Hobbits are non-union

There is trouble with Peter Jackson’s production of The Hobbit.  Efforts to unionize the project in  the New Zealand have failed, so Hollywood union members, including the Screen Actor’s Guild, are urging their members to boycott the production:

An international group of actors’ unions, including SAG, has warned members not to work on “The Hobbit” because of failed efforts to organize the film’s New Zealand production — a move Peter Jackson disparages as a “power grab.”

Members were advised [1] in an alert sent over the weekend “not to accept work on this non-union production” of the MGM blockbuster-to-be, which is still awaiting the official greenlight from financially troubled MGM before shooting — tentatively scheduled for next year — can begin.

Guilds involved include SAG, AFTRA and several international unions. The New Zealand unit of an Australian union had made attempts to organize the film, according to the alert.

But Jackson fired back in a statement Sunday, saying the Kiwi organization represents a very tiny percentage of actors there, and is leveraging his production to gain membership.

Actors guilds are known to issue member alerts of this sort from time to time, but it is extremely rare for a major studio franchise film to be involved.

Here’s the full text of the alert:

The makers of feature film The Hobbit – to be shot in New Zealand next year – have refused to engage performers on union-negotiated agreements.

Members of Canadian Actors Equity, US Actors Equity, the Screen Actors Guild, UK Actors Equity, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (Australia) and the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists are advised not to accept work on this non-union production.

If you are contacted to be engaged on The Hobbit please notify your union immediately.

via Big Hollywood » Blog Archive » Unions Threaten to Destroy ‘Hobbit’ Films; Peter Jackson Fights Back.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://enterthevein.blogspot.com J. Dean

    I’ll put myself out for hire if they need a non-union hobbit!

  • http://enterthevein.blogspot.com J. Dean

    I’ll put myself out for hire if they need a non-union hobbit!

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    Some how I get the feeling that unless Peter Jackson has a rep for stiffing his actors, the screen guilds are just making themselves look bad. He is a proven commodity as far as the LoTR fan base is concerned so it is good bet this film will be successful monetarily which means the actors would likely get a good paycheck plus the bonus of being associated with successful popular film.

    BTW if Peter Jackson happens by I will more than happily shave off the beard and play a hobbit. I already have the belly for it.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    Some how I get the feeling that unless Peter Jackson has a rep for stiffing his actors, the screen guilds are just making themselves look bad. He is a proven commodity as far as the LoTR fan base is concerned so it is good bet this film will be successful monetarily which means the actors would likely get a good paycheck plus the bonus of being associated with successful popular film.

    BTW if Peter Jackson happens by I will more than happily shave off the beard and play a hobbit. I already have the belly for it.

  • S Bauer

    Alas, the power of the dragon’s hoard is still working on the hearts of dwarves, elves, and men.

  • S Bauer

    Alas, the power of the dragon’s hoard is still working on the hearts of dwarves, elves, and men.

  • http://thefragrantharbor.blogspot.com Catherine

    I’d TOTALLY sign up to play a hobbit, screw the unions! Except I’m a lady and ladies aren’t really featured in the Hobbit!

  • http://thefragrantharbor.blogspot.com Catherine

    I’d TOTALLY sign up to play a hobbit, screw the unions! Except I’m a lady and ladies aren’t really featured in the Hobbit!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Do they even have a director for that film yet?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Do they even have a director for that film yet?

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Catherine,

    If you don’t mind having hairy feet and being among the “little people”, you can put a female “spin” on Tolkien! :D

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Catherine,

    If you don’t mind having hairy feet and being among the “little people”, you can put a female “spin” on Tolkien! :D

  • http://thefragrantharbor.blogspot.com Catherine

    J. Dean, I’m a tiny person as it is (barely 5 feet) so I’d fit right in, I think!

  • http://thefragrantharbor.blogspot.com Catherine

    J. Dean, I’m a tiny person as it is (barely 5 feet) so I’d fit right in, I think!

  • Tom Hering

    Hmm. I thought unions protected people with genuine vocations from those who are willing to work cheap (and do cheap work).

  • Tom Hering

    Hmm. I thought unions protected people with genuine vocations from those who are willing to work cheap (and do cheap work).

  • Cincinnatus

    The more significant (implicit) fact of this article is that del Toro is mentioned nowhere. So much for this movie.

  • Cincinnatus

    The more significant (implicit) fact of this article is that del Toro is mentioned nowhere. So much for this movie.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    I’d be a non-union hobbit. Or, since (if I remember Tolkien well) I’m a touch in shape and tall to be a hobbit, maybe an elf or something?

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    I’d be a non-union hobbit. Or, since (if I remember Tolkien well) I’m a touch in shape and tall to be a hobbit, maybe an elf or something?


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