Sunday, October 24, 2010

Trouble with the Hobbits

If anyone has been following the union issues that has taken over the New Zealand set of The Hobbit I am sure you are concerned that the resulting boycott (whether currently in place or not) may jeopardize the opening date schedule if not the whole project.
When it comes down to picking sides on this battle I am confident that the fans just want both parties to get along and start filming.
I however will pick a side and will shre my opinion. The union for New Zealand actors (ironically from Australia) is painting a picture of Peter Jackson as a difficult opportunistic overlord whose goal is to take the primary filming out of New Zealand. This folks can be referred to as the union's carrot. They will be using this contrived threat to motivate its membership into holding out for higher wages (and the standard working conditions clause to minimize greed intent), and thus more union dues. The fact is, that the mere threat of holding back production is what if anything will directly contribute to the production company being forced to move. I frankly believe Peter Jackson when he says that his goal is to come to an agreement quickly to win back the confidence of the producers to allow this film to continue. Lets remember that it was Peter Jackson who brought the Lord of The Rings trilogy to New Zealand in the first place. It should not be lost that Jackson has the credibility of making three epic off-shore blockbusters which obviously faced a long list of issues that he had to overcome in getting those films done. Peter had to work through all of these. In order to pull off filming a feature film directors need to be collaborators and Peter Jackson is one of the world's best at keeping every side (stake holder) content, as it is his paramount goal to get the picture shot and completed. So when a union asks me to believe that Peter is the source of the issues, I just can't buy it. Peter is the same person who lobbied to have New Zealanders used as extras and set assistants in the first place. New Zealanders on average are making better money than British actors, who without doubt have more out of pocket expenses working off shore. Does this sound like someone who is solely driven by profit? This production has faced many problems from the start and Peter was brought in specifically to work through these issues and get the picture on the road. No one person can receive more credit for contributiing to New Zealand's success in the film industry. So what I see here is an opportunistic Australian union who have nothing to lose by villanizing and corrupting New Zealand's excellent reputation as a host. A reputation that their so called villan Peter Jackson contributed in building for them.

What are your thoughts?

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