Sci-fi action film "Ghost in the Shell" may be set in the future where robots and humans collide, but the location of the story was inspired by Japan's cities with all of its neon-glowing signages, said The Verge. However, filming actually took place in Hong Kong. But it seemed that no one batted an eyelash that the double for Hong Kong was New Zealand where editors transformed its cities' into Tokyo.
The producers of the new film scouted Hong Kong and Shanghai for scenes that they may adapt in the movie. They did and found another metropolis to shoot their footages in Wellington, New Zealand, noting it to be conducive because of its same geographic features with the Asian country.
"Wellington has a surprisingly similar geography to Hong Kong, with it being built on a harbor surrounded by steep forested hills," Jared Connon, supervising location manager, told KFTV. "Building facades and street surfaces were utilized [in Wellington], but all were heavily enhanced with set dressing, set construction and of course visual effects for all the amazing holographic imagery intrinsic to the story."
Connon and his team have set around 20 film sets in Victoria's street where they planned with local authorities to have a street shut down and divert most traffic elsewhere for two weekends. They also set up a perimeter where people won't be able to take photos or disrupt the filming.
The pubs in the area were closed, and offices were really on a lockdown, said Connon. People who are needed in the area must sign a non-disclosure agreement not to take photos of the filming location and the characters.
In Hong Kong, "Ghost in the Shell" was filmed in Jordan, Yee Wo St., Quarry Bay, Sai Wan Ho and Hong Kong Cultural Centre among many others, said Atlas of Wonders. New Zealand, meanwhile, offers a film-based incentive for foreign productions that also provide economic benefits.