August 22, 2019

Peter Jackson fights to save The Hobbit from “bully-boy” Union

Will the Aussie actors union sink The Hobbit or will Sir Peter Slay them commies and save the Kiwi film industry?

Lord of the Rings Director Sir Peter Jackson says he is fighting to save The Hobbit films from a threatened boycott by a major actors union.

Jackson says that thousands of jobs and the New Zealand film industry itself are in danger if The Hobbit production is delayed any longer.

The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) claims Hollywood stars Sir Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett and Hugo Weaving may boycott the film because of the possibility actors may be employed on inferior non-union contracts.

Jackson says that he “not anti-union in the slightest” and is a “very proud and loyal member” of three Hollywood unions. But he went on to say that the MEAA had a clear agenda “based on money and power”.

“I can’t see beyond the ugly spectre of an Australian bully-boy using what he perceives as his weak Kiwi cousins to gain a foothold in this country’s film industry. They want greater membership, since they get to increase their bank balance.”

“I feel growing anger at the way this tiny minority is endangering a project that hundreds of people have worked on over the last two years, and the thousands about to be employed for the next four years, [and] the hundreds of millions of Warner Brothers dollars that is about to be spent in our economy.”

Losing The Hobbit would leave New Zealand “humiliated on the world stage” and “Warners would take a financial hit that would cause other studios to steer clear of New Zealand”, Jackson said.

MEAA national director Simon Whipp (great name for a boss) said “all performers” were concerned about the lack of standard union contracts for the US$150 million two-part Hobbit films. The International Federation of Actors, which represents the world’s seven major actors unions and actors in 100 countries, has told members not to act in The Hobbit until they get a union contract.

It is good to see the the old ‘little brother’, ‘big brother’ rivalry between New Zealand and Australia is alive and well. I am picking the films will be a lot more entertaining than this family row though.