Netflix’s Atlas: All Filming Locations Explored

‘Atlas’ is a sci-fi action thriller inspired by the video game ‘Titanfall,’ featuring a dichotomous narrative on artificial intelligence. Atlas Shepherd is a data analyst who scorns AI and doesn’t like people much either. She is recruited to capture a deadly android who seeks to end all human conflict by destroying humanity. The robot, Harlan, shares a mysterious past with Atlas and has devastating plans against his creators. Atlas’ mission inadvertently leads her to pilot a mech that crashlands on a cold and hostile planet. The formidable mech comes equipped with an advanced AI, Smith, who is integral to piloting the machine for an untrained Atlas.

The scientist finds herself forced to rely on the very concept she hates. As Atlas begins to fight side by side with Smith, she realizes that the technology she fears may not harbor any inherent malice. Directed by Brad Peyton, the film features a stunning visual tapestry of futuristic cities, a frigid alien world, and vibrant action sequences. Such an eclectic collection of backdrops warrants further investigation into the Netflix movie’s filming locations.

Where Was Atlas Filmed?

‘Atlas’ was primarily shot in a studio in Los Angeles, California, and features environmental shots of Shanghai, China, the UK, and New Zealand. Principal photography began on August 24, 2022, and was wrapped up in about two months by November 19, 2022. Peyton faced challenges when it came to filming sequences in multiple different segments and stitching them together without compromising his vision.

“Man, I would say the biggest challenge was just the fact that this movie was done in pieces,” said Peyton in an interview. “I would have to record Jen in the mech suit, and then I would have to record the environment with certain people in the environment that the mech suit was going to go into. And then I would have to augment that environment and augment Jen and augment those people with visual effects. So a lot of times our shots would be three or four pieces brought together, stitched together, and then augmented again.”

Los Angeles, California

The majority of ‘Atlas’ was filmed in Los Angeles at Quixote Studios. Quixote Studios has multiple sites in Los Angeles, and most of the stages employed by ‘Atlas’ were in its lot situated on 12137 Montague St, Pacoima. The studio boasts 24 stages across six locations in the city. ‘Atlas’ was shot on the large campus, which has stages 11 to 20. Stages 1 to 3 are located in West Hollywood at 1011 North Fuller Avenue.

‘Atlas’ required a controlled environment where complex sequences could be shot in multiple pieces and later be stitched together seamlessly with visual effects. Quixote Studios’ soundstages provided the necessary space and technical infrastructure to achieve this. The stages are equipped with advanced lighting, soundproofing, and rigging capabilities, allowing for the precise control needed for the film’s intricate shots. “This movie was really challenging,” revealed Peyton. “There is Avatar, and there is us in terms of technical complexity. I don’t know if people appreciate it, but that’s just what it is. This movie is so complex and unique, unlike anything I’ve done before.”

Moreover, Quixote Studios is renowned for its comprehensive production support, which includes everything from set construction and design to post-production facilities. For ‘Atlas,’ this meant that elaborate sets, such as the interior of the mech suit, could be built and filmed with a high level of detail. Lead actress Jennifer Lopez shot scenes in the practically built cockpit of the mech suit for five weeks continuously. “It was her in the chair talking to someone who wasn’t there,” said Peyton in the aforementioned interview. “We had a big gimbal that moved and interacted with her movements. I had cameras mounted all around every day for five weeks. With all the different lights, environments, and action.”

Cupertino, California

A second filming unit ventured to Silicon Valley to carry out on-location shooting. The city’s modern architecture, scenic landscapes, and tech-centric environment provide a fitting backdrop for the sci-fi film. Cupertino is famously known as the headquarters of Apple Inc., which contributes to its futuristic and high-tech ambiance.

Other Locations

To capture many of the environments seen in the movie, the production team also traveled to the UK and New Zealand and included some shots of Shanghai, China. When Atlas wakes up in her high-rise apartment, the establishing shots have a skyline that includes some iconic skyscrapers of Shanghai. The tower with “BPTI” written on it is actually the Oriental Pearl Tower. Located at No. 1 Century Avenue, Pudong New Area, it is the world’s third tallest TV and radio tower and offers visitors a spectacular view from its top deck.

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