Laurie Towner as Johnny Utah — doesn’t really throw us off too much. Actually, feels sort of right. The Aussie runs around undercover as the best unsponsored surfer in the world, so playing undercover surfer/detective/master of eloquent speech Johnny Utah might be well inside his wheelhouse. Who knows? And whether you’re for it, or against it, Hollywood doesn’t give two sh*ts: they’re going big with it, and calling on the best to make the surf scenes — yes, there are indeed surf scenes in the movie — as real as possible by, well, having them be real. And apparently the first step towards that is shutting down Teahupoo. Yep, as of yesterday and today, Chopes was apparently overrun Hollywood. And, yes, they timed it to catch this massive swell that is supposed to run through the break.
So who went out/is going out this time around? Towner is stunt-doubling as Johnny Utah (for actor Luke Bracey who intelligently won’t be in the lineup); Dylan Longbottom with play the role of Bodhi; and Laird Hamilton, the leading stuntman, will be on ski as Brian Keaulana oversees water safety. Also surfing? Albee Layer, Billy Kemper, Bruce Irons, and local Raimana Van Bastolaer. Not a poor showing.
So how are they shutting down Chopes?
In an recent interview with Stab, Towner shed a little light on the all-powerful capabilities of big budget — $100 million, anyone? — Hollywood:
I don’t really know how they’re going to shut it off, but there was a big meeting before and apparently they’ve got the Government on side. I guess they’re Hollywood, they’ve got that much money they’re probably paying off everyone. I’m sure there’s going to be some unhappy people. I don’t know how it’s going to work. A lot of the local guys are involved. The amount of jobs they’ve probably created for the local people would be huge, it’s like the ASP arriving all over again. I think there’s 250 people here and some of the cameras they’ve got are crazy.
They’ve got every angle covered. They’ve got a normal helicopter. There’s a few smaller petrol helicopters and a couple of drones. Poto is going to be driving in front of the wave with a crazy camera set up on the back of his ski that’ll be controlled by other people remotely. It’s definitely pretty full-on. I’m stoked I said yes because now I’m here and there’s a big swell about to hit and it could be pretty uncrowded.
Can’t blame the guy for looking forward to an empty lineup on what is shaping up to be quite the day. And last time we checked, Towner was psyched: “Hopefully some of these tomorrow!!!”
As was Longbottom: “It’s official that @laurietowner and I have the line up out Teahupo’o to ourselves tomorrow as 1st stunt team filming Point Break Laird to Laurie and Raimana to me!!”
Since they’re not allowing any of us to paddle out, let’s enjoy this flashback that’s making the rounds right now: Towner and Wade Goodall taking advantage of another massive swell that swept through Tahiti a little over a year ago.