Havana Rose Liu as Darby in No Exit. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.
300+ New Zealand crew
40 shooting days
700+ Weta Digital VFX
20+ New Zealand extras
Directed by Damien Power (Killing Ground), key New Zealand creatives included Simon Raby, Director of Photography (Lord of the Rings, Mortal Engines) Gary Mackay, Production Design (Cowboy Bebop, Shadow in the Cloud) , Liz McGregor Costume Designer (6 Days, The New Legends of Monkey), Gabrielle Jones, Hair, Make up and Prosthetics Designer (Shadow in the Cloud) Charlie Tait, Weta Digital (The Falcon and the Winter Solider, The Kings Man).
“I had a wonderful shoot thanks to the talented and tireless NZ crew.”
Filming took place over 40 days and Director Damien Power says the challenge of the set was to make it look real - and keep it visually interesting.
"Director of Photography, Simon Raby, has a painter’s eye, a storyteller’s brain, a sense of humour that comes from years on film sets, and the best shirts on the crew (though VTR Operator Finn Roelants’ shirts deserve an honourable mention). I love the look of the film and I’ll always treasure my collaboration with Simon.”
“I hadn’t shot in New Zealand before, I hadn’t worked with any of the crew before, but it worked out so well. I’d be back to film in New Zealand with the same crew in a heartbeat.”
Power says Production Designer, Gary Mackay, and his team found innovative ways to tackle the many challenges of creating the entire environment indoors, including the visitor centre, car park, the forest and road.
“For example, set designer, Tim Clissold, who used to design yachts, used boat building techniques to fabricate our redwood trees from thin wooden tubes - saving time, money and the environment. During construction, the workshop looked like a sawmill in reverse! At the end of every day of pre-production, I visited the set to watch it grow. It became, as actor David Rhysdahl said, our ‘bloody snow-globe’, a beautiful space to play and make mayhem.
Designing costumes for a contemporary film isn’t as easy as you might think. Especially when the whole story takes place over the course of one night - there are no costume changes to spice things up. Costume designer, Liz McGregor, outfitted our ensemble in the perfect clothes: from a grungy, Patti Smith inspired Darby, to Lars’ daggy knit. Every piece of clothing, right down to the tiniest piece of jewellery, was an opportunity to tell our story.
Actor Havana Lui’s long, long hair plus snow and wind machines, meant hair, make-up and prosthetics designer, Gabrielle Jones, had her work cut out for her from the very first frame. Gabe and her team kept the cast looking consistent and consistently great. And, as the shoot (and the movie) wore on, she kept the wounds fresh and the blood flowing.
Line producer, Annie Weston, almost singlehandedly wrestled the film into existence: she gave me great advice on crew, wrangled every cent out of our budget, and picked me up from quarantine. I’ve never felt so supported.”
Charlie Tait and the team at Weta Digital provided the visual effects.
“So much snow! Plus, seamless mountain vistas and set extensions that gave our film scope and scale. There are over 700 effects shots in the film and hopefully nobody notices a single one.
During pre-production our stunt co-ordinator Jonathan Costello introduced me to the Māori word Mahi-tahi – which means something more than co-operation, something closer to partnership. Everybody working together to achieve the same goal.
I've never felt more mahi-tahi than working with this crew on No Exit. I hope we can do it all again soon.”
A scene from 20th Century Studios' No Exit. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.
“The NZ Screen Production Grant really helped us decide to bring the film to New Zealand.”
About the Film
In No Exit, Havana Rose Liu (Mayday) makes her feature film leading role debut as Darby, a young woman en route to a family emergency who is stranded by a blizzard and forced to find shelter at a highway rest area with a group of strangers. When she stumbles across an abducted girl in a van in the parking lot, it sets her on a terrifying life-or-death struggle to discover who among them is the kidnapper.
Directed by Damien Power (Killing Ground) from a screenplay by Andrew Barrer & Gabriel Ferrari (Ant-Man and the Wasp) based on Taylor Adams’ 2017 novel and produced by PGA Award winner Scott Frank (The Queen’s Gambit), the film stars Havana Rose Liu, Danny Ramirez (The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Top Gun: Maverick), David Rysdahl (Nine Days), Dale Dickey (Winter’s Bone), Mila Harris (Young Dylan) and Dennis Haysbert (24, Heat).
About the New Zealand Screen Production Grant
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.
No Exit is now streaming exclusively on Disney+ under the Star banner.