The Hobbit in Danger Due to Labor Squabbles

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The Hobbit in Danger Due to Labor Squabbles

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A boycott by Australian labor unions is the latest obstacle in getting Jackson's The Hobbit to the silver screen.

An Australian actors union, the MEAA or the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, has called for a boycott by all New Zealand actors on The Hobbit unless they are allowed to negotiate for a collective contract. If the actors refuse to work on the project, amounting to a strike, then the whole project could come to screeching halt. Peter Jackson issued a statement claiming that the MEAA's demands are illegal under New Zealand law and the whole fiasco is a bid for "money and power." Jackson goes on to say that the wranglings of the MEAA may result in the production being cancelled or moving to Eastern Europe.

"Behind the claims of exploiting actors who are cast in the 'non-Union' Hobbit production, and claims that various high-profile stars will refuse to take part in the films, there are clear agendas at work," Jackson said. "As usual with these agendas, they are based on money and power."

The Kiwi director has brought big-budget films to New Zealand such as the LOTR series and King Kong and has always tried to do right by his crew and his actors. Jackson outlines that even though his films have always been independent of the Hollywood Screen Actors Guild (SAG), they "have always respected SAG conditions and residuals."

Beyond that, Jackson was happy to report that local actors will continue to be treated favorably. "For The Hobbit, Warner Brothers have agreed to create a separate pot of profit participation, which will be divided up amongst non-SAG actors who are cast in the film. This was not done because of any pressure from Guilds or Unions - it was actually Warners doing the decent thing, and New Zealand and Australian actors will be the principle beneficiaries."

In Jackson's mind, the whole kerfuffle is a grab by the Australian actors guild to gain members and snatch at some of the big American dollars that Jackson is bringing to the country. It's a complex story, but basically a small New Zealand organization called NZ Actors Equity merged with the larger Australian MEAA. Jackson says that only 10 percent of New Zealand's actors are members of NZ Actors Equity but they voted to be funded by their larger Australian neighbors. So the call for a boycott only comes from a very small number of New Zealand's actors and endangers the work for thousands of New Zealanders over the next four years. But that doesn't even matter, because MEAA's demands can't even be met legally.

"NZ law prohibits engaging in collective bargaining with any labour organisation representing performers who are independent contractors, as film actors clearly are," Jackson said. "The NZ Commerce Act claims it would be unlawful to engage with an Australian Union on these matters." Jackson went on:

My personal opinion is that this is a grab for power. It does not represent a problem that needs a solution. There will always be differing opinions when it comes down to work and conditions, but I have always attempted to treat my actors and crew with fairness and respect.

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.

Seriously, if the Hobbit goes east (Eastern Europe in fact) - look forward to a long dry big budget movie drought in this country.

Peter Jackson's quest to produce The Hobbit has been about as beleaguered as Bilbo Baggins' voyage to the Lonely Mountain. The story started off great with Ian McKellen signing on to reprise his role as Gandalf the Grey, as well as Hugo Weaving and Andy Serkis returning as Elrond and Gollum respectively. But then there was financial troubles at Hollywood production company MGM, and a dispute with the Tolkien estate over rights. A director, Guillermo Del Toro, was found but then he backed out this May, citing scheduling problems. Jackson himself was to take the reins, but the film still is waiting to be "greenlit" by MGM.

Hopefully, the latest controversy with New Zealand's actors unions is like the Battle of Five Armies and, like Bilbo Baggins himself, The Hobbit will survive to finally get made.

Source: TheOneRing.net

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Oh god please dont let this stop the production of the movie :(

So what the MEAA is doing isn't even legal? According to Jackson.

Will this film ever be made?

Please be made. Please??

I'll probably get my head bitten off by angry, raging mob with pitchforks and torches, but i gotta say - good.

The LOTR movie already ruined the book for me to the point i can only respect it for the fact it brought back the old mythos and pagan believes back to life. When i want to watch pretty sceneries i can switch to Discovery or something without having it interrupted by all the gimmicks.

Leave Hobbit alone, let it rest in peace as a great, fun and enjoyable lightweight little book i can return to one day.

Keava:
I'll probably get my head bitten off by angry, raging mob with pitchforks and torches, but i gotta say - good.

The LOTR movie already ruined the book for me to the point i can only respect it for the fact it brought back the old mythos and pagan believes back to life. When i want to watch pretty sceneries i can switch to Discovery or something without having it interrupted by all the gimmicks.

Leave Hobbit alone, let it rest in peace as a great, fun and enjoyable lightweight little book i can return to one day.

*Sigh* God LOTR was a great movie. Just because you didn't enjoy it, because it didn't follow the book 100% big fucking deal. its a lot better then most books to movies anyways.

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD JUST FINISH THE MOVIE ALREADY AND STOP BITCHING

i swear im getting tired of all these delays, it should have been done like 2-3 years ago, those actors arnt getting any younger!!

Teiraa:
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD JUST FINISH THE MOVIE ALREADY AND STOP BITCHING

i swear im getting tired of all these delays, it should have been done like 2-3 years ago, those actors arnt getting any younger!!

How odd it would be to see the characters in a story appear older in their prequel!

At least finish the movie before Ian McKellen kicks it. There will never, ever, ever be a better Gandalf then him.

This had better make it to the silver screen.

Also, does anyone know if they got Ian Holm as Bilbo?

Effing Unions, they like to ruin everything.

Outcast107:

*Sigh* God LOTR was a great movie. Just because you didn't enjoy it, because it didn't follow the book 100% big fucking deal. its a lot better then most books to movies anyways.

Following the book had nothing to do with it. The movie felt empty and completely average, pretty visuals don't make a good movie, and pretty visuals was pretty much all that LOTR had to offer me.

When reading book you at least have your imagination of the scenery, of characters and events but movie makes it obsolete, you get it handed over on a silver, shiny platter. The plot was already known if you read the book so can't really count it as a plus for the movie. No amazing acting, no innovation, no interesting twist or interpretation, the shots were decent at most since they based mostly on technical craftsmanship rather than creativity and it seemed like most of the character development happened off screen.

Keava:

Outcast107:

*Sigh* God LOTR was a great movie. Just because you didn't enjoy it, because it didn't follow the book 100% big fucking deal. its a lot better then most books to movies anyways.

Following the book had nothing to do with it. The movie felt empty and completely average, pretty visuals don't make a good movie, and pretty visuals was pretty much all that LOTR had to offer me.

When reading book you at least have your imagination of the scenery, of characters and events but movie makes it obsolete, you get it handed over on a silver, shiny platter. The plot was already known if you read the book so can't really count it as a plus for the movie. No amazing acting, no innovation, no interesting twist or interpretation, the shots were decent at most since they based mostly on technical craftsmanship rather than creativity and it seemed like most of the character development happened off screen.

Sorry for over reacting. Just I get tired of hearing that same thing about some movies that actually follow the book as close as they could.

A quick read of the NZ commerce act 1986 makes it look like Jackson has the legal high ground, if legalese is anything like normal English.
If read as such it seems that collective bargaining by a third party for a group of individuals comes under price fixing of services and is about as serious as offences in the act get.

So I expect this'll all blow over in no time. That or lawyers aimed at finding loopholes get involved.

Outcast107:

Keava:
I'll probably get my head bitten off by angry, raging mob with pitchforks and torches, but i gotta say - good.

The LOTR movie already ruined the book for me to the point i can only respect it for the fact it brought back the old mythos and pagan believes back to life. When i want to watch pretty sceneries i can switch to Discovery or something without having it interrupted by all the gimmicks.

Leave Hobbit alone, let it rest in peace as a great, fun and enjoyable lightweight little book i can return to one day.

*Sigh* God LOTR was a great movie. Just because you didn't enjoy it, because it didn't follow the book 100% big fucking deal. its a lot better then most books to movies anyways.

Its not that they didnt follow the book thats the problem. The problem is that they cut out large amounts of content from the books to add in new stuff that added nothing at all to the story. All they did was take away from it rather then improve it. That and it was a rather shitty movie all around.

I really dont care either way if the hobbit gets made. I more or less wrote the whole thing off as going to be shit once jackson took over. Im not about to take jacksons word that what they are doing is illegal yet. Duno if it is or not but its most definatly in his best interests to try and discredit the guys working against him.

Generally speaking I'm a big supporters of unions. The first thing that comes to mind here is that we have not heard the side of the story of the unions involved in this, and are pretty much only hearing the side of the employers which is almost always going to be peachy from their perspective. When a corperation is "doing good things" in a situation like this, it's oftentimes a sign that they are scared of the union and are trying to convince people that they really don't need it, and then when the threat is gone they gradually return to however they were operating before.

As far as New Zealand law goes, I tend to feel that things like that are irrelevent. I'm against any law that prohibits collective bargaining, as laws like that are usually funded/pushed through by the companies doing the employing.

How this will end is unknown, simply put people don't have the guts they used to. Back in the old days you might remember you had massive clashes between employees and companies, which even erupted into battles with the police (trying to enforce anti-union laws) and mercenaries going at it with labourers in the streets, and employers trying to pull out of regions only to be run down and attacked due to them closing their factories or whatever to make a "point".

It's an interesting balancing act, because business owners should indeed have some rights, however I feel it's the employees who need the most protection and every benefit they can get. Right now I think a lot of the stuff we see going on right now with company lay offs to inceease profit and the like come from a lack of guts on the part of employees When it comes to unions most of them operate too much within the law (or become corrupt themselves, being bought by the people they intend to regulate), and people spend too much time worrying about the legality of making unions or engaging in collective bargaining.

I see the big problem being that people are too afraid of the law to really take action, which means that collective bargaining has lost it's teeth. Unions are by and large accepted based on threat of force as much as threat of strike. The police can arrest a few agitators, but if you have thousands of people rioting constantly that's something else entirely. Especially if unlike most looting mobs it's semi-coordinated, and armed (anti-riot tactics are far less effective when the people on the receiving end are ready for them).

Of course this is getting off the subject and more into the area of employment ethics and regulation itself. The bottom line is that my gut reaction is to support the union here, Peter Jackson might be a respectable face, but businesses usually have one, and the Hollywood Fat Cats further up the ladder behind him are just like any other group of fat cats.

Please make it... I loved the LOTR movies. Make it work, damnit.

Let it happen, let it happen, let it happen. :(

Lord of the Rings tops both my "Best books" and "Best movies" lists. If Peter Jackson can bring even an OUNCE of that magic into The Hobbit, it's going to be number four on the movie bit at least. (Never finished The Hobbit, but I just might...)

I wasn't even aware of this film being made.

Keava:

Outcast107:

*Sigh* God LOTR was a great movie. Just because you didn't enjoy it, because it didn't follow the book 100% big fucking deal. its a lot better then most books to movies anyways.

Following the book had nothing to do with it. The movie felt empty and completely average, pretty visuals don't make a good movie, and pretty visuals was pretty much all that LOTR had to offer me.

When reading book you at least have your imagination of the scenery, of characters and events but movie makes it obsolete, you get it handed over on a silver, shiny platter. The plot was already known if you read the book so can't really count it as a plus for the movie. No amazing acting, no innovation, no interesting twist or interpretation, the shots were decent at most since they based mostly on technical craftsmanship rather than creativity and it seemed like most of the character development happened off screen.

No innovation? The visuals and the fact that the movies were created, was the innovation. The level of production values were deemed impossible at the time. Nobody thought that it was possible to a project a trilogy of movies and be successful. At the time it was unheard of. Not even Star Wars was built like that.

Star Wars was one movie, and if it did really really really well, there could be another movie. It did well and there was more Star Wars.(On release there was no Episode 4, there was only A NEW HOPE) LotR was filmed as 3 movies from the get go. 15 years ago a project like this, would not even be a possibility.

LotR changed the movie industry. Good or bad? Well that's arguable, but it did.Not enough innovation for you? Unless you talking about something else, if so, sorry for wasting your time. ^^

I do dislike the movies too. Except the first one and Gollum in the other two. Yes it's because of the changes they did. Most of them made no sense, and ignored most established character development, in the books, and even the in the damn movies! I could live fine with the first one, now the second one is stupid. "Sam go away" urg!

one i woudlnt trust jackson as an expert of what is legal and what isnt.

two the orginal lord of the rings were among the best movie to come out in the last hundred years, and please let this movie be made instead of all the halo and gears of war movies ever

Keava:
I'll probably get my head bitten off by angry, raging mob with pitchforks and torches, but i gotta say - good.

The LOTR movie already ruined the book for me to the point i can only respect it for the fact it brought back the old mythos and pagan believes back to life. When i want to watch pretty sceneries i can switch to Discovery or something without having it interrupted by all the gimmicks.

Leave Hobbit alone, let it rest in peace as a great, fun and enjoyable lightweight little book i can return to one day.

I half agree with you. I love the LOTR films, but then the books were too long winded for me.

The Hobbit however is one of my all time favourite books. I think it's written in a lot better way than the series.....I kinda want to see a film of it, but I'm not sure how well it would transcribe to the big screen. I'm undecided here...

I really hope this doesn't stop the film from being made, as I loved the LotR trilogy (both the books and the films).
I hadn't heard that Del Torro had dropped out though. I wanted to see what he'd have done with it...

Its really silly whats going on - all about money, as always. So, I am looking towards everyone kicking out becuase they dont have enough to buy gold solid boats...

Someone's is making it so that The Hobbit movie might not be made? "Loads shotgun" Excuse me, I believe I have some work to do in the southern hemisphere.

oliveira8:

No innovation? The visuals and the fact that the movies were created, was the innovation. The level of production values were deemed impossible at the time. Nobody thought that it was possible to a project a trilogy of movies and be successful. At the time it was unheard of. Not even Star Wars was built like that.

Star Wars was one movie, and if it did really really really well, there could be another movie. It did well and there was more Star Wars.(On release there was no Episode 4, there was only A NEW HOPE) LotR was filmed as 3 movies from the get go. 15 years ago a project like this, would not even be a possibility.

LotR changed the movie industry. Good or bad? Well that's arguable, but it did.Not enough innovation for you? Unless you talking about something else, if so, sorry for wasting your time. ^^

I do dislike the movies too. Except the first one and Gollum in the other two. Yes it's because of the changes they did. Most of them made no sense, and ignored most established character development, in the books, and even the in the damn movies! I could live fine with the first one, now the second one is stupid. "Sam go away" urg!

I mean innovantion in actual artistic form of a movie, not technological innovation, which for me barely matters when i watch the end-product. Did it revolutionize the industry? Honestly, i am not sure. I hear about such changes every now and then, and if i would be to sum them up we would end up in the future already.

Massiveness is odd sort of value, technology moves forward each year and so does implementation of special effects and more advanced filming methods is made easier. You can't really compare them to what was available when Star Wars was first made, or even what was possible 15 years ago, just look at videogames from 1995 and 2000, you will see the difference.

As for the whole filming from the get go, keep in mind it was not original scenario but adaptation of a book written over 50 years before, well established 'brand' that had millions of fans all over the world. Hard to really compare such luxury to Star Wars that was a new idea, still being planned and fleshed out.

Therumancer:
<Repeated use of the word "employ">

That's the key word here. Collective bargaining is completely legal and common in regards to employees in New Zealand- actors however are not employees, they are independent contractors (i.e- they are on fixed-term contracts, they get many tax benefits but don't enjoy holiday pay and some benefits that employees would get. Really there's good and bad points to both working arrangements).

What the union wants is illegal- not to screw workers but to protect consumers. It's like if all the plumbers got together and set minimum prices, it's price-fixing and quite frankly a bad thing. The only thing they stand to accomplish here is to piss off the studios to the stage that they pull out. Instead of getting international exposure by being in a big-budget movie that will hopefully lead to big money Hollywood roles they will get to go back to bit parts on Shortland Street (or go into the exciting worlds of retail and fast food). I really don't see how anything that is going on is actually in the best interests of anyone other than the union.

008Zulu:
Effing Unions, they like to ruin everything.

"They like to ruin everything"?
Care to back that claim up?

GOD DAMN IT! Why do we have to fuck shit up when it's just getting on track??

Come on guys, don't be arseholes.

Keava:

I mean innovantion in actual artistic form of a movie, not technological innovation, which for me barely matters when i watch the end-product. Did it revolutionize the industry? Honestly, i am not sure. I hear about such changes every now and then, and if i would be to sum them up we would end up in the future already.

Massiveness is odd sort of value, technology moves forward each year and so does implementation of special effects and more advanced filming methods is made easier. You can't really compare them to what was available when Star Wars was first made, or even what was possible 15 years ago, just look at videogames from 1995 and 2000, you will see the difference.

As for the whole filming from the get go, keep in mind it was not original scenario but adaptation of a book written over 50 years before, well established 'brand' that had millions of fans all over the world. Hard to really compare such luxury to Star Wars that was a new idea, still being planned and fleshed out.

I highly doubt you could replicate anything Weta Workshop did or even think of an "Innovative way" of doing it. They used extensive amounts of physical mediums such as costume and make up when they could of easily CGed it (like for the ten billion Orcs in the films). Also much of the stone work and scenery was carved out of Styrofoam! That's flippin' amazing in terms of innovation for set design on a large scale.

Also you say that they didn't provide any "twists or interpretation" but yet complained about them not following the story? Gotta pick one.

*Punches MEAA in the fucking face* THERE! Distraction gone! Now please, please make the damn movie already T.T

Therumancer:
Generally speaking I'm a big supporters of unions. The first thing that comes to mind here is that we have not heard the side of the story of the unions involved in this, and are pretty much only hearing the side of the employers which is almost always going to be peachy from their perspective. When a corperation is "doing good things" in a situation like this, it's oftentimes a sign that they are scared of the union and are trying to convince people that they really don't need it, and then when the threat is gone they gradually return to however they were operating before.

As far as New Zealand law goes, I tend to feel that things like that are irrelevent. I'm against any law that prohibits collective bargaining, as laws like that are usually funded/pushed through by the companies doing the employing.

How this will end is unknown, simply put people don't have the guts they used to. Back in the old days you might remember you had massive clashes between employees and companies, which even erupted into battles with the police (trying to enforce anti-union laws) and mercenaries going at it with labourers in the streets, and employers trying to pull out of regions only to be run down and attacked due to them closing their factories or whatever to make a "point".

It's an interesting balancing act, because business owners should indeed have some rights, however I feel it's the employees who need the most protection and every benefit they can get. Right now I think a lot of the stuff we see going on right now with company lay offs to inceease profit and the like come from a lack of guts on the part of employees When it comes to unions most of them operate too much within the law (or become corrupt themselves, being bought by the people they intend to regulate), and people spend too much time worrying about the legality of making unions or engaging in collective bargaining.

I see the big problem being that people are too afraid of the law to really take action, which means that collective bargaining has lost it's teeth. Unions are by and large accepted based on threat of force as much as threat of strike. The police can arrest a few agitators, but if you have thousands of people rioting constantly that's something else entirely. Especially if unlike most looting mobs it's semi-coordinated, and armed (anti-riot tactics are far less effective when the people on the receiving end are ready for them).

Of course this is getting off the subject and more into the area of employment ethics and regulation itself. The bottom line is that my gut reaction is to support the union here, Peter Jackson might be a respectable face, but businesses usually have one, and the Hollywood Fat Cats further up the ladder behind him are just like any other group of fat cats.

Wow. Maybe Unionized labor is trying to pass itself off as something more respectable than a bunch of cutthroat thugs nowadays. I see that as an improvement. Personally, I think that the best way to respond to Unionized rioting is with automatic weaponry, but that's just me.

EDIT: spelling

Keava:

I mean innovantion in actual artistic form of a movie, not technological innovation, which for me barely matters when i watch the end-product. Did it revolutionize the industry? Honestly, i am not sure. I hear about such changes every now and then, and if i would be to sum them up we would end up in the future already.

Massiveness is odd sort of value, technology moves forward each year and so does implementation of special effects and more advanced filming methods is made easier. You can't really compare them to what was available when Star Wars was first made, or even what was possible 15 years ago, just look at videogames from 1995 and 2000, you will see the difference.

As for the whole filming from the get go, keep in mind it was not original scenario but adaptation of a book written over 50 years before, well established 'brand' that had millions of fans all over the world. Hard to really compare such luxury to Star Wars that was a new idea, still being planned and fleshed out.

Actually, there aren't many changes. It looks like there is, but there isn't. Between Star Wars and LotR, the only significant jump was Jurassic Park. There was plenty of other attempts(like Tron) but none sticked. Even in terms of sets, there was nothing like this since the days of the grand epics like Lawrence of the Arabia or Cleopatra. It was massive.

It was a big jump. One much bigger than most people seem to realize. Avatar? That's nothing compared to what LotR did almost 10 years before. They already did Avatar with Gollum. Actually that was what Weta did on Avatar. Same shit, but with the fancy pants camera of James Cameron.

Also I'm not sure you know how movie industry actually works. Having an already established fanbase doesn't really matter, if what the producer is selling is not that good movie wise.
This was what Peter Jackson was selling in the 90's:

A 3 movie deal. It will cost seas of dollars. It's considered unfimmable. Directed by a B-Movie director. Special effects by the Hercules and Xena crew. It's Fantasy.

Can you name a fantasy movie based on a book, that actually made lots of success before Lord of the Rings? The only one was made 70 years before LotR, and people saw it cause it was the first in colour. Since Wizard of Oz there was no fantasy film that made big bucks. Massive big bucks. They tried. Like Conan. That went okay, not great and Conan has a big fanbase, and the only good thing it did was launching Schwarzenegger career.
Most of them hurt companies. There was much more affluence in science fiction, than fantasy in what comes to cinema. It has been the norm since Star Wars. Science Fiction does better on cinema. Period.

LotR wasn't a good sell to no studio. No matter how much fanbase it had. Star Wars compared to LotR project, is a safe project. Most important Star Wars was made by an independent studio, something that LotR could not be.

From a commercial point of view of a studio, financing this project was like burning cash. Lucky for Peter Jackson, there was a studio that had the amounts of crazy to say "Here have 400 million dollars go nuts with it.". Keep in mind that this was in the late 90's not late 00's. And that Peter Jackson had no real career at that point. "From director of Braindead" isn't a good sell to a major audience.

So that was what Lord of the Rings project was in 1996. Too expensive and no way to be sure that it would be a major success. That's 3 movies. Imagine if the fellowship of the ring was absolute crap, that it would even scare the fans of the book. What then? The studio had two more films done, that would be box office failures. No one wanted to take that risk back then.

By the twist of fate one did, the movies were a major success and a whole new window of movie opportunities was open.

Studios are now taking more risks. Some times it works, others not. Stuff like A Song of Ice and Fire now can be filmed, without LotR, that would never happen. Even the comeback of Super Heroes movies can be attributed to LotR, as studios had more courage to take on these adaptations that would not come cheap.

Lot of things changed cause of LotR.

Scde2:
So what the MEAA is doing isn't even legal? According to Jackson.

Will this film ever be made?

We can only hope so. I'm not a union hater, but I just wish they wouldn't get in the way of this awesome movie.

WHY??????? What did I do? I must have done some bad shit, if karma decided to screw me over like this.

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