This is a project which demanded location - 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.
Cape Campbell, on the tip of the South Island, is one of the film's most identifiable locations. The Cape Campbell lighthouse sits on a headland above distinctive white cliffs rising from the southern end of Clifford Bay.
"I just looked out and saw this huge lighthouse, which is pretty extraordinary, and the film crew was up on the top, so I started to climb up to the top. And they had timed it so the second I came up there, the sun just popped up over the horizon. It was probably the most extraordinary sunrise I had ever seen. It's not me acting, really, in the film when I see it."
Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula, on the south-east coast of New Zealand's South Island, features in several key scenes including the harbourmaster's house, and Graysmark.
One of New Zealand's oldest and most important settler cities, Dunedin's Scottish heritage is reflected in the architecture, restaurants and bars. Fletcher House, which features as the Harbourmaster House, is a restored Edwardian villa built in 1909.
"I needed to find a town that would give us a lot of interiors and Dunedin just had a rich history to it. We found a lot of homes and locations from the era we needed. When I make movies, I've like never used a green screen really, I don't really try to set up things that don't exist, I try to use things that do exist – try to capture some real life. I'm always trying to find the most honest moment of every scene that I'm doing. I used to make documentaries – that's just the way I'm programmed."
Lighthouse keeper Tom Sherbourne (Michael Fassbender) and radiant, spirited Isabel (Alicia Vikander) live together in married bliss on a remote, rugged island off the coast of Australia. But their windswept world is turned upside down when Isabel learns that she's unable to bear a child. One day, a drifting lifeboat washes ashore with a crying baby in it. The dilemma the couple now face will echo far beyond the island, engulfing and irrevocably impacting their world – and that of a stranger (Rachel Weisz) – in a passionate story about love, hope, and a fateful choice.