80% NZ Cast, 52 cast members were New Zealanders.
95% NZ Crew, 438 crew were New Zealnders.
28 NZ HODs
Starring New Zealand-raised actress Stefania LaVie Owen as Becky (aka Bear).
100% shot in New Zealand.
Shot on location in Auckland, Waikato and Otago.
72 sets built for Season 1.
135 total shoot days.
Three episodes directed by New Zealanders:
Toa Fraser (Dead Lands) 2 eps and Robyn Grace (Guns Akimbo) 1 ep.
New Zealand Producer:
New Zealander Min Windle.
New Zealander Amanda Neale.
Director of Photography:
New Zealanders Aaron Morton (1 ep), Dave Garbett (4 eps), John Cavill (3 eps).
Hair & Make up Designer:
New Zealanders Dannelle Satherley (1 ep), Stef Knight (7 eps).
New Zealanders Russell Barnes (1 ep) and Nick Bassett (7 eps).
NZ Vendors: 1,400
"New Zealand offered the perfect setting. We came here and shot the pilot and immediately fell in love. We knew what Sweet Tooth was, but being in New Zealand made us fully understand it. The magical beauty of New Zealand is otherworldly.”
About shooting in New Zealand
The pilot for Sweet Tooth was written and shot well before the coronavirus pandemic, but the team suddenly found themselves making a show that felt unexpectedly timely. Executive Producer/Writer/Director/Co-Showrunner Jim Mickle and Executive Producer/Writer/Co-Showrunner Beth Schwartz, and the writers were about two months into writing the season’s scripts in March 2020 when COVID-19 began shutting down parts of the US. The team returned to New Zealand in 2020 to shoot the remainder of the season and adhered to strict COVID-19 safety protocols.
Mickle says of the story’s real-life similarities, “Making television is such a labour and time intensive process, and sometimes when you jump into a story that has big themes and big messages, the world ends up mirroring and echoing the story. Crazily enough, the real world chased so much of what we address in this show — and what the comics addressed more than 10 years ago. Life keeps mirroring art, and vice versa.”
Despite its prescient parallels to the real world, Mickle believes Sweet Tooth will offer the whole family a fun escape. “We want people to come into this world where there’s beauty and hope and adventure. This is a sweeping story — we ride on trains, climb mountaintops, run through forests. This is a show about what makes a family, what home really means, and why it’s important to keep faith in humanity.”
“Filming in New Zealand gave us a really beautiful and exaggerated landscape that played perfectly into the look we were going for, because unlike many post-apocalyptic stories where everything’s kind of gray and dusty with crumbling buildings, the central idea for Sweet Tooth was that nature was reclaiming everything. We created this idea of “storybook dystopia,”meaning everything had to be lush and green and heightened. The setting was absolutely perfect for the storytelling.”
“We had the benefit of not only assembling this incredible group of craftsmen behind the scenes, but we have these super talented actors in front of the camera and this lush, like crazy, production value that New Zealand offers. So I think all of those things are very appealing. And I think that there is a sense of adventure and a bit of mystery that I think an audience is craving right now. A little bit of an escapism.”
About Sweet Tooth
Ten years ago “The Great Crumble” wreaked havoc on the world and led to the mysterious emergence of hybrids — babies born part human, part animal. Unsure if hybrids are the cause or result of the virus, many humans fear and hunt them. After a decade of living safely in his secluded forest home, a sheltered hybrid deer-boy named Gus (Christian Convery) unexpectedly befriends a wandering loner named Jepperd (Nonso Anozie). Together they set out on an extraordinary adventure across what’s left of America in search of answers— about Gus' origins, Jepperd's past, and the true meaning of home. But their story is full of unexpected allies and enemies, and Gus quickly learns the lush, dangerous world outside the forest is more complex than he ever could have imagined. Based on the DC comic book series by Jeff Lemire, Sweet Tooth is executive produced by Jim Mickle, Beth Schwartz, Susan Downey, Robert Downey, Jr., Amanda Burrell, and Linda Moran. It was produced in New Zealand by Mel Turner.
The New Zealand Screen Production Grant (NZSPG) for International Productions is part of the New Zealand Government’s screen incentives scheme, which includes the Post, Digital and Visual Effects (PDV) Grant. Eligible productions can access a cash rebate on Qualifying New Zealand Production Expenditure (QNZPE).
The baseline International grant is 20% of QNZPE. For PDV productions, the grant is 20% of QNZPE up to NZ$25million, thereafter 18% of QNZPE NZ$25million and above.
Sweet Tooth debuts on Netflix June 4 2021 at 7pm NZT.