Saturday 16 October 2010

The Hobbit may not be filmed in New Zealand

Ten years after the first Lord of the Rings movie was filmed in New Zealand, the much anticipated prequel, Tolkien's The Hobbit, will begin production in February. However, no decision has been made if it will be produced across the ditch in Kiwi land, or Australia.

Rings director Peter Jackson will again lead the project, after hostile negations surrounding where the project will be filmed and using union , have taken years to secure. New Line Cinema will bankroll the movie for up to $500 million, making The Hobbit most expensive film of all time.

It will cost almost $200 million more than Pirates of the Caribbean, which holds the record as the most expensive movie to date. The Hobbit has already cost the studio $10 million in legal fees to sort out ownership and filming rights.

The Hobbit will be filmed in two parts, and also in 3D, and Rings favourites Ian McKellen as Gandalf and Andy Serkis as Gollum, will return.

"Exploring Tolkien's Middle-earth goes way beyond a normal film making experience," Peter Jackson says. "It's an all-immersive journey into a very special place of imagination, beauty and drama."

Producer and co-writer Phillippa Boyens said the industrial dispute meant it may not be filmed in New Zealand. Australia, Canada, Scotland and Ireland are all lobing for the film, and even Peter Jackson said that Eastern Europe was a possible location.

Boyens has accused the Australia's Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance of damaging the New Zealand film industry.

"They are doing real damage. It was a very militant action by the Australian union," Boyens says. "The Australian union called a boycott of the film, saying the producers wouldn't allow the union to negotiate minimum standards for its members."

The New Zealand film industry brings in over $2 billion and year.

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