Chief technical officer Jon Labrie says Weta had expected to be ramping up hiring between now and September 19, when shooting is due to start. The main hiring for the $225.45 million film will not now begin for another two or three months.
Mr Labrie says the company is conducting research and development while it waits for a firm agreement from New Line Cinema, whcih he expects to have in May or June. "Come June 1, we're going to be ramping up fast and furious."
Worldwide interest in working on the project is high, with thousands of job applications submitted via Weta's Web site. [http://www.wetafx.co.nz] Mr Labrie says the company has had to revamp its database to cope with the project's recruiting requirements. "For the most part we have been pretty successful at that."
Weta has 25 technical artists now, and expects to employ 50 by September or October. By the middle of next year, numbers should be up to 80 or 85. So far, hiring numbers are evenly split between New Zealanders and people from overseas.