Actor rejected calls to pull out

16:00, Oct 23 2010

NO ONE tells Mark Hadlow where he can and can't work – except Sir Peter Jackson.

The Christchurch-based actor cast as the dwarf Dori in The Hobbit says that three weeks ago he received text and phone messages telling him not to sign.

"What arrogance. What is that about?" He said he didn't care about the potential wrath of actors involved in the dispute.

"No one tells me where I can or can't work."

Hadlow, who is an events team manager for the Christchurch City Council and is appearing in the Court Theatre's God of Carnage, said he hoped the movie would be made in New Zealand.

"But my support is totally for Peter Jackson, and if that film gets made, I'm hopeful maybe that means I can be wherever we go." Shooting was scheduled to begin "earlyish" next year.

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"Where, I have no idea. I'll do my utmost to try to convince everybody that New Zealand is the best country in the world to film a film in." Hadlow, not a member of NZ Actors Equity, got callbacks for four different roles in the film.

"It has got nothing to do with whether I'm a union member or not, and I should hope that's got nothing to do with the casting."

The actor – who famously played the man with the split trousers on the Ansett New Zealand television commercial – has previously worked with Jackson, voicing puppets in the cult splatter movie Meet The Feebles.

Jackson has announced a cast list that included The Office actor Martin Freeman as the hobbit Bilbo Baggins. Wellington-based Peter Hambleton and John Callen were named as dwarves.

There was no word on a role for British acting veteran Sir Ian McKellen, who played Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings movies, and who was reported to have encouraged actors not to work on a non-union film. His UK publicist said Sir Ian did not want to comment.

NZ Actors Equity industrial organiser Frances Walsh said any messages Hadlow received were not from the union.

Sunday Star Times