NOAH MILLS JOINS ‘NCIS: HAWAI’I’ CAST

Noah Mills, last seen in Disney+’s “Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” is joining the cast of CBS’
“NCIS: Hawai‘i,” the fourth series in the NCIS franchise.

He is the fourth Mainland actor signed to series and will portray Jesse, who is an expert interrogator seeking a new life in the Islands, with creds as homicide investigator in a big city. Jesse supposed has worked with Jane Tennant, played by Vanessa Lachey, and will assume the role of lieutenant-in-command and occasional confidant.

According to Variety, Jesse favors old-fashioned police investigation, is devoted to hiking the island trails, and is a family man who runs 4-H camping trips for his kid.

Noah Mills –Photo By Sthanlee B. Mirador/Sipa

His acting profile includes “The Enemy Within,” “The Baker and the Beauty,” “The Brave,” and “2 Broke Girls,” but given the popularity of the NCIS brand, this might become his breakout hit.

Mills also has worked as a model, with Giorgio Armani, Tom Ford and Dolce and Gabanna. So brings good looks to the table.

No start-of-filming date yet, nor a decision on when and where the show ends up on CBS. …

The Hawai‘i series will supposedly be anchored at or near Pearl Harbor, as the NCIS crews investigate crimes involving military personnel and misdoings that threaten national security.

Lachey as Tennant will be first female to lead an NCIS team. The island show will be introduced, likely this fall, as the New Orleans program disappears. The mothership show, plus the Los Angeles spin-off, return this fall.

Willis, Travolta, find ‘Paradise’ on Maui

Production is under way on Maui for “Paradise City,” a drama reuniting Bruce Willis and John Travolta for the first time in 27, according to Deadline.

Bruce Willis, John Travolta and Praya Lundbert

Chuck Russell is directing drama about Ryan Swan (Willis), a renegade bounty hunter, who combs through the Hawaiian crime community in search of  the unnamed honcho  (Travolta),

who killed his father.

Thai actress and model Praya Lundbert has the female lead, but here character has not been identified.

The buzz on the project is that Hawai‘i plays a major role, in a “Miami Vice” like drama with bounty hunters instead of cops.

Willis has been box office gold, grossing $9.4 billion worldwide via such features as “Death Wish,” the “Die Hard” franchise, “Cosmic Sin,” “Moonlighting,” and Gasoline Alley.”

Travolta’s worldwide gross of $3.8 billion includes “Saturday Night Fever,” “Grease,” “Urban Cowboy,” and “Hairspray.”

A release date has not yet been announced.

And that’s “Show Biz.” …

HTY’S ‘HI WAY’ NOMINATED FOR EMMYS

The Honolulu Theatre for Youth’s “The HI Way” television series has been nominated for six regional Emmy Awaards.

The theater group had to pivot from live productions to virtual because of last year’s pandemic, and since March 2020, the resident ensemble has produced 21 half-hour episodes that have connected with more than 4 million views via TV stations.

“HTY’s shift to digital production would not have been possible without the incredible support we received from our community partners,” said Becky Dunning, HTY managing director. Supporters included government and foundation grantors, she said, along with corporate donors and community individuals “who recognized the importance of keeping Hawaii children engaged and excited about learning during the pandemic.”

Eric Johnson, HTY’s artistic director, commended teachers who embraced the show’s content for distance-learning and in-person classes, and said the shows “celebrates what is unique about our culture, lifting up local stories and perspectives, and celebrating the values of diversity, environmental stewardship and aloha.”

Gerard Elmore

The six nominated episodes are “Pono,” “Respect Racism,” “Energy” and “Da Holidays,” with a special nominee in Gerard Elmore, who directed “Surfing.”

Episodes for season three are now televised on Hawaii News Now stations as well as the theater’s website, www.htyweb.org.

Season four premieres in fall of this year. …

DHT’s nostalgic ‘Forever Plaid’ opens May 28

“Forever Plaid,” an off-Broadway musical  brimming with nostalgia and tuneful oldies, opens May 28 at Diamond Head Theatre, eight performances through June 5. Facial masks are required to attend, with social distancing protocols prevailing, meaning limited seating in the theater.

The show has a heavenly twist;  four buddies named Sparky, Smudge, Jinx and Frankie head to a gig when a school bus collides with their car, terminating their career. But the stars were aligned and the group’s fate is reborn so the foursome can continue its musical journey.

The show is a tribute to 19502 guy-group music – think the Four Seasons from another era – with emphasis on four-part harmony. Thus, the score features the likes of Four Freshmen, Four Aces and Four Lads and titles such as “Three Coins in the Fountain,” “No Not Much,” “Moments to Remember,” “Love Is a Many Splendored Thing,” “Rags to Riches,” and “Shangri-La.”

Andrew Sakaguchi returns home from New York to direct and choreograph, with Maika‘i Nash conducting the orchestra.

The cast features Tyler Devere as Jinx, Scott Fikse as Smudge, Ryan Michel as Frankie and Will Thomson as Sparky.

Playdates: 7:30 p.m. May 28, 7:30 p.m. May 29, 4 p.m. May 30, 7:30 p.m. June 3, 7:30 p.m. June 4, 3 p.m. June 5, 7:30 p.m. June 5 and 4 p.m. June 6.

Tickets: $22 at diamondheadtheatre.com …

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Remembering Willie K

Willie K will be remembered in a Celebration of Life in the form of a drive-through from 2 to 4 p.m. May 18 at the Wahikuli Wayside State Park on Maui.

Willie K

The Kahaiali‘i ‘Ohana – Willie’s family and friends – is presenting the drive-through, in a one-way traffic route below the Lahaina Fire Station.

Some traffic restrictions will be in place, with no-left turns and no-parking in the nearby lots.

Uncle Willie, the beloved entertainer, died May 18 2020,

He is widely known for his expansive musical repertoire, ranging from old-style Hawaiian to the blues, from operatic arias to country tunes, from contemporary Hawaiiana to jazz. He was a regular at several Maui sites and the Blue Note Hawaii club in Waikiki, where he serenaded his fans monthly until illness prevented him from performing.

Willie Awihilima Kahaiali‘i is survived by his wife, Debbie Kahaiali‘I and children Karshaun, Max, Lycettiana and Antoinette. …

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And that’s “Show Biz.” …

DANIEL DAE KIM, MAN OF ALL REASONS

Daniel Dae Kim, 52, has emerged as one of show business’ most active players, at unimaginable tiers both on screen and off.

We locals best know him from his role as Jin-Soo Kwon in ABC’s “Lost” and more recently as Chin Ho Kelly in CBS’ “Hawaii Five-0.” Both were filmed in Hawaii, establishing Kim as a powerhouse figure, and giving him island roots in the process.

Since then, he’s been all over the map –a man of all reasons.

I saw him several years ago, portraying the King of Siam, in Lincoln Theatre’s award-winning Broadway musical, the beloved “King and I.” He also did a stint in London.

After “Five-0,” he distinguished himself as a TV producer-actor via his 3AD production company, tapping a Korean drama and retrofitting the storyline to America in ABC’s “The Good Doctor,” still on the air.

He’s been a TV figure for an incredible 35 years now, a rarity among Asian Americans in an industry favoring mostly white, and more recently black, thanks to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Daniel Dae Kim, on the cover of New York magazine’s Culture Pages.

Of Korean descent, he’s become perhaps the most visible face and voice of the current Asian American hate front, speaking with clarity and earnest about the hate crimes that have targeted innocent Asians in racially motivated physical attacks.

No wonder he’s been tagged as The Diplomat, in an April interview in New York magazine’s The Culture Pages, where he discussed his zeal to combat inequities in salaries. Perhaps the most successful alumni of the “Five-0” cast, he (joined by colleague Grace Park, who played Kono Kalakaua) walked away from the show in protest of paychecks smaller than their two other white leads, Alex McLoughlin and Scott Caan, in a situation where the four actors were, in reality, an ensemble.

Kim and Grace Park, in “Hawaii Five-0.)

As a producer, Kim is quoted, “Now, whenever I develop a show, I specify right off the top what ethnicity the lead is,” making salaries tantamount to intention.

He will have the lead role of Matthew Ryker in National Geographic Channel’s “The Hot Zone: Anthrax.”

His credits are vast and varied. He played Ben Daimio in “Hellboy,” has a recurring role in NBC’s “New Amsterdam” as Dr. Cassian Shin.

He was heard but not seen in the animated “She-Ra and the Princess of Power” and “Raya and the Last Dragon.” And he’s been filming episodes—not yet released — of the animated “Pantheon,” portraying David. Gamers may know him from a series of video games.

And that’s “Show Biz.” …

WHERE WILL ‘NCIS: HAWAI’I’ LAND ON TV GRID?

So “NCIS: Hawai’i” is formally on the radar, with its Mainland principle cast named.

Next questions:  What time slot, on which night, will the series land, and how many episodes will be filmed?

The logical spot might be Friday night at 7 p.m. Hawaii time, in the slot vacated by the canceled “MacGyver.”

If it lands here, “NCIS: Hawai’i” would give CBS a solid Friday lineup, since “Magnum P.I.” airs at 8 p.m., followed by “Blue Bloods” at 9 p.m.

Or “Hawai’i” could co-mingle before or after “NCIS: Los Angeles” on Sunday night. Maybe even piggyback with the mothership show on Tuesdays.

The final grid of programming has not yet been announced, so it’s even possible that “NCIS: Hawai’i” will set up its tentpole on new turf, on a night not yet decided. Nor has the number of episodes has not yet been disclosed. Since no pilot was filmed, it’s possible that the studio wants to see an actual show before deciding if “Hawai’i” merits a full 22-episode order. (FYI, CBS is sensitive to the proper way to spell ‘Hawai’i,” with the ‘okina between the two i’s, though its online promo logos do not reflect the update).

It also is possible that instead of a fall launch, CBS may wait till mid-season to slip the latest spin-off into action.
This much is certain: After “NCIS: New Orleans” vanishes after its current season — it hasn’t been renewed  — the New Orleans behind-the-scenes production team will relocate to Hawai’i for the island spin-off.

Larry Teng

Larry Teng, who has options with CBS Studio, has been tapped to direct and exec-produce the initial episode. His CBS credits include “Hawaii Five-0,” “Elementary,” “Criminal Minds,” “SEAL Team,” “S.W.A.T.” and “NCIS: Los Angeles.”

Vanessa Lachey will play Jane Tennant, the special agent in charge of the NCIS unit based at Pearl Harbor; she is the first woman to head an NCIS investigative team. The two other lead roles will be portrayed by Yasmine Al-Bustami as junior team member Lucy  and Jason Antoon as Ernie, the cyber intelligence specialist.

Crossover shows happen frequently these days, which could logically link “Hawai’i” with “Los Angeles,” for a seamless crossover. A major crossover this year involved two “Law and Order” NBC series, the veteran “SVU” headed by Mariska Hagerty as Olivia Benson, with the newbie “Organized Crime”  led by Christopher Meloni as Eliot Stabler.

IT’S A ‘G0’ FOR ‘NCIS: HAWAII’

It’s official. And it has its own logo.

And it’s about time.

After weeks of deliberations and rumors, CBS today announced it was formally green lighting another franchise show – “NCIS: Hawaii” – to join the family of “NCIS” procedurals. Hope CBS considers Hawaii natives to join the “NCIS” legacy.

Deadline was the first to announce the fourth in the CBS franchise and the first to have a female character heading the investigations theoretically based at Pearl Harbor.

The Hawaii nod was buried in the announcement that “NCIS: Los Angeles” was OK’d for its 13th season next fall, joining the mothership Mark Harmon-led original which has been approved for its 19th season.

As Hawaii makes its debut, “NCIS: New Orleans” is terminating its seventh season. So one in, one out. CBS also is procedural heavy: it kicks off “CSI: Vegas” and “FBI: International” this fall.

The Hawaii cast – hopefully, a blend of locals and Mainlanders — will make an impact. CBS has learned, from the reboot of “Hawaii Five-0,” now gone from the landscape, should advocate diversity in the acting ranks. This factor could impact how popular it will be in this maiden voyage. Having a woman heading the team is a starting point for diversity.

Expections and anticipations have been high. Though fans had predicted and hoped for a reunion of Michael Weatherly as Tony Dizono and Cote de Pablo as Ziva David, from the original “NCIS, ”that won’t happen, since Weatherly’s “Bull” also returns to the Eye Network this fall.