New Netflix fantasy series Sweet Tooth is set in a verdant post-apocalyptic North America (specifically places like Essex County and Yellowstone National Park) – but in real life, deer-boy Gus (Christian Convery who leads the Sweet Tooth cast) and his friends were strolling around New Zealand, which doubled for an overgrown US.
“We looked into New Zealand and after shooting that first episode, it's like, there was just no other place that we wanted to be,” executive producer Susan Downey told RadioTimes.com.
“Everything seems a little brighter and bigger than real life. And so it made for the perfect setting for this adventure and the crew. It was amazing. I mean, everybody fell in love with it.”
“Originally, we were only going to do the pilot there, just to sort of establish a great, big look, and then do the show somewhere in North America,” added co-showrunner Jim Mickle, noting that this first episode was shot in 2019.
“But I think within a week or two, it was like, ‘You can’t do this show anywhere else. We’ve got to come back here.’ And then it wound up being, obviously, the best place during COVID.”
Check out more details of Sweet Tooth filming in New Zealand below.
Where was Sweet Tooth filmed?
Sweet Tooth filmed in a variety of locations around New Zealand, mostly around the South Island and Auckland, with the latter including the ‘Animal Army’ headquarters, filmed at an actual amusement park called Rainbow’s End.
“We shot it in New Zealand, we shot it kind of all around the South Island and Auckland,” Downey told us. “And it was an incredible place to shoot. I mean, you know, look, that place in and of itself feels like a fairy tale.”
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Why was Sweet Tooth filmed in New Zealand?
The production team apparently fell in love with New Zealand’s look, which they felt perfectly matched the mood of the story they were telling.
“When we were building our production plan, I don't think we immediately knew because it wasn't like set in New Zealand or anything,” Downey said. “But we knew we wanted something that offered incredible production value.”
“I really love the way that stuff looked that was shot there – you know, because of A) the locations, but also there’s just the way that the light falls that’s interesting, you know?” added Mickle.
“And the craftmanship of, you know, the cinematographers and the designers. I was always enchanted by the idea of doing something there.
“We brought it up really early in the process because we were like, ‘We need to find somewhere that has a fairy tale America kind of thing.’ That is kind of the definition of the look there.”
“The production value, you know, it’s unlike anything else,” agreed co-showrunner Beth Schwartz. “It has the beautiful landscapes. You just get so much out of shooting there.”
While many of the team had been keen on New Zealand as a location for some time, others took some convincing. And apparently, what finally swung it was something very simple – the weather.
“At first, I think it made everyone’s head explode, the idea of getting up and going to this tiny island,” co-showrunner Jim Mickle told RadioTimes.com.
“And then we lucked out because when we were going to shoot the pilot, it was actually the wrong season in North America to shoot it.
"Suddenly, we were like, 'Well, you know where we can go?' And everybody felt that was a good idea. And we got all ready. And then we got delayed by like six months. And we actually filmed with the opposite problem.
"But by then, we’d fallen in love with it so much, and we ended up going."
Sweet Tooth is now streaming on Netflix - if you want to find out more about the series, you can read our Sweet Tooth review. Want something else to watch? Check out our Sci-Fi and Fantasy pages or our full TV Guide.