The long promised film version of The Hobbit has received yet another blow in it’s torturous journey to the silver screen.
Since it was originally announced in 2006 that Jackson wouldn’t be at the helm, the winds of fate have blown this project on a turbulent course. First there was the dispute between Jackson and New Line Cinema over unpaid profits from the Lord of the Rings trilogy, that caused the original rift. Then he was back on board in 2007 as a producer after they reached a settlement but the Tolkien estate put the blocks on the project in another dispute over, you guessed it, unpaid profits from LOTR.
In 2009 the two parties finally reached an agreement which left the way clear for Guillermo del Toro to take the directorial reins for the two Hobbit movies. Unfortunately he pulled out of directing the project, in June 2010, after the constant delays in setting a start date. He felt that he just couldn’t commit to living in New Zealand for the length of time that the project would require. He would, however be staying on co-write the screenplays.
So the project that was originally scheduled to start in 2009 gets pushed back to 2011 with Jackson expected to take over from Del Toro. Everything looks fine and they issue a casting call for short actors. There’s just one minor detail, MGM haven’t actually given the go-ahead yet. It’s not a deal breaker though they’re just being prepared. It’s still looking good for a 2011 start right?
Not quite, seven global actors unions are calling for their members to not take roles in the movie after a row over pay and contracts. The unions, under the title of the International Federation of Actors (FIA), have claimed that the studio have refused to negotiate a deal with them over contracts that “provide no minimum guarantees of wages or working conditions” no rerun payments and no payments for cancellations. The FIA have stated that performers in New Zealand had “struggled on non-union contracts” for several years and that “the time had come for performers around the world to support their colleagues in New Zealand and seek a union contract for all performers on The Hobbit,” According to the FIA, the studio claim that entering into a contract agreement would break New Zealand competition laws.
So there we have it,a movie that hasn’t had the green light from the studio and has potentially no cast. Will it ever be made and if it is will it be worth all the trouble?
Only time will tell. But I’m interested in seeing how it all pans out.