Oh, New Zealand – we knew so little of you, as kids, but Lord of the Rings certainly changed that. Sadly, the New Zealand Actor’s Equity could ruin things for The Hobbit.
A word of advice to actor’s guilds around the world – if a director managed to secure worldwide fame and a significant increase in tourism for his home country, don’t make his next project so difficult that he moves it off-shore.
The lowdown, essentially, is this: the New Zealand Actor’s Equity “urged several international actor’s unions to gang up on [their] production in an attempt to bully us into illegal collective bargaining,” says Jackson alongside his partner Fran Walsh.
Jackson’s supporters have been numerous, including members of parliament, and a group of 1,500 actors and film staff who marched on Equity and parliament. Quite simply, the Equity are not in anyone’s good books – Jackson’s first three NZ Tolkien pictures sealed NZ as an incredible filming location, and having to find a new Hobbiton, for example, would be a painful and expensive process for both Warner Bros. and Jackson.
The Prime Minister himself reached out to Warner Bros. as they released a press release stating they’ll be arriving in town soon to sort out where else The Hobbit could be filmed, and we imagine Equity employees may have be similarly worried. Don’t throw stones in glass houses, guys!
As it stands now, it seems they’ve backed down, and shooting should (hopefully) stay in New Zealand. All’s pro-Hobbits in love and war, and especially NZ, it would seem.