remember we were looking for a remote lava field. While there, we shot at the lava fields in Kalapana, the Hilo Airport, and the HI-SEAS facility on the slopes of Mauna Loa (for the lunar simulation stuff). There was a lava eruption back in 1990 that wiped out that entire area there. Over the years, people have started to build houses there. It’s pretty cool. It feels like you’re in the middle of nowhere. There used to be quite a significant community there, and the lava flow wiped everything out, except for the residence of one Hawaiian family who has been there forever, and who was of great help to us. It wasn’t necessarily the middle of nowhere back then, but feels like it now. There are more and more people moving back to the area, but most of the inhabitants are transplants, not native Hawaiians. And, even those who live there tend to work in town.

“As far as remote places on Oahu, there’s not much remote anymore. We’re pretty familiar with everywhere we’ve shot. Even what may look remote on camera is not really remote anymore.”

The first shoot date for Season Six (and the traditional Hawaiian blessing) is July 8. Hawaii Five-0 airs on Friday nights at 9 on CBS. Watch for its premiere on September 25.