‘Hobbit’ not out of the woods yet

New Zealand Film The Hobbit (AP)Production of The Hobbit may finally be back on track, but an actors’ pay dispute may mean filming will shift from New Zealand, which stood in for Middle-earth in the 2001-03 Lord of the Rings trilogy, to an offshore location.

The Associated Press reports that Warner Bros. executives are scouting possible shooting locations for the $500 million, two-film prequel in the United Kingdom and assessing the studio used to shoot the Harry Potter movie series.

Native Kiwi Peter Jackson, who wrote and directed the Rings trilogy, says local actors’ demands for the same kinds of deals available to international superstars, and the associated boycotts that have now been lifted, have already done irreparable damage to Warner’s trust in the New Zealand film industry.

New Zealand got a tourism jolt following the Rings movies and 2005’s King Kong, which Jackson also filmed there.

AP photograph

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