`Hobbit` came very close to not being filmed in New Zealand, says director

London: Talking about the difficulties faced while filming ‘The Hobbit’, director Peter Jackson has revealed the production of the Tolkien epic was almost moved from his native New Zealand to Britain because of a union dispute.

Studio executives went as far as scouting locations in Scotland and England when the row erupted in late 2010, said Jackson, who will host the world premiere of the first instalment of his trilogy in Wellington tomorrow.

“The Hobbit came very close to not being filmed here,” a leading daily has quoted the Oscar-winning director as telling a radio channel.

“The worst time for me was when a huge box arrived in the office... this large cardboard box arrived and they had sent a location scout around England and Scotland to take photographs.

“They literally had the Hobbit script broken down into scenes, and in each scene there were pictures of the Scottish Highlands and England and this and that, to convince us we could easily go over there to shoot the film,” he recalled.

Fortunately, the dispute was settled when New Zealand’s conservative government amended labour laws to minimise union representation on set, also offering financial incentives to keep the production in the country.

As part of the deal reached with the government, the New Zealand tourism industry is using the trilogy to try to revive flagging visitor numbers, promoting the country as “100 percent Middle Earth” in a worldwide campaign.

The first ‘Hobbit’ movie ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ will be released globally in December.

The second, ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’, is due in December 2013 and the final chapter ‘The Hobbit: There and Back Again’ follows in July 2014.


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