Kiwi actors of ‘The Hobbit’ being used as ‘political pawns’

Last Updated: Oct 10, 2010, 16:00 PM IST

Wellington: Kiwi actors are being used as pawns in a high-stakes game involving ‘The Hobbit,’ in a bid to keep all movie production in the United States, claims New Zealand`s film federation.

‘The Screen Production and Development Association’ (Spada) has said that the powerful American union, the ‘Screen Actors Guild’, is trying to impose their working conditions on New Zealand productions, reports the New Zealand Herald.

‘Actors Equity’ is battling Peter Jackson, director of the movie, over working agreements.

He has threatened to take production offshore if it is not resolved.

Penelope Borland of Spada believed Kiwi actors may not be aware of what political games were behind the issue of stopping "runaway" productions setting up outside the States.

‘Actors Equity’, backed by Australia`s ‘Media Entertainment Arts Alliance’, has instituted a stop work order, with the support of performers`` unions from the States, United Kingdom and Canada.

This prevents union members from signing up to work on ‘The Hobbit’ until the producers negotiate a collective agreement with actors.

Jackson has refused to do so because he says it would be illegal under New Zealand law.

He is also reluctant to set a precedent for the industry by negotiating such an agreement.

ANI