The Hobbit hits union troubles

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Set in northern Australia prior to World War II, Nicole Kidman is an English aristocrat who inherits a large ranch. After learning that English cattle barons are plotting to take her land, she decides make the harsh trek to the Land Down Under. During her travels she's accompanied by an independent cattle driver known as "Drover" (Hugh Jackman) whom her husband hired to transport her.
September 27th, 2010

Union representatives have warned actors not to accept work on 'The Hobbit'.

The film, which is a prequel to the 'Lord of the Ring's franchise, has already come up against a whole host of problems, with filming being delayed, original director Guillermo del Toro pulling out, and Sir Ian McKellan - who has been cast as the role of Gandalf - stating he isn't prepared to "wait around" for the movie.

Despite Peter Jackson and his fellow producers now reportedly being ready to make formal role offers to other actors, a host of official union representatives - including those from the Screen Actors Guild, US Actors Equity and the Entertainment and Arts Alliance of Australia - have sent a warning to their members advising them not to work on the film.

The alert warns: "The makers of feature film 'The Hobbit' - to be shot in New Zealand next year - have refused to engage performers on union-negotiated agreements... [actors] are advised not to accept work on this non-union production. If you are contacted to be engaged on 'The Hobbit' please notify your union immediately."

The warning comes after producers reportedly refused to guarantee certain rights for those starring in 'The Hobbit', with contracts leaving out clauses on payments, cancellation fees and working conditions.

However, New Zealand-born producer Peter Jackson has claimed despite the warning, he is not "anti-union".

He said: "Personally speaking, I'm not anti-union in the slightest. I'm a very proud and loyal member of three Hollywood unions - the Directors Guild, the Producers Guild and the Writers Guild. I support the Screen Actors Guild."

'The Hobbit' is expected to go into production earlier next year.