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The Unions End Boycott, 'The Hobbit' May Still Not Be Filmed in New Zealand

October 21, 2010 (6:34 am) GMT
Though the New Zealand union insisted the problem that banned the production in the country has been resolved, producer Fran Walsh says they have already been scouting location offshore.
The Unions End Boycott, 'The Hobbit' May Still Not Be Filmed in New Zealand

SAG and AFTRA have called off their boycott on the production of "The Hobbit". Both organizations released a statement on October 20 after sister union New Zealand Actors Equity asked them to do so, allowing actors to accept jobs from the project.

Though so, "The Hobbit" will not be back to New Zealand. Peter Jackson and his partner Fran Walsh have released a statement which mentioned that financial backers Warner Bros. are making arrangements to shift the production offshore.

"The lifting of the blacklist on The Hobbit does nothing to help the films stay in New Zealand. The damage inflicted on our film industry by NZ Equity/MEAA is long since done," the statement read. "It appears we now cannot make films in our own country - even when substantial financing is available."

Walsh added Warners already had an executive in England scoping locations and assessing the studio used for shooting "Harry Potter" series to relocate "The Hobbit" movies. "They [Warners] are saying they need stability and certainty and that's no longer here - they can protect their investment better elsewhere," the filmmaker explained to New Zealand's National Radio about the decision to move the filming location.

"The Hobbit" and "The Hobbit 2" were recently green-lighted and are scheduled to be shot back to back starting in February 2011. Peter Jackson is set to direct the movies, which are going to be made in 3-D. The first film is expected to arrive in December 2012.

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