Much before the ‘Fast & Furious’ franchise catapulted Vin Diesel into unparalleled fame, ‘Pitch Black’ served as the actor’s breakthrough role. Directed by renowned director David Twohy, the 2000 sci-fi movie is set in the great beyond and traces the journey of an unlikely group of people sent into the future on a spaceship as they navigate their way through photosensitive creatures, dangerous eclipses, and celestial attacks. With Vin Diesel’s character Riddick being sent out to a prison in space to an Imam and his followers traversing another lane, the group sets out to reach different locations when disaster strikes.
Much before the crew can arrive at their desired destination, the spaceship is hit by debris from a comet and ends up landing on a desert planet with multiple suns and a different temperature and climatic cycle. With an opening that sets the tenor for its audience, the shot of a monumental ship in interstellar space is just one of the many things that are astounding throughout the film. Starring Diesel, Radha Mitchell, Coe Hauser, and Keith David, the visual spectacle is set in the future in outer space, making many wonder where the unique sequences of ‘Pitch Black’ was actually shot. If you’re curious about the same, we’ve got your back. Here’s everything you need to know!
Pitch Black Filming Locations
The principal photography of ‘Pitch Black’ took place extensively in several parts of northeastern and Southern Australia, particularly in Coober Pedy and Queensland. A portion of interior shots and miniature photography was done in a production facility in the city of Los Angeles in Southern California. Filming reportedly commenced on March 13, 1999, and concluded after nearly 4 months on July 30 of the same year. Now, without much delay, let us traverse through the locations that actually aided in creating the Mars-scape in the science fiction horror film!
Coober Pedy South Australia
To exemplify the hot desert conditions, Coober Pedy, a small town in the outbacks of Southern Australia, was chosen to accurately display the movie’s desert planet landscape. Originally an opal mining town, Coober Pedy was far from the hot desert it seemed in the movie. Instead, the movie was shot in ten degrees Celsius weather, and attention to detail was made to make it seem that the actors were sweating.
From misting water on the actors consistently to the lighting team setting numerous 5k lights much before filming to warm up the set, the filming was done under strenuous climatic conditions.
Director David Twohy envisaged a unique look for his set, one that would perfectly encapsulate and coalesce the elements in a strange manner. To that end, the mining town of Coober Pedy served as the ideal location. Moreover, the rocky terrain of the Lunar Plains served as the perfect rendition of the moon’s rocky surface.
Glimpses of the movie are still etched in the Australian outbacks. With a full-size spaceship sitting out in the wide expanse of Coober Peddy even today, people come from far and beyond to behold the spectacle. Even marked on Google Maps, the life-sized spaceship has attracted aficionados and cineasts for more than two decades.
Moon Plain, South Australia
The uneven terrain and rocky surfaces that resonate with the structure of a desert planet were supplied in abundance at the Moon Plain in Southern Australia. In addition to emanating the rocky surface of the moon, the wide expanse lying northeast of Coober Peddy in Southern Australia also brought weather delays for the production team. With only sixty days mapped out for shooting, the additional delays provided by unlikely weather meant that the team also had to rely heavily on stage.
With no vegetation or man in sight, the endless expanse of the Moon Plains became the perfect location to add an eerieness to David Twohy’s masterpiece. Embodying the essence of a psycho-convict through a coarse voice and bulging presence, Vin Diesel had viewers on the edge of their seats through his portrayal of Riddick. It is, as such, impossible to imagine that the movie originally titled Nightfall could have otherwise focused on a female outlaw hailing from an interstellar tribe of barbarians who’d protect herself from ghosts instead of aliens.
Stage 5 Village Roadshow Studios, Oxenford Queensland
To bring David Twohy’s vision to life, most interior sequences of the movie were shot at the Village Roadshow Studios in Queensland. Shots of a complex star system, climatic changes, and an underground brewing ecosystem of aliens, are a testament to the creativity and extent of imagination brought forth by the production team.
Surfers Paradise, Queensland Australia
Adding an element of astounding presence, the outbacks of Queensland helped create the perfect illusion of a desert planet for the team. From the scenes that begin in deep space to the manhunt that takes place on a desert planet, ‘Pitch Black’ managed to encapsulate not just the monsters that could originate amongst us but also the monsters that exist within. Over time, movies like Elvis (2022), Thor: Ragnarok (2017), and Aquaman (2018) have been filmed in the scenic expanse of Queensland.
New Deal Studios, Los Angeles, California USA
4105 Redwood Avenue has been the epicentre for several oeuvres and continue to lend it’s magnificent production value to the vision of the directors. Used to shoot miniature photography and the spaceship crash, the New Deal Studios were one of the main locations adding more mystery to the storyline.
Locations like Breakaways Reserve, Oxenford, and Lunar Plains served as the perfect location to represent bloodthirsty creatures and a fast-paced story signifying courage and morality. As such, it is no surprise that the movie, shot in the outbacks of Southern Australia, continues to enthrall viewers even years later.