Berlin filming for The Girl in the Spider’s Web

Thriller The Girl in the Spider’s Web filmed Berlin as Stockholm for a story featuring fictional hacker Lisbeth Salander.

Thriller The Girl in the Spider’s Web filmed Berlin as Stockholm for a story featuring fictional hacker Lisbeth Salander.

British actor Claire Foy plays Salander in a story that pitches the character against a disparate network of Stockholm’s spies, hackers and corrupt government officials.

Berlin filming for The Girl in the Spider’s Web
The Girl in the Spider's Web

Directed by Fede Alvarez, the film is an adaptation of the book by David Lagercrantz featuring characters originally created by the late novelist Stieg Larsson for his Millennium trilogy of books.

“We scouted Stockholm, Prague and Berlin,” says Elizabeth Cantillon, a producer on The Girl in the Spider’s Web, in an interview with Location Managers Guild International (LMGI).

“Berlin was the most production-friendly and had a number of great locations that could stand in for Stockholm. Studio Babelsberg also had full-service studio facilities and there’s a tax incentive that helped us make the film at a budget.”

Klaus Darrelmann worked with Cantillon as the film’s location manager and tells LMGI that Alvarez sought a grittier urban landscape that was more readily available in Berlin.

“Stockholm is very clean,” Darrelmann tells the organisation. “Fede Alvarez wanted to look at gritty, dirty locations. He wanted clean and shiny areas as well, but in general the more rundown the look the better. He didn’t want to portray Stockholm as it is. That’s why he went to Berlin.”

In the story, Salander crosses paths with a collection of wealthy individuals, but depicting this world of high-powered corruption created challenges for a film with a rumoured budget of around $43m. Alvarez preferred to shoot on location – rather than building apartments or office settings on stages – but this meant less control and sometimes tricky negotiations to get access to high-end properties.

The Girl in the Spider's Web

One of the story’s most distinct interior locations is a renowned Berlin penthouse apartment (pictured above) that in real life is owned by German advertising guru Christian Boros.

Originally built as a bunker complex during the Second World War, the building has since been converted into a luxury residence and art gallery, and features in The Girl in the Spider’s Web as the home of a businessman who suffers a visit from Salander.

Lacking the resources to build a replica of the location, Darrelmann and his team got permission to shoot there, but only for a fraction of the time they requested.

In other locations, crew access and minimising disruption to neighbouring residents became persistent challenges to manage.

Key locations outside the capital included a slate quarry near the town of Lehesten in central Germany that was used for a mountainous rural setting that book-ends the story.

The Girl in the Spider's Web

Four days of filming took place in Stockholm to help establish the story’s setting in a few shots in the finished movie.

“We filmed Lisbeth Salander on her motorbike near the waterfront,” says Eve Stewart, the movie’s production designer, in comments to LMGI. “We also shot quite a lot by the harbour just because you could see the city in the distance and we needed to get some sea.”

Studio Babelsberg near Berlin is Germany’s main international production hub and regularly co-produces Hollywood shoots.

All three of Larsson’s original Millennium novels have been adapted into movies in Denmark, helping launch Noomi Rapace’s international career. Director David Fincher adapted The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in 2011, with US actor Rooney Mara as Salander.

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

Images: Sony Pictures Entertainment

Berlin filming for The Girl in the Spider’s Web
The Girl in the Spider's Web

Thriller The Girl in the Spider’s Web filmed Berlin as Stockholm for a story featuring fictional hacker Lisbeth Salander.

British actor Claire Foy plays Salander in a story that pitches the character against a disparate network of Stockholm’s spies, hackers and corrupt government officials.

Directed by Fede Alvarez, the film is an adaptation of the book by David Lagercrantz featuring characters originally created by the late novelist Stieg Larsson for his Millennium trilogy of books.

“We scouted Stockholm, Prague and Berlin,” says Elizabeth Cantillon, a producer on The Girl in the Spider’s Web, in an interview with Location Managers Guild International (LMGI).

“Berlin was the most production-friendly and had a number of great locations that could stand in for Stockholm. Studio Babelsberg also had full-service studio facilities and there’s a tax incentive that helped us make the film at a budget.”

Klaus Darrelmann worked with Cantillon as the film’s location manager and tells LMGI that Alvarez sought a grittier urban landscape that was more readily available in Berlin.

“Stockholm is very clean,” Darrelmann tells the organisation. “Fede Alvarez wanted to look at gritty, dirty locations. He wanted clean and shiny areas as well, but in general the more rundown the look the better. He didn’t want to portray Stockholm as it is. That’s why he went to Berlin.”

In the story, Salander crosses paths with a collection of wealthy individuals, but depicting this world of high-powered corruption created challenges for a film with a rumoured budget of around $43m. Alvarez preferred to shoot on location – rather than building apartments or office settings on stages – but this meant less control and sometimes tricky negotiations to get access to high-end properties.

The Girl in the Spider's Web

One of the story’s most distinct interior locations is a renowned Berlin penthouse apartment (pictured above) that in real life is owned by German advertising guru Christian Boros.

Originally built as a bunker complex during the Second World War, the building has since been converted into a luxury residence and art gallery, and features in The Girl in the Spider’s Web as the home of a businessman who suffers a visit from Salander.

Lacking the resources to build a replica of the location, Darrelmann and his team got permission to shoot there, but only for a fraction of the time they requested.

In other locations, crew access and minimising disruption to neighbouring residents became persistent challenges to manage.

Key locations outside the capital included a slate quarry near the town of Lehesten in central Germany that was used for a mountainous rural setting that book-ends the story.

The Girl in the Spider's Web

Four days of filming took place in Stockholm to help establish the story’s setting in a few shots in the finished movie.

“We filmed Lisbeth Salander on her motorbike near the waterfront,” says Eve Stewart, the movie’s production designer, in comments to LMGI. “We also shot quite a lot by the harbour just because you could see the city in the distance and we needed to get some sea.”

Studio Babelsberg near Berlin is Germany’s main international production hub and regularly co-produces Hollywood shoots.

All three of Larsson’s original Millennium novels have been adapted into movies in Denmark, helping launch Noomi Rapace’s international career. Director David Fincher adapted The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in 2011, with US actor Rooney Mara as Salander.

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

Images: Sony Pictures Entertainment

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