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Peter Jackson hits out at The Hobbit pay dispute

27th September 2010

Filmmaker Peter Jackson has claimed that a pay dispute with acting unions could cause the big screen adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit to be filmed outside of his native New Zealand.

Several acting guilds and international unions have called on performers to boycott the production if they are not offered union contracts, causing the Lord of the Rings director to issue an open letter in rebuttal.

Jackson, who is the film's executive producer, claimed that the unions' dispute with The Hobbit is a 'grab for power' to allow groups such as Australia's Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance to gain more influence over the New Zealand film industry.

'It feels as if we have a large Aussie cousin kicking sand in our eyes ... or to put it another way, opportunists exploiting our film for their own political gain,' he stated.

In addition, Jackson suggested that filming of the new production could be moved from its proposed location in New Zealand to eastern Europe if the dispute is not resolved before shooting starts.

Earlier this month, Sir Ian McKellen, who played Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings series, told the Bolton News that filming of The Hobbit could start in January next year, even though the troubled project has yet to receive the official green light. 

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