The Descendants


The Film

The Descendants is a 2011 US Drama film directed by Alexander Payne. The screenplay by Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash is based on the novel of the same name by Kaui Hart Hemmings.

The film stars George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Judy Greer, Matthew Lillard and Beau Bridges, and was released by Fox Searchlight Pictures in the United States on 18 November 2011 after being screened at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival.

Tracing the journey of land baron Matt King, struggling with unexpected occurrences in his monotonous life, The Descendants was released to widespread acclaim from critics and won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, as well as two Golden Globe Awards for Best Picture - Drama and Best Actor - Drama for Clooney.


Matt King (George Clooney) is a Honolulu-based lawyer and the sole trustee of a family trust that controls 25,000 acres of pristine land on the island of Kaua'i. The trust will expire in seven years, so the King family has decided to sell the land to Kaua'i native Don Holitzer for development.

Just before family members are ready to formally endorse the deal, they are hit by a tragedy and a revelation that will change their lives forever.


• George Clooney as Matt King

• Shailene Woodley as Alexandra "Alex" King

• Beau Bridges as Cousin Hugh

• Judy Greer as Julie Speer

• Nick Krause as Sid

• Amara Miller as Scottie King

• Matthew Lillard as Brian Speer

• Robert Forster as Scott Thorson

• Patricia Hastie as Elizabeth King

• Mary Birdsong as Kai Mitchell

• Rob Huebel as Mark Mitchell

• Milt Kogan as Dr. Johnston

• Laird Hamilton as Troy Cook

• Michael Ontkean as Cousin Milo

• Matt Corboy as Cousin Ralph

• Celia Kenney as Reina

The Star

George Timothy Clooney was born 06 May 1961 in Lexington, Kentucky, son of Nick Clooney, a TV newscaster who hosted a talk show in Cincinnati, and nephew of the singer Rosemary Clooney.

George Clooney is known as an actor, film director, producer, and screenwriter. For his work as an actor, he has received an Academy Award and three Golden Globe Awards. He is also noted for his political activism, and has served as one of the United Nations Messengers of Peace since January 2008.

Though he made his acting debut on television in 1978, Clooney gained fame and recognition by portraying Dr. Douglas 'Doug' Ross on the long-running medical drama ER from 1994 to 1999. While working on ER, he started attracting a variety of leading roles in films including Batman & Robin (1997) and Out of Sight (1998), in which he first teamed with long-term collaborator Steven Soderbergh. 1999 saw the release of Three Kings, a well-received war satire set during the Gulf War featuring Clooney in another lead role.

In 2001, Clooney's fame widened with the release of his biggest commercial success, Ocean's Eleven, the first of a profitable film trilogy, a remake of the film from 1960 with the members of The Rat Pack with Frank Sinatra as Danny Ocean.

He made his directorial debut a year later with the 2002 biographical thriller Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, and has since directed Good Night, and Good Luck (2005), Leatherheads (2008), and The Ides of March (2011).

He won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his work in the Middle East thriller Syriana (2005) and subsequently received Best Actor nominations for such films as Michael Clayton (2007), Up in the Air (2009) and The Descendants (2011).

Clooney's humanitarian work includes his advocacy of finding a resolution for the Darfur conflict, raising funds for the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the 2004 Tsunami, and 9/11 victims, and creating documentaries such as Sand and Sorrow to raise awareness about international crises. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.




The film began its on-location shoot in Hawaii on 15 March 2010. Most of the film was shot in Honolulu and around Hanalei Bay.

Underwater photographer Don King filmed a crucial scene where Alex King sinks below the surface of a pool and screams out her grief underwater.

The house used as Matt King's house had one major flaw in that it lacked the banyan tree described in the book; the filmmakers solved the issue by transplanting a banyan.

For the scene where the King family drives up to a ridge to look over their beautiful land, the film used a 3,000-acre private cattle ranch on the south shore of Kauai, Kipu Ranch.

Kaui Hart Hemmings, the author of the novel on which the movie was based, had a cameo as Matt King's secretary.

Post-production began on 14 June 2010, and continued into February 2011. The film screened at the Telluride, Toronto and New York film festivals and was released in the US on 18 November 2011.

The soundtrack uses Hawaiian music, featuring artists including Gabby Pahinui, Ray Kane, Keola Beamer, Lena Machado, Sonny Chillingworth, Jeff Peterson, and Reverend Dennis Kamakahi.