Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 25 October 2014

Hobbit film location under threat

Peter Jackson has warned filming of The Hobbit could be moved out of New Zealand

Peter Jackson has warned that New Zealand may lose the filming of The Hobbit movies, with financial backers Warner Brothers making arrangements to shift the production offshore.

Filmmaker Jackson's production company, Wingnut Films, and the union Actors' Equity have been at loggerheads over pay deals for actors in the 500 million US dollar two-film prequel to the highly successful Lord Of The Rings trilogy.

Shooting of the two 3-D films is due to begin in February.

Wingnut Films said in a statement that the actors' move in threatening to boycott the production had undermined Warner Brothers confidence in the industry "and they are now, quite rightly, very concerned about the security of their 500m US dollars investment".

"Next week Warners are coming down to New Zealand to make arrangements to move the production offshore," Jackson's production company said.

"It appears we cannot make films in our own country even when substantial financing is available."

Jackson said while they would fight to keep the films in New Zealand, the decision ultimately rests with Warner Brothers.

The statement gave no indication of where the films' production might be moved, but co-producer Fran Walsh, Jackson's partner, said Warners already had an executive in England scoping filming locations and assessing the studio used for shooting the Harry Potter series for relocating The Hobbit movies. US studio Warners owns the studio complex.

Production of The Hobbit was given the green light from Warners and New Line Cinema at the weekend, with Jackson as director.

More than a thousand film technicians have marched through the capital, Wellington, demanding actors end their dispute over contracts. They chanted "Save The Hobbit" and waved banners that said, "Keep it Made in New Zealand" and "SOS Hobbits".

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Your Horoscopes by Russell Grant

Scorpio:

Don't deny yourself pleasure. It's important to indulge your sensual side. When you don't, you become irritable. Take this opportunity to splash out on new clothes. Soak in a scented bath. Get a massage. Enjoy a long nap. Do whatever your heart desires. If anyone dares complain you aren't working hard enough, maintain a stony silence. You're incredibly intimidating, especially when you're quiet. Anyone who has become too reliant on you needs to be more self sufficient.More