Hobbit was nearly filmed in Britain

Last updated 08:56 27/11/2012
Peter Jackson
ANDREW GORRIE/Fairfax NZ
Warner Bros were "very, very serious" about filming the Hobbit trilogy elsewhere, Peter Jackson says.

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The danger of The Hobbit being filmed in Britain 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.

"It felt like to us, they were using the Hobbit to get whatever they were trying to get but it wasn't within the law here, and no-one seemed to really get."

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.

"They don't send somebody around with a camera for what must have taken them three or four weeks to compile all these photos. They were very very serious."

Jackson told Morning Report that what people needed to realise the film industry was an industry.

"And the tax incentives are part of the industry around the world. There's no sentimentality involved when you've got a company who is a publically traded major company in the world," Jackson said.

"There's no way they're going to spend an extra cent ... it's just not going to happen."

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 it this point in time, it's a little too early to say. 

"You lose objectivity. I mean that's the part of the movie that's the most scary, is you realise deep in the process you have no way of knowing if it's good or bad."

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He said many thought film directing was a "mysterious thing" but it was "really just a person who is always having to decide things and think ... 'I don't really know what's good anymore, I've lost all my objectivity but I have to think what would I like to see?'".

- The Dominion Post

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