Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland will tomorrow celebrate with fans around the world the premiere of Netflix original series Cowboy Bebop, an action-packed space western brought to life with the help of Auckland’s talented screen industry.
A live-action version of the cult Japanese animated science fiction series of the same name, the 10-episode first season of Cowboy Bebop was filmed at 185 different sets and locations across the region in 186 days, from July 2019 through to March 2021.
A team of screen attraction specialists at the region’s economic and cultural agency Auckland Unlimited (then Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development) and the New Zealand Film Commission helped bring the first Netflix original series to be filmed in New Zealand to the region.
Cowboy Bebop follows the adventures of a ragtag group of bounty hunters chasing down criminals across the solar system. It stars John Cho, Mustafa Shakir, Daniella Pineda, Alex Hassell and Elena Satine, and is a co-production between Netflix and Tomorrow Studios (a partnership between Marty Adelstein and ITV Studios).
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says, “It’s great that Auckland’s screen industry was able to help make this series a reality. Our screen sector is world-class and brings high-paid, highly skilled jobs to the city as well as creating an international profile for Auckland.
“The sector has a proven track record of attracting international leaders in content production—such as Netflix—to our region. I hope the new Cowboy Bebop series is enjoyed by its many fans in New Zealand and around the world.”
Showrunner and Executive Producer André Nemec says shooting in Auckland “just felt right” and applauded the level of screen sector skill in the region.
“Before this show, I’d never shot in New Zealand before. The level of artistry and craftsmanship among the people who work in the industry is outstanding. From the department heads down, there is so much love put into and pride put into everything delivered, both in front of and behind the camera,” says André Nemec.
Pam Ford, Auckland Unlimited Director Industry and Investment says, “A big congratulations to Netflix from Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland for a very cool new production and the vision to bring it to life in our backyard.
“As the global demand for content continues to increase, Cowboy Bebop is a great example of how Auckland helps meet this need, in turn bringing valuable direct spend, keeping our expert crews in jobs, and supporting the hundreds of local companies that supply the screen industry.”
David Strong, CEO New Zealand Film Commission says the creativity and innovation of the screen sector alongside the Screen Production Grant continue to be key drivers in attracting exciting projects such as Cowboy Bebop.
“We are thrilled to have worked with Netflix to bring Cowboy Bebop to New Zealand. Productions like these provide huge employment opportunities as well as economic benefits to not only the screen sector but New Zealand as a whole,” says David Strong.
The production was based in East Tāmaki warehousing fitted out by Netflix to meet its studio needs under licence with Auckland Unlimited, which leases and operates the site for screen production.
The intergalactic adventures of bounty hunters Spike Spiegel, Jet Black and Faye Valentine were also filmed on location across the region including: Waitawa Regional Park, Monte Cecilia Park, Te Ōnewa Pā / Stokes Point Northcote Reserve, Onehunga Wharf, Auckland Museum, St Matthew-in-the-City, and a number of inner-city streets.
Pam Ford says Cowboy Bebop is a testament to how collaboration between Netflix and Auckland stakeholders overcame potential challenges about on-location filming – helping ensure a successful outcome for the production, the local community and its people.
“Cowboy Bebop was filmed at diverse locations, from one of our region’s stunning regional parks to bustling central city streets. Netflix, iwi, Auckland Transport, Regional Parks and Eke Panuku Development worked closely together to ensure Netflix could deliver a show that not only respects Auckland’s unique environment but could be brought to life during major infrastructure projects in the central city,” says Pam Ford.
The first season of Cowboy Bebop will stream on Netflix from Friday, 19 November.