New South Wales Premier Nathan Rees announced yesterday that the next big budget Hollywood movie to be filmed in Sydney’s Fox Studios will be the long anticipated superhero flick Green Lantern. Produced by DC Comics and Warner Brothers, pre-production begins in July and shooting is scheduled to commence in November. The government estimates the movie will generate around 500 jobs.

“Bringing Green Lantern to NSW is a major coup,” Rees said, which out of context would sound a little strange — as if Labor were recruiting superheroes to help them win the next state election.

“Films such as this invest heavily in the local economy and (have) flow-on effects for local services such as transport, construction and the hotel industry,” he added.

Green Lantern will be directed by Martin Campbell, who is best known for 007 blockbusters Casino Royale and Golden Eye. Campbell’s other credits include Beyond Borders (starring Angelina Jolie and Clive Owen) and The Mask of Zorro and its sequel, The Legend of Zorro.

The story of Green Lantern will be structured around the exploits of its crime-fighting protagonist, although various characters have shared the superhero’s moniker since the comic books began in 1940. In an alternative interpretation of the term “Green Power”, the Green Lantern takes his name from a glowing green ring that grants him otherworldly powers. Over the decades these powers have included flight, force fields, telepathy, plasma bolts and time travel.

Casting of the central character has been a source of speculation for years, with actors such as Jack Black and Ryan Gosling having been rumoured to be slip into the green spandex. The current hot favourite is Chris Pine, not to be confused with Liberal frontbencher Christopher Pyne, who confines his acting career largely to the House of Representatives. Pine’s most famous role is yet to be seen: he stars as a young Captain James T Kirk in the new Star Trek movie, which opens nationally May 7.

According to State Development Minister Ian Macdonald, the government worked hard to bring Green Lantern to New South Wales, competing against strong interest from other places including Queensland and Victoria. Macdonald cited payroll tax reductions as one of the incentives the government used to lure the production to the state.

Sydney’s Fox Studios, which opened in 1998, have been involved in the production of Hollywood blockbusters such as X-Men Origins: Wolverine (opening April 29), Superman Returns, The Matrix and Star Wars.

Peter Fray

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