Movie studio may be hosting first project

Tents and trucks on the Silverlight Studios site in Wānaka yesterday. Recent reports suggest...
Tents and trucks on the Silverlight Studios site in Wānaka yesterday. Recent reports suggest Taika Waititi would be filming his latest Hollywood project in Wānaka this month. PHOTO: REGAN HARRIS
After years of anticipation, the Silverlight Studios lot in Wānaka appears to have begun hosting its very first film project.

The site was a hive of activity yesterday, as catering staff could be seen bustling through a small village of tents with trucks and generators set up roughly 100m off the Wānaka-Luggate Highway.

Viewed from the highway, several vehicles could be seen kicking up dust on the location’s gravel roads, while two dozen more were parked next to the Corbridge Woolshed, an event venue situated on Silverlight land.

Perhaps the largest clue a film project was under way came in the form of a large two-storey home situated more than 500m from the roadside and deep within the 55ha site.

Movie magic appears to have been deployed to create the brown and peach coloured structure, as it does not show up in either Google Earth or Google Street View imagery from October last year.

The development comes after recent speculation that Taika Waititi was set to direct his latest film in Wānaka, an adaptation of the New York Times bestseller Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro.

Set in a dystopian future, the book tells the story of Klara, an artificial intelligence bought by a mother to act as a companion for her sickly teenage daughter, Josie.

A key setting from the book is the family’s homestead, which is located on a remote prairie.

According to film database IMDB, the project’s cast includes up-and-coming star and Emmy nominee Jenna Ortega in the role of Klara and Golden Globe winner and six-time Academy Award nominee Amy Adams as Josie’s mother.

Silverlight Studios co-founder Mike Wallis said he had no comment to make on the activity when approached yesterday.

The commencement of filming at Silverlight would be a positive change in fortune for the studio, which only two weeks ago was revealed to have lost $4.5 million in government funding due to delays in the start of soundstage construction.