Peter Jackson Responds to Unions Boycott, Threatens to Move 'Hobbit' Production to Europe

Peter Jackson

'The only options that remain involve closing the 'Hobbit' down, or more likely shifting the production to Europe,' the filmmaker states in response to the alert issued by international labor unions.
Peter Jackson has shown great confidence despite the boycott launched by international labor unions to the production of "The Hobbit". After SAG, AFTRA and several international unions issued an alert to their members not to work on the film, the moviemaker has released a statement which mentions his belief that they are not doing anything wrong.

"It sure feels like we are being attacked simply because we are a big fat juicy target -- not for any wrong doing," he claims, before adding "To put it another way, opportunists exploiting our film for their own political gain."

Striking back, Jackson threatens that "The Hobbit" production could be moved to Europe. "Because the 'demands' of MEAA cannot be agreed to, or even considered - by law - and therefore the only options that remain involve closing the 'Hobbit' down, or more likely shifting the production to Europe. It could so easily happen," he states.

The producer also promises that he will treat those who work for "The Hobbit" fairly, explaining "There will always be differing opinions when it comes down to work and conditions, but I have always attempted to treat my actors and crew with fairness and respect. We have created a very favourable profit sharing pool for the non-Union actors on 'The Hobbit' - and now the Union is targeting us, despite the fact that we have always respected SAG conditions and residuals."

The full statement released by Peter Jackson on Sunday, September 26 can be seen on The Hollywood Reporter.

Screen Actors Guild issued "Member Alert" on Friday, September 24. "The makers of feature film 'The Hobbit' - to be shot in New Zealand next year - have refused to engage performers on union-negotiated agreements. Members of Canadian Actors Equity, US Actors Equity, the Screen Actors Guild, UK Actors Equity, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (Australia) and the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists are advised not to accept work on this non-union production," they claimed.

"The Hobbit" is not officially greenlighted but it is believed that production will be kicked off in early 2011 while New Line parent Warner Bros. and the financially troubled MGM work out an arrangement to finance and distribute the pictures. Casting for this "Lord of the Rings" prequel is also underway.

The upcoming adventure movie, which has yet to get new director to replace Guillermo del Toro, will be split into two parts. The first film is expected to arrive in December 2012, while "The Hobbit 2" may come out a year later.

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