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Netflix drama Godless filmed on New Mexico sets

GodlessNetflix’s western drama Godless built major period sets near Santa Fe in New Mexico over an eight-month production process.

The story is set in the 1880s and follows a young outcast who takes refuge from a vicious gang of outlaws by sheltering with a widow and her family in a remote corner of New Mexico.

Much of the story is centred on the fictional town of La Belle, which is populated almost entirely by women, all having been widowed by the same horrific mining accident. 

La Belle was specially built over three months as a set of nearly 30 separate buildings on the grounds of a working ranch, according to the Albuquerque Journal.

“It was always New Mexico,” said Scott Frank, writer, director and executive producer of Godless, in comments to the outlet.

“What’s so funny is back in 2004 it wasn’t economically feasible to film in New Mexico. We looked at Calgary and the like. As you know, a lot of people began filming in New Mexico and it became the option for us to get this made.

“These areas haven’t been in too many films. That was one of the pluses [of] being in New Mexico. Not only is the area gorgeous – it upped the possibilities of what we wanted to do.”

New Mexico is among the most popular parts of the US for desert settings due to its generous incentive support and studio facilities. The state has hosted numerous westerns in recent years, including Vincent D’Onofrio’s The Kid and Scott Cooper’s upcoming movie Hostiles, headlined by Christian Bale.

Filming in New Mexico soared by 30% in the 2016-17 financial year, according to official figures.

See KFTV's production guide for more on filming in New Mexico.

Main page and article images: James Minchin/Ursula Coyote/Netflix