Monday, July 13

Bario goes Hollywood


Meeting to produce a Hollywood blockbuster from the picturesque Kelabit highlands to be held this week

IDYLLIC: Village houses set a rustic scene with the mountain range as the background in Bario. Idris Jala hopes that if the Hollywood movie deal is clinched, it will further aid towards boosting Bario as a major tourist destination in the region.

BARIO: The small highland town of Bario may soon find itself listed as one of Hollywood’s exotic movie locations in Southeast Asia, alongside celebrated names such as Koh Samui in Thailand and Siem Reap in Cambodia.

Datuk Seri Idris Jala

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Idris Jala revealed this during the launching of ‘Nukenen Food and Cultural Festival’ here recently.

He told those present that he had been in touch with ‘Hollywood people’ to create a movie on Borneo called ‘The Borneo Headhunters’.

“This is the dream that I always have, and I am now taking the steps to do it.

“The story is, of course, fictional – involving many tribal myths and legends of Sarawakian origins – while its concept will move around epic settings like the ‘Lord of the Rings’ or ‘The Last of the Mohicans’ movies.

“The settings will be constructed here in Bario.”

Idris added that he was also in contact with the party who would finance the proposed film.

“When it comes to scriptwriting, we want to make sure that we hire only the best.

“We aim for this movie to become a Hollywood blockbuster.”

Idris said he hoped that should the movie deal be clinched it would skyrocket Bario as a major tourist destination in the region.

“I will also make sure that once filming is over, the building props and movie sets would remain intact so that it becomes part of what we (Bario) have here…a heritage of sorts for tourists to see when they come here.”

Sarawak is no stranger when it comes to being part of a Hollywood movie. In 1987, the first major US movie production ‘Farewell to the King’, starring Nick Nolte, was shot in the state.

Then in 2003, the state was chosen as the key setting for the 1930-era colonial drama ‘The Sleeping Dictionary’, starring Hollywood A-lister Jessica Alba.