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October 20, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Late today, the New Zealand actors union said that it will not boycott The Hobbit production. SAG and AFTRA immediately issued advisories to its members saying that they were now free to work on it. However, Daily Variety reported that Warner Bros., New Line and MGM have not yet decided whether to keep the production in New Zealand.

Some 1,500 New Zealand film technicians marched into Wellington Wednesday night in what some said appeared to be an effort to disrupt a meeting of an actors union group that has ordered a boycott of the Lord of the Rings prequel, The Hobbit, the New Zealand Herald reported. The group was led by Sir Richard Taylor, creative director and founder of Weta Workshop, which created the special effects for the Lord of the Rings movies and which is developing new ones for The Hobbit. After learning of the planned protest, the actors group canceled its meeting, saying, “We are not going to expose our performers to harm.” In an interview with the Herald, Taylor said that it is now “a definite possibility” that if the boycott is not lifted, the Hobbit movies, budgeted at more than $500 million, will shoot elsewhere, “which is why we marched tonight.” Separately, in a television interview, Taylor said that the film technicians “want to be heard. … By the actions of a very limited few, a huge fraternity of filmmakers, technicians, and artists will be affected.” However, producer-director Peter Jackson indicated during an interview with the Dominion Post that Warner Bros. has already decided to move the production to another country. “They are now, quite rightly, very concerned about the security of their $500-million investment,” Jackson told the newspaper. “Next week Warners are coming down to New Zealand to make arrangements to move the production offshore. It appears we cannot make films in our own country even when substantial financing is available.”