Weta triumphs in clash of the superheroes

Weta Workshop's involvement in another blockbuster movie has been unmasked - the physical effects studio has beaten Hollywood to design and make the costumes for superheroes including Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and The Flash.

The costumes will be donned by a yet-to-be-named cast for the big-budget Hollywood movie Justice League of America, to be filmed in Sydney this year and directed by Australian George Miller of Mad Max and Happy Feet fame.

The film's Wellington-based American producer, Barrie Osborne, who produced Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings, confirmed Weta Workshop's involvement.

"They are doing all the costumes and they're doing a brilliant job," he told The Dominion Post from Sydney.

"A lot of people thought it would be too hard, that you can only make those things in Hollywood."

No budget has been announced for the long-awaited movie, which would bring together a range of superheroes including Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, the Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter and Superman.

Casting rumours include Adam Brody, of The OC, and rapper Common.

Weta Workshop specialises in physical effects such as costumes, props, models and movie sets, and Weta Digital does computer-generated visual effects.

Osborne said it was possible Weta Digital eould also be involved in the film, based on the DC Comics series, but that would depend on the studio's commitments to other projects.

"George Miller has a great take on the material, so it elevates it to something that's not a comic-book movie," he said.

Osborne was involved in many Hollywood films, including The Matrix and Apocalypse Now, before working with Jackson on the Rings trilogy.

He has since become a New Zealand citizen and, while still living in Wellington, has been involved in many big film projects.

He was an executive producer on The World's Fastest Indian and Australian film Little Fish with Cate Blanchett, and is producing the joint Korean-American action film Laundry Warrior, starring Geoffrey Rush, which is shooting in Auckland.

"At the heart of it is a love story, but with a lot of action. It is an exciting film and a different kind of film."

The Dominion Post