26 March 2020

Wellington, New Zealand

The American movie GHOST IN THE SHELL is based on the Japanese manga of the same name and is set in the near future. The comic strip previously inspired animated films and television series, this is the first live action adaptation.

Ghost in the Shell, 1:37:24
After Mira Killian (Scarlett Johansson) has been seriously injured during an cyberterrorist attack, her brain is placed in an artificial body, the 'shell' from the title. Because she knows little about her past, she is chosen by her 'designer', Dr. Ouelet (Juliette Binoche) from Hanka Robotics, to fight crime. Within a year she has obtained the rank of Major and heads the Task Force Section 9 Police Unit.
The story is set in the fictional New Port City, modeled after existing cities such as Tokyo, Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. In June 2016, a few scenes were filmed in Hong Kong.

The major part of the film was made in Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, where principal photography began on 1 February and ended on 3 June 2016. The financially favourable environment of New Zealand has made it appealing for foreign productions to film here.

Wellington, 6 January 2020
The success of The Lord of the Rings allowed the Stone Street Studios, where the trilogy was shot, to be expanded. The nearby Weta Workshop specializes in (digital) visual effects, props and set design. Both facilities were used for Ghost in the Shell.
Wellington has been nicknamed Wellywood thanks to the increasing number of film productions. With a nod to the well-known Hollywood sign, the name Wellington was placed in the hills of the Miramar district on 27 July 2012 in the same style. The last three letters appear to be blown away, a reference to the frequent strong wind in the city.

The Weta Workshop offers guided tours, but due to copyright reasons - there may be work on films that are in development - it is not allowed to take photos. It is allowed to photograph in the small souvenir shop Weta Cave where some props are on display, including the masks of the geisha cyborgs.

Ghost in the Shell, 0:09:20
Weta Cave, Wellington, 6 January 2020

Except in the studio there was also filmed in the streets of Wellington. At the beginning of Victoria Street, a scene was shot in which a garbage truck deliberately causes a collision with the car of Dr. Ouelet. There are many digital additions and adjustments, but the parking garage on the left and the two buildings to the right of the middle can still be recognized.

Ghost in the Shell, 0:44:54
Victoria Street, Wellington, 6 January 2020

Scarlett Johansson was photographed at Seatoun Wharf during her stay in Wellington.

Scarlett Johansson, Seatoun Wharf, Wellington
Seatoun Wharf, Wellington, 23 January 2020

Screenshots © Paramount Pictures/DreamWorks Pictures/Reliance Entertainment
Photo Scarlett Johansson © Jasin Boland