NEW ZEALAND P.M. OFFERS TO HELP SETTLE HOBBIT DISPUTE
The prime minister of New Zealand has offered to play “a facilitation role” between Peter Jackson and an Australian actors union in order to prevent the production of the planned Lord of the Rings prequel, The Hobbit, from leaving the country. In a television interview, the prime minister, John Key, said, “If you can’t make The Hobbit here, frankly, what movies are you going to make here?” Meanwhile, New Zealand authorities and insurance investigators have launched a probe into the cause of a fire at Jackson’s studios in Wellington that destroyed many of the miniature props and sets for The Hobbit. Some online movie commentators have already laid the blame at the feet of union sympathizers. “Did Actors Union Burn Down The Hobbit Set? Asked WorstPreviews.com. “Somebody Didn’t Pay Their Protection Money,” argued a blogger on TwilightWhisper.com.