'Misunderstanding' in Hobbit spat

Last updated 08:20 27/11/2012
Sir Peter Jackson
ANDREW GORRIE/The Dominion Post
Sir Peter Jackson.

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The danger of The Hobbit being filmed in the United Kingdom was "very real" after a union spat threatened to put the brakes on filming in New Zealand, Peter Jackson says.

"[Warner Bros] were very, very serious about filming elsewhere," Jackson told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report.

Speaking on the political and legal wrangling which marred the beginning of filming, Jackson said the argument centred around a misunderstanding over collective bargaining.

"Which as I understand it, wasn't allowed in this country. It was being driven by an Australian union who were then getting the support of the American and British unions who didn't understand the laws here."

He said the whole thing felt "dubious" in that it was driven by a group of people who did not understand New Zealand law.

Despite that, he said The Hobbit still came very close to not being filmed in New Zealand.

"The worst time for me was when a huge box was delivered into the office.

"[Warner Bros] had sent a location scout around England and Scotland to take photos, and they literally had the script broken down to each scene, and in each scene there were pictures of the Scottish Highlands, and the forests in England... and that was to convince us we could easily just go over there and shoot the film," he told Radio New Zealand.

Jackson told fans last night the finishing touches to The Hobbit were completed only on Sunday, and the final edit was screened to a select group of cast and crew that night.

Looking ahead to tomorrow's premiere, Jackson said he had lost all objectivity but hoped it would be received well.

"I'm going to be happy if people like it and at this point in time, it's a little too early to say," he told Radio New Zealand.

The forecast remained good for the afternoon's walk down the red carpet. MetService predicted a dry day with patchy cloud, and northerly winds of 30 to 40 kmh. The expected high was 19 degrees Celsius.

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