17 May – An upcoming Hollywood film based on a true World War II incident is scheduled to be filmed at Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios.
According to the official website of Pinewood Group, the film is titled "Ni'ihau" and it is based on the Ni'ihau Incident that took place in 1941.
The incident was the catalyst that ultimately led to the U.S. President at the time, President Franklin D Roosevelt, issuing Executive Order 9066 that initiated the mass internment of 119,803 Japanese-American citizens until the order was rescinded by President Gerald Ford in 1976.
This film will be the directorial debut of Gabriel Robertson who also wrote the script.
Zach McGowan from the TV series about pirates, "Black Sails", is set to star in the film as Benehakaka Kanahele.
Kanahele is a Hawaiian native who saved the life of Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service pilot, Shigenori Nishikaichi, after he crashed his plane onto the Hawaiian island of Ni'ihau.
Kanahele soon learns that Nishikaichi's plane was shot down because he participated in the bombing of Pearl Harbor. When his identity was discovered, Nishikaichi shot Kanahele and escaped before he banded with a group of local Japanese to terrorise American locals.
Kanahele was left with no choice but to kill Nishikaichi and was later hailed as a hero by the U.S. government for preventing an island takeover.
Some people see McGowan's casting as the real-life hero of the Pacific Islands as Hollywood's latest stint in whitewashing and this has prompted a backlash on social media.
Pinewood Iskandar is located in Johor, at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, near the border with Singapore.
One of the most high profile productions to have previously used the studio was "Marco Polo", a historical action drama by Netflix.
In an interview with KFTV, the producer of Marco Polo, Tim Coddington, describes the studio as very spacey and that the choice of filming location was very cost-effective.
"Smaller films might find Thailand a better fit and there's good local crew, but if you're a larger production moving around a lot internationally and transporting your own people, Malaysia works better."
"Ni'ihau" is currently in its pre-production stage. No release date has been announced, but filming is set to start at Pinewoods Iskandar at the end of May.