Fiji Feature

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Fiji in Film & Literature

Like many a sun-kissed, rock-hard body with dazzling blues, the Fiji islands have featured prominently in entertainment media. Castaway (2000), starring Tom Hanks as a FedEx executive stranded on a deserted island, was mostly filmed on tiny Monuriki island in the northwest corner of the Mamanucas. The far-less Oscar-contentious Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid (2004) was shot around Viti Levu's Pacific Harbour, despite being set in Borneo, and was the first Hollywood film to have its premiere in Fiji.

At least seven books and three films are based on the true events famously known as the "mutiny on the Bounty," in which Fletcher Christian and others mutinied against Captain William Bligh aboard the ship The Bounty on April 29, 1789. Shortly after the mutiny, Bligh and 18 loyal crew members narrowly escaped cannibals who pursued them north of the Yasawas; had they been caught, they would have most likely been eaten. The most recent film, The Bounty (1984), stars Mel Gibson as Christian and Anthony Hopkins as Bligh.

American author James Michener grew well-acquainted with Fiji while a naval officer stationed in the South Pacific. His book Rascals in Paradise devotes a chapter to Cleveland-native William H. Hayes, known as the "last buccaneer" and notorious for kidnapping indigenous people in the mid-1800s and selling them into slavery on islands including Fiji.

The Yasawa Islands has a hold on a franchise. The Blue Lagoon (1949) starring Jean Simmons, tells the story of two shipwrecked children growing up and falling in love on a deserted island. It was largely filmed in the pristine lagoon between Nanuya Lai Lai and Tavewa in the middle of the island group. Its 1980 remake starring Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins was also filmed here and at locations throughout Fiji. The 1991 Return to Blue Lagoon starring Milla Jovovich was largely filmed on Taveuni.

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