Hobbit films in 'peril', says Weta chief

Photo / Supplied.
Photo / Supplied.

Actors involved in an ongoing pay and conditions dispute over the Hobbit films have cancelled a planned union meeting tonight.

New Zealand Actors' Equity had scheduled a meeting in Wellington tonight to discuss "new industry standards" but organiser Frances Walsh told NZPA that the meeting had been called off but refused to say why.

The cancellation comes as Wellington film technicians gathered tonight for a meeting held by the head of Wellington's Weta Workshop, Sir Richard Taylor.

One technician who was at the meeting told Fairfax Media that hundreds had planned to attend the cancelled Actors' Equity meeting to call for an end of their boycott of the troubled film.

The two Hobbit films, a prequel to the Lord of the Rings trilogy, are expected to cost about US$500 million (NZ$669m) to make, the most expensive ever, and will be filmed in 3-D.

While the films were given the green light on the weekend, the location of shooting is yet to be decided as the ongoing dispute with actors continues.

Speaking after the technicians' meeting Sir Richard told TVNZ that the New Zealand film industry was "at some level of peril".

"The mood is one of great concern ... Wellington film technicians want to be heard. They want to be represented in these very bizarre and strange events that are going on right now," he said.

"By the actions of a very limited few, a huge fraternity of filmmakers, technicians, and artists will be affected."

He said producers were doing all they could to retain the films in New Zealand.

Actors' Equity is seeking a collective agreement and has asked its members to boycott the two Hobbit films.


- NZ Herald

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