While the blogosphere goes mad with various reports about how or where Peter Jackson’s green-lit The Hobbit will be filmed, it seems that the guild problems with shooting in New Zealand have not been resolved. Jackson is still threatening to shoot elsewhere–London perhaps–which could cost New Zealand untold millions. While New Zealand plans to fight to keep the two Hobbit films when Warners brass arrive next week, it may be too late.
Check out Warner Bros./New Line spokeswoman Candice McDonough’s statement:
Recent reports that the boycott of The Hobbit was lifted by unions a number of days ago and that Warner Bros asked to delay this announcement are false. It was not until last night that we received confirmation of the retractions from SAG, NZ Equity and AFTRA through press reports. We are still awaiting retractions from the other guilds. While we have been attempting to receive an unconditional retraction of the improper Do Not Work Orders for almost a month, NZ Equity/MEAA continued to demand, as a condition of the retractions, that we participate in union negotiations with the independent contractor performers, which negotiations are illegal in the opinion of the New Zealand Attorney General. We have refused to do so, and will continue to refuse to do so. The actions of these unions have caused us substantial damage and disruption and forced us to consider other filming locations for the first time. Alternative locations are still being considered.