The Hobbit boycott ends

October 21st, 2010

A planned acting union boycott of 'The Hobbit' has been called off.

The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) previously sent out warnings for their members not to accept roles in the project - a sequel to the 'Lord of the Rings' movies - but have now revealed members are allowed to take on work on the film.

A release from SAG said: "Today, our sister union, New Zealand Actors Equity issued a statement recommending all international performer unions rescind their member advisories on the feature film production 'The Hobbit'.

"In light of the recommendation, Screen Actors Guild will be alerting its members that they are now free to accept engagements, under Screen Actors Guild contract terms and conditions."

However, the film's recently announced director Peter Jackson is believed to still be angry over the dispute, and may move production from New Zealand to the UK.

Fran Walsh, Jackson's wife and creative partner, revealed the UK was an option to film with location scouts sent there to shoot.

She said: "They have had people in the UK taking location photographs. They've got a huge studio there that 'Harry Potter' has vacated, the ex-Rolls Royce factory, that they say would be perfect for us."

Speaking yesterday, Jackson said the New Zealand film industry was close to an end because of the of the dispute.

He said: "It's a question of confidence in our industrial relations and the damage was done within a week of the blacklist going on.

"There are risks involved in movies, they have to be good films, they have to earn a profit and studios need the insurance factor that money is going to be going into a stable industrial climate.

"Up until a month ago, no one had even thought in a million years that this movie was going to leave the country.

"And then this blacklist was bought on, and the studio said 'What the hell is going on?' and we tried to figure out what the hell was going on. At that point, confidence in our country as a stable base to make movies started to erode."