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Ghost in the Shell cast pick favourite Wellington spots

Cast members from the Ghost in the Shell film have put together their own list of Wellington’s coolest top nine experiences.

After several months filming in the capital the city became a home-away-from-home for many cast members with the majority of the film shot in Wellington.

In a release issued today from Paramount Pictures and Dreamworks, cast members Chin Han, Danusia Samal, Lasarus Ratuere, Tawanda Manyimo and Yutaka Izumihara share their list of Wellington’s must-do experiences.

Rebecca Ingram, Tourism New Zealand’s General Manager, PR and Major Events says: “Leading actors talking about the exceptional tourism activities they experience in New Zealand has proven to have a powerful influence on tourism.”

She says that working with the NZ Film Commission at the point of film negotiation means Tourism New Zealand can capitalise on the opportunities generated.

“We know from research that films influence where people choose to travel. When films are produced in New Zealand it provides an opportunity for Tourism New Zealand to gain access to quality content, marketing opportunities and high impact media channels to promote New Zealand as a tourism destination,” she said.

Ghost in the Shell cast member Danusia Samal said Wellington was great, with everything so close and the people so friendly. “We have been able to walk everywhere, soak up the city’s creative atmosphere and see it all.”  

Here’s the group’s top nine experiences: 

  1. Zealandia Eco Sanctuary – a few minutes by car from downtown Wellington and nestled in a forested valley, Zealandia is a world-leading eco-sanctuary that’s home to some of New Zealand’s rarest native birds and creatures. Visitors can see New Zealand’s 'living fossil’ the tuatara and threatened bird species such as the flightless kiwi. The supporting cast recommends Zealandia as its number one Wellington must-do.
  2. Mt  Victoria – panoramic views of Wellington including the harbour and city centre, as well as the Miramar Peninsula where much of Ghost in the Shell has been filmed. Visitors can walk to the top, or do as Section 9 did and picnic at the lookout point.
  3. Café culture –scores of cafés in dozens of different guises dispense a special blend of coffee and Wellington hospitality.  Zumo Coffee is a favourite of some of the cast.
  4. Seal Coast Safari –Tours take visitors to Wellington’s rugged coast line, with sublime views across to the South Island, and the chance of a close-up encounter with New Zealand fur seals. Members of Section 9 did the tour together, then stopped off on the way home at Garage Project brewery bar.   
  5. Crocodile bikes –a  fun way to explore downtown Wellington’s harbour fringe.    Cast members raced each other around the waterfront, on these 4 and 6-seater pedalled contraptions and tried Kiwi ice cream at the Enormous Crocodile Company’s parlour.
  6. World-class restaurants – Wellington is renowned for sophisticated food and has more places to eat and drink per capita than New York. Ortega Fish Shack, Crabshack and Dockside were all regular dining out spots for cast and crew, who couldn’t get enough of the fresh local seafood including mussels, oysters and fish.
  7. Wellington Cable Car – the Cable Car runs from Lambton Quay in the commercial heart of the city and emerges at the top of the Botanic Gardens, over 26 hectares of specialist gardens, native bush and lawn areas.
  8. Local culture and arts – Wellington is known as New Zealand’s arts and culture capital and is home to numerous galleries and museums, including Te Papa Tongarewa - the national museum of New Zealand.
  9. Cuba Street –the funky heart of Wellington, a vibrant part-pedestrian precinct with eclectic shopping, restaurants and street entertainment. The cast regularly shopped at Cuba St and visited the food stalls at the Wellington night market.

A Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks Pictures and Reliance Entertainment production, “GHOST IN THE SHELL,” starring Scarlett Johansson and directed by Rupert Sanders, recently completed filming in Wellington, New Zealand, before continuing in Hong Kong.  Paramount Pictures will release the film in the U.S. on March 31, 2017.

The film, which is based on the famous Kodansha Comics manga series of the same name, written and illustrated by Masamune Shirow, is produced by Avi Arad (“THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 1 & 2,” “IRON MAN”), Ari Arad (“GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE”), and Steven Paul (“GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE”). Michael Costigan (“PROMETHEUS”) Tetsu Fujimura (“TEKKEN”), Mitsuhisa Ishikawa, whose animation studio Production I.G produced the Japanese "GHOST IN THE SHELL” film and television series, and Jeffrey Silver (“EDGE OF TOMORROW,” “300”) will executive produce.

Based on the internationally-acclaimed sci-fi property, “GHOST IN THE SHELL” follows the major, a special ops, one-of-a-kind human-cyborg hybrid, who leads the elite task force Section 9. Devoted to stopping the most dangerous criminals and extremists, Section 9 is faced with an enemy whose singular goal is to wipe out Hanka Robotic’s advancements in cyber technology.

The cast of “GHOST IN THE SHELL” includes "Beat" Takeshi Kitano (“MERRY CHRISTMAS, MR. LAWRENCE,” “BATTLE ROYALE” series) as Daisuke Aramaki, Juliette Binoche (“THE ENGLISH PATIENT,” “CHOCOLAT”) as Dr. Ouelet, Michael Pitt (“Hannibal,” “Boardwalk Empire”) as Kuze, Pilou Asbæk (“BEN-HUR,” “LUCY”) as Batou, and Kaori Momoi (“MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA,” “HONG KONG CONFIDENTIAL”). The members of Section 9 are played by Chin Han (“INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE”), Danusia Samal (“Tyrant”), Lasarus Ratuere (“Terra Nova”), Yutaka Izumihara (“UNBROKEN”) and Tuwanda Manyimo (“THE ROVER”).

The film’s crew includes Cinematographer Jess Hall (“THE SPECTACULAR NOW”), Editor Neil Smith (“SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN”), Production Designer Jan Roelfs (“FAST & FURIOUS 6”), and Costume Designers Kurt Swanson and Bart Mueller (“THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PARTS 1& 2”).


About Paramount Pictures Corporation

Paramount Pictures Corporation (PPC), a global producer and distributor of filmed entertainment, is a unit of Viacom (NASDAQ: VIAB, VIA), a leading content company with prominent and respected film, television and digital entertainment brands. Paramount controls a collection of some of the most powerful brands in filmed entertainment, including Paramount Pictures, Paramount Animation, Paramount Television, Paramount Vantage, Paramount Classics, Insurge Pictures, MTV Films, and Nickelodeon Movies. PPC operations also include Paramount Home Media Distribution, Paramount Pictures International, Paramount Licensing Inc., and Paramount Studio Group.

About DreamWorks Pictures

DreamWorks Pictures is a production label of Amblin Partners, a content creation company formed by the former DreamWorks Studios, Participant Media, Reliance Entertainment and Entertainment One (eOne). The company develops and produces films using the Amblin, DreamWorks Pictures and Participant banners and includes Amblin Television, a longtime leader in quality programming. The company’s first film, “Bridge of Spies,” was released to critical acclaim in October 2015.  Other projects in various stages of production include: “The Light Between Oceans,” scheduled for release by Disney in 2016; “The Girl on the Train,” scheduled for release in October 2016; ; “A Dog’s Purpose,” “Ghost in the Shell” and “Thank You For Your Service” all scheduled for release in 2017; and “Ready Player One,” a co-production between Amblin Partners and Warner Bros. Pictures that is scheduled to be released in 2018.  Current and upcoming shows from Amblin TV include “All the Way,” an HBO movie directed by Jay Roach and starring Bryan Cranston; and “American Gothic,” a summer series that will air on CBS.

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