Peter JacksonTricksy unions for actors around the world are telling their members to ditch 'The Hobbit' over payment and labor problems. According to them, Kiwi actors have been working under "non-union contracts" that "'provide no minimum guarantees of wages or working conditions,' no payment for future broadcasts and no cancellation payments," according to the BBC.

Peter Jackson issued a quick response that put the smack down on the union claims in great detail. Although the BBC's report states that "seven unions in the US, Australia, the UK and Canada said producers refused to negotiate a deal with them," Jackson places the blame squarely at the feet of the MEAA, which is the Australian Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance, even though the NZ Actors' Equity is also involved in the dispute.

Jackson's statement reads, "The Australian Labour Union, the MEAA is using our production 'The Hobbit' in an attempt to widen it's [sic] membership, and power within the New Zealand film industry. As a New Zealand filmmaker, who has nothing to hide or be ashamed about, I'm not going to see this threatening behaviour continue without some form of sensible discussion about the 'facts' and 'truth' behind their various allegations."

The director's bullet-point list of problems with the MEAA's claims are somewhat beyond the ken (or interest) of someone not involved in union disputes; the more interesting question is whether or not Jackson will follow through on his statement's threat to move to Eastern Europe for filming. As Jackson's films and Weta Digital studio have brought in a huge amount of income and jobs to New Zealand, can the Kiwi union really afford to call his bluff? And would its big budget stars actually take part in the boycott?
categories Movies, Cinematical