One might think that when a new production plants its roots in New Zealand it might be because of a Lord of the Rings influence. Peter Jackson's trilogy was a huge reason that many films and shows moved to the tiny island nation and filmmakers have admitted to its influence, but an unlikely trendsetter has emerged. For Netflix's upcoming DC Comics adaptation Sweet Tooth the streamer set up shop in the country, but it had nothing to do with capturing the magic of the scenery as seen in Middle-earth, instead it was about replicating the woods found in the 2013 remake of Sam Raimi's Evil Dead. Yes, really.
Speaking with ComicBook.com during the junket for the series (which we rated a 5 out of 5), series showrunner and executive producer Jim Mickle revealed that the decision to shoot in New Zealand was two fold, finding the right weather and capturing one particular look found in Fede Álvarez' Evil Dead. "Originally, it was a very practical decision because we were going to shoot, I think in winter time in the U.S., and suddenly Warner Brothers was like, 'This isn't going to work. We need to find somewhere that's going to be summer right now.' And I always loved how New Zealand looked on camera, and I'm a massive fan of the Evil Dead remake, the way that that looked, the way that the woods looked. And so we got that DP, Aaron Morton, shot our pilot and we shot a lot of those same woods. Because there's a Grimm's fairy tale flavor to the way that everything looks there."
He added, "The reality was by the time we actually shot it was the opposite, and we went back and did summer in the U.S., and we were suddenly shooting there in winter time, but we just embraced it, and it's such a big part of the show."
Filming in New Zealand had another surprise plus for the production as they were able to resume filming thanks to the strict response from the government to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ironically the series also deals with a virus destroying society.
Sweet Tooth stars Christian Convery as Gus, Nonso Anozie as Tommy Jepperd, Adeel Akhtar as Dr. Aditya Singh, Aliza Vellani as Rani Singh, Stefania LaVie Owen as Bear, Dania Ramirez as Aimee Eden, Neil Sandilands as General Abbot, Will Forte as Father, and James Brolin as Narrator.
The first season of Sweet Tooth will be released on Netflix on June 4th.