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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, April 25, 2010

Stranger tide hits Waikīkī

by Suzanne Roig
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Kula Van Dorpe, far right, showed up at yesterday’s casting call in period dress as a British officer. The film is casting extras, especially as crews for two to three ships for “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.”

KENT NISHIMURA | The Honolulu Advertiser

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For the Hawai'i filming of "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides": 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. today, Kauai War Memorial, 4191 Hardy St., Līhu'e; parking available.

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WAIKĪKĪ — Motley-looking men lined up outside the Waikiki Health Center yesterday, reveling in their big noses, bushy eyebrows and unkempt beards and hoping those features would land them a spot as an extra in the movie "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides."

There were men without teeth. There were men without beards. There were men without hair anywhere. And there were men with more wrinkles than a shar pei.

There were men who were gaunt. There were men who were rotund and hearty.

There were men with chest-length gray beards and others with ponytails and pointy mustaches.

All shared a sense of hope that they might be cast as a British soldier, a Spaniard or maybe a pirate. They all came with photos of themselves and were told to list multiple phone numbers so casting agents could contact them.

At the beginning of the casting call, the line of hopefuls wrapped around the Waikiki Community Center on Paoakalani Avenue. One man had slept overnight in front of the gate, but the bulk of the crowd began arriving at dawn, said Mick Gallagher, an assistant casting director.

At the end of the day, the Hollywood casting agent estimated that more than 2,000 people had shown up. Some will be called back, but no one yesterday said when to expect that call.

Costume fitting could begin in May and cameras are expected to roll in mid-August.

"O'ahu is one of the pirate-est places we've been to," Gallagher said. "We've seen so many characters today."

The casting directors start all over again today on Kaua'i, where they hope to find interesting men, not just strange-looking ones, said Sande Alessi, a casting agent.

"It's been so much fun," Alessi said. "Even if you're not that pirate-y, you should definitely come today. We're looking for all types and sizes. You can look like the guy next door, you just never know."


Giovanni Giusti, who flew in from Los Angeles for the casting call, had high hopes that he and some others in his group would get a part.

"We're projecting our own inner pirate-ness," he said.

Sid Burletoff, a Waimānalo resident, said his pirate-ness comes from having just one eye. A slight man with a gray beard and thick-lensed glasses, Burletoff was hopeful that he could carry it off before the casting directors.

"Everyone calls me a pirate, so I thought I might as well see if I can play one in a movie," Burletoff said. "I'm not sure what qualifies me, but it's something for me to do."

The Hollywood casting agent hoped to find her odd-looking extra pirates for the fourth installment of "Pirates," again starring Johnny Depp. The call went out for men 18 to 60, all ethnicities, to play pirates and sailors. Filmmakers need enough to crew two or three ships.

One candidate, teeming with tattoos , was Kaimukī resident Kimo Napolitano. In high spirits after his meeting at the center, Napolitano was off to resume his day, sans the "argh."

"I think I have a shot," he said. "They're gonna have 10 times the number they need. I have the tattoos and the pirate heart."

Randy Lee waited outside the center for his co-worker, who had brought him along for the audition. The 54-year-old graphic artist found the whole morning fun, something that every man needs to do once in his life.

"I don't know what my pirate qualities are," said Lee, of Kāne'ohe.

"I've never done something like this before. You never know. What the heck, you could be chosen and then your moment will be preserved on film forever."