In what may appear to be a short lived victory for New Zealand fans of The Hobbit, the film’s recent union disputes appear to have reached an amicable settlement. The film had, until now, been blighted by union demands that actors should boycott working on the film due to unacceptable “conditions”.
Empire Online reports that this problem has now been resolved, yet it looks like New Zealand will still lose out on one of the most anticipated fantasy pictures in recent memory. Production is set to begin next February but director Peter Jackson and partner Fran Walsh have issued a statement recalling the ‘bad taste’ left by the dispute, forcing the very real possibility of moving the film’s production off-shore;
“The lifting of the blacklist on The Hobbit does nothing to help the films stay in New Zealand. Next week Warners are coming down to NZ to make arrangements to move the production offshore. It appears we now cannot make films in our own country – even when substantial financing is available. The spectacle of NZ Actors’ Equity suddenly cancelling their Wellington meeting, because film workers wanted to express to them their concern at losing The Hobbit, exemplifies the pure gutlessness of this small, self-centred group. They don’t appear to care about the repercussions of their actions on others, nor are they prepared to take responsibility for decisions made in their name. NZ Equity constantly refer to ‘good faith’ discussions but they have never acted in good faith towards our film.”
Tough break New Zealand. At least your country is still very pretty. No word as of yet where the production may move to, although initially reports suggests Eastern Europe as the prime location.