More trouble in the land of 'The Hobbit'
Just when you thought all was well in the Shire...
With "The Hobbit" looking last week like it was over its most significant hurdles, the rhetoric on the labor front is intensifying and once again threatening the production.
Deteriorating relations among several performers' guilds, who have called for a boycott of the production, have prompted director Peter Jackson to say that he would move the production out of New Zealand even if the boycott is lifted. The director-producer and fellow producer Fran Walsh told local outlet The Press that they would move regardless of the boycott status. "The damage inflicted on our film industry by [the actors unions] is long since done."
The decision on where to shoot both "Hobbit" movies will ultimately be made by those financing the pictures -- which include Warner Bros., its New Line cinema unit and MGM -- but with heavy input from Jackson, and none on the studio side are ruling out the possibility that the productions would need to relocate.
If there is a move to another country, the question for filmgoers is whether it would set back production or even release dates. The movies, for now, are set for December 2012 and December 2013.
-- Steven Zeitchik