Director Clearly Wants The ‘Lord Of The Rings’ Prequel To Stay In His Homeland; “We’ve Got To Fight Like Hell”
You’ve already heard several reports that Peter Jackson has been upset over the labor dispute and blacklist of “The Hobbit” and nowhere is that more clear than in this video from New Zealand television. While irate might be pushing it language wise, Jackson is audibly and visibly frustrated in this interview alongside his co-writer Philippa Boyens and even calls for the New Zealand Prime Minister to intervene.
“The blacklist is not the issue anymore,” Jackson explained of the continued ‘Hobbit’ travails at his Weta Studios. “Lifting the blacklist doesn’t solve the problem. It’s a question of confidence in our industrial relations and the damage was done within a week of the blacklist going on. [The studio] is frankly worried, because the actor’s [union] brought a completely frivolous action down on the studio. Now if they’ve done that once, what happens in a year’s time when Warner’s Bros. have spent $250 million dollars, they’ve halfway through the film and the actor’s [union] decide to have a little fun again? It’s like it could happen all over again. They have no confidence.”
While there have been reports that have been framed in such a way that suggest that Jackson has been actively looking to take “The Hobbit” out of NZ, it’s clear he’s desperate to keep the film at home, not the least for the sake of the New Zealand film industry and will be relying on the multi-million dollar production. “We’ve got to fight like hell,” Jackson said. “The studio are coming down on Monday and I’m wracking my brains to try and think of what needs to happen to give them the confidence that they need.”
Interestingly enough. “The Hobbit” team and the labor unions seems to still be at complete odds with one another with some mixed messaging.. Jackson in the interview says, “I don’t think [New Zealand Council of Trade Unions, CTU president] Helen Kelly has a clue and I think she should probably just go home,” he said. “That would be the most useful thing she could do. [NZ Economic Development Minister] Gerry [Brownlee] could definitely be helpful if he agreed to meet with Warners next week”
However, later on in the piece, Close Up live’s Mark Sainsbury (the interviewer) spoke to CTU president Helen Kelly calls Jackson out saying he called her up, invited to meet and spent “two hours talking because he felt I could make a difference. Really, this is a pattern, isn’t it?” she asked. “This is simply an employer who refuses to bargain, the first thing they do is try and discredit the official and now I’m one of those. They threaten to take the business off shore, they refuse to bargain, they say it’s a ‘simple industrial dispute.’ ” The one thing that’s looking up for the shoot to stay in the original Middle Earth is Kelly’s comments about saving the movie. “[The movie] won’t be lost because of this dispute because we’ve found a pathway through and we’re prepared to work with this production company to make sure it gets made and on time and within the budget,” but she adds. “[If it’s lost], it will be lost because of financial matters where Warner Bros. can make a bigger profit.” Sounds like a stalemate.
Earlier in the interview Jackson is asked about a theory that claims “The Hobbit” was always going to be taken over seas because the studio can get a better deal and this is all about tax breaks. “Rubbish,” he said emphatically. “Absolute rubbish. Look, there’s sets behind us that are being built to shoot on. This is Gollum’s cave for sake. It’s absolute junk.”
Fast forward to the :50 second mark.