A-list actor and X-Men star Michael Fassbender will touch down in Blenheim next month to begin filming a new movie at an undisclosed location in Marlborough.
Fassbender will star alongside actress Alicia Vikander in the film The Light Between Oceans, a DreamWorks Studios' adaptation of a book by M L Stedman. Oscar winner Rachel Weisz will also star in the film.
The movie is in pre-production and filming is due to start in Marlborough at the end of September. Scenes will also be filmed in Otago and Tasmania.
The movie is about a young lighthouse keeper and his wife who live on a remote island off Western Australia following World War I.
They find a boat washed ashore carrying a dead man and a 2-year-old child. The couple decide they will raise the child as their own but the consequences of their choice are devastating.
The film will be directed by Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine, The Place Beyond the Pines) and co-produced by Heyday Films' David Heyman, who produced all eight Harry Potter films, and Jeffrey Clifford (No Strings Attached, Up in the Air).
Speaking from Wellington yesterday, Clifford said he was "thrilled" to be shooting a film in New Zealand.
Clifford and his family arrived in the country about a month ago and had been enjoying city life in Wellington before starting work on set.
He will head to Marlborough in the second week of September, a week after the star-studded cast.
While he would not disclose the exact location of the film, he said the particular area of Marlborough was chosen because it was "wonderfully timeless".
"This is a project which demanded location - a location that can take it back in time because it's set in the 1920s and it needed to give a sense of the end of the Earth. We needed one little spot and we found that.
"We knew early in the process we wanted to look in New Zealand. There is a richness of culture, a richness of architecture and a richness of landscape. We are very lucky."
Scenes making up half the movie would be filmed in Marlborough over a 4 -week period, he said.
About 70 cast and crew members are involved with the film, he said.
LBO Productions supervising location manager Jared Connon said they were in the planning and logistics stage.
On location they had been removing vehicle tracks and taking out fences to create a 1920s scene, he said.
"We want to recreate that [1920s] look as much as possible . . . so it's just a bit of aesthetic enhancement."
DreamWorks Studios production president Holly Bario said she wanted to thank Film New Zealand for their assistance.
"It was important to find the perfect locations to help fulfil our director's vision for the film and we couldn't be more excited to be filming in New Zealand and Australia."
Film New Zealand chief executive Gisella Carr said the country was delighted to welcome DreamWorks Studios to the country back and see the production working in a variety of centres across the South Island.
"The production coming here is the result of successful collaboration between a range of agencies including Marlborough District Council, Film Otago Southland and Film New Zealand working together with the producers."
- The Marlborough Express