One Percent Problems

Hawaiians Prepare for Inevitable Larry Ellison Movie ‘I Bought an Island’

Alternative title: “Tilting at Windmills”
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George as Captain Larry, god willing. (Photo: IMDB)

Oracle CEO and New York Times-approved eligible bachelor Larry Ellison bought 98 percent of the Hawaiian island Lanai a couple months ago, making him the proud owner of two Four Seasons resorts, a solar farm, a pair of championship golf courses, the firstborn of every female citizen and 10 grass-skirt-bearing virgins.

Thus the Times sent one intrepid reporter down to Hawaii to ask the residents of Lanai how they feel about their new bearded overlord. And their passionate, tension-filled responses sound not unlike the rough draft of next summer’s feel-good land baron dramedy.

Take, for example, the island’s fraught history with its previous billionaire owners, who turned the place into a pineapple plantation and then a failed tourist experiment. One feisty resident, Sally Kaye, referenced the predicament in an open letter to Mr. Ellison:

She described Lanai as an island that had “been owned and exploited by one really rich guy or another” for 150 years and whose residents live in a “medieval lord-of-the-manor system of control.”

All the class oppression of a period piece, only with more relatable outfits!

Ms. Kaye is the wife of one of the opponents of the latest scheme to save the economically troubled island: a field of 45-foot turbine windmills so that Lanai can produce energy to sell to nearby Oahu. The windmills will be built over the wilderness of the island’s beautiful bluffs and beaches so, boom, you got your Avatar-esque environmental anxiety right there, not to mention the family drama.

“It’s awful, just awful,” said Robin Kaye, one of the opponents, sweeping his arm across the land where the windmills would rise, a tumble of otherworldly rock formations framed by views across the Pacific to Maui and Molokai. “There are families who won’t talk to each other anymore. It has really ripped us up.”

Early signs point to Mr. Ellison, a yachting enthusiast, playing the role of benevolent benefactor, captivated by the 141 square acres he just added to his portfolio.

Mr. Ellison’s associates describe him as drawn by the romantic mystery of a secluded island and said it was unlikely that he would embark on any project that might alter its character. His assistants have told people here that he intends to do a major renovation on the two resorts, suggesting that he sees the island’s future in tourism, and described this as “a passion purchase.”

Then all you need is a comely native love interest to neg him into becoming a better man by preserving her childhood home. Our money is on Rashida Jones.

Follow Nitasha Tiku on Twitter or via RSS. ntiku@observer.com