Fans undoubtedly sighed in relief when they heard that Peter Jackson would be directing the upcoming “The Hobbit” movies after all. To the dismay of some, it was announced earlier this year that Guillermo del Toro would be directing the films rather than Jackson. It was a concern that some of the magic that was ever-present in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy would be lost were Jackson not more involved. As it turned out, del Toro pulled out because of continuous delays.
Now, with Jackson firmly in place to direct the films, there is a new concern on the horizon. Will Jackson be able to create the beauty in “The Hobbit” that was a part of the “LOTR” series without filming in New Zealand?
Last month, amidst a dispute between Jackson and a New Zealand actors’ union, NZ Equity, the production of “The Hobbit” movies was boycotted. Though the boycott has been rescinded, it seems that the movies’ executives will be taking their production elsewhere. According to an AFP report, Jackson said that “‘NZ Equity’s unjustified industrial action against ‘The Hobbit’ has undermined Warner Bros’ confidence in New Zealand as a stable employment environment, and they are now, quite rightly, very concerned about the security of their 500 million US dollar investment.'”
Certainly there are other places around the globe that abound with wonderful landscapes. But, with only a few months left before production starts (slated to begin in February) it is questionable whether Jackson will be able to devote the same time and effort to scouting locations as he did for the “LOTR” movies. Of course, it is not clear at this point that such diligence is necessary. “The Hobbit” movies may not require as many locations as the “LOTR” series did.
One thing is clear, though, to anyone who has ever heard Jackson speak about the “LOTR” and “The Hobbit”: these movies are his passion; they are like his children. There is little doubt that he will give his all to the coming project in light of how much it has meant to him and how hard he has had to work to see it through to this point.
The producers of the two-part “LOTR” prequel have been kicking around some location ideas including Canada, Scotland, Ireland and Australia for some time now. And, according to a report on the Stuff Web site, Fran Walsh, one of the movies’ co-producers, said that they are considering locations in the UK including the Harry Potter studio.