HONOLULU — In the beginning, Hawaii was Hawaii. Think Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr on a deserted beach in 1953's "From Here to Eternity," or a surfboard-straddling Elvis Presley in 1961's "Blue Hawaii."
These days, though, this Pacific paradise is used less often for classic island images of breeze-tickled palms and gem-blue waves lapping a pristine beach. Instead, it's posing as a wide range of locales, from Nigeria and the Congo to Brazil and Venezuela.
Since Sept. 11, film and TV casts and crews have increasingly avoided foreign locations perceived as dangerous.
"Every month, people become more reluctant to go to more exotic, less secure places," said Bill Bowling, a veteran Hollywood location manager who has scouted in Hawaii. "Hawaii is situated just extremely well right now."
Hawaii also is more convenient to Hollywood. And for the island itself, playing various roles is good business.
"Hawaii -- for it to be a player in this business -- has to represent itself as more than just Hawaii," said Chris Lee, a former studio executive and producer who is overseeing a new University of Hawaii program that includes film and digital arts. "If you said we're only going to be Hawaii, it's very limiting."