“Who knew that New Zealand was the best place in the modern world to shoot a western…” – The Santa Barbara Independent
“The ravishing New Zealand landscape portrays the American West…a promising frontier…” – The New York Times
“New Zealand, which has the perfect mix of arid desolation and rough, frontier terrain to flawlessly mimic the American Southwest.” – Ain’t It Cool News
“The visually arresting vistas of New Zealand’s Central Otago region…New Zealand was the perfect choice of location for this film. The area has remained relatively untouched, its emptiness and isolation lending the film a particularly special ‘Western’ feel.” – Moving Pictures Magazine
“…jam-packed with the stunning vistas that typify any self respecting Western. But this goes a bit further than just self-respecting and delves pretty deeply into comedy while exploring the clichés of the old West…” – Santa Barbara Independent
“…a dusty wild, wild West outpost (courtesy of dramatic Central Otago in NZ’s South Island)” – The Hollywood Reporter
After three consecutive years of location scouting during their annual Christmas break from Weta Digital, Wallis and Rademeyer headed south with a crew of 18 into the McKenzie Country and Central Otago. The area, in the centre of the South Island of New Zealand, had starred as a backdrop in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Now it was time for the landscape to shine as the High Sierras.
The farmers in these areas were incredibly supportive and allowing filming on their land in exchange for beer. Animal Trainer Mark Kinaston-Smith also got local musterers on board as riding doubles for the Posse.
Director of Photography Mathew Knight was well experienced at shooting in the area for documentaries and commercials and was excited to be back. “It is most certainly one of the most beautiful parts of New Zealand,” he says. “The clean, empty landscapes are world-class. A lot of the style of the camera work is very simple and while we had a small crew, we were in the right location.”
The production even secured a genuine locomotive steam engine (the Kingston Flyer) and a herd of bison (American Buffalo). “It was rather terrifying riding a horse through the group of bison,” admits Rademeyer. “Mark told me we wouldn’t be able to outrun them if they charge, suddenly it felt very much like the wild West!”