Malcolm defends role in Hobbit row

By Hayden Donnell

Robyn Malcolm. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Robyn Malcolm. Photo / Sarah Ivey

Actress Robyn Malcolm has defended her role in strike action against producers of The Hobbit in an interview with Radio New Zealand this morning.

Ms Malcolm told Nine to Noon host Kathryn Ryan that New Zealand actors' contractual arrangements are currently "a dog's breakfast".

She claimed most actors get less than the average wage of a New Zealand worker.

There is still a pressing need to give actors more security and consistency in their pay, she said.

"There's a perception we all view ourselves as Brad Pitts or Angelina Jolies and we don't. None of us are asking for Ian McKellen's pay packet.

"I don't think any of us were asking for parity.

"But somewhere in the middle of it New Zealand actors need to feel protected.

"For actors to feel some sense of protection there needs to be some consistency."

She acknowledged the NZ Actors Equity decision to pursue a global boycott of The Hobbit was extreme.

It was backed by its partner union, the Australian Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA), and its President Simon Whipp.

He aimed to put pressure on producers to negotiate collective agreements with New Zealand actors.

The action was called off when producers Warner Bros threatened to pull The Hobbit out of New Zealand.

Ms Malcolm said the action may not have worked, but it's intention was good.

"We've got to grow up. We need to see ourselves as equals."

She would not give details on the future of the relationship between NZ Actors Equity and the MEAA.

"We'll be having meetings."

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