Director: The Hobbit almost filmed in Britain

Director: The Hobbit almost filmed in Britain

WELLINGTON - Agence France-Presse
Director: The Hobbit almost filmed in Britain

The first ‘Hobbit’ movie will be released globally in December.

“The Hobbit” director Peter Jackson yesterday said the low point making his Tolkien epic was when the production almost moved from his native New Zealand to Britain because of a union dispute.

Jackson, who will host the world premiere of the first installment of his trilogy in Wellington on Wednesday, said studio executives went as far as scouting locations in Scotland and England when the row erupted in late 2010.

The Oscar-winning director feared not being able to use the rugged New Zealand backdrops that were an integral part of his first Tolkien project, the blockbuster “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

“The Hobbit came very close to not being filmed here,” he told Radio New Zealand.

“The worst time for me was when a huge box arrived in the office... this large cardboard box arrived and they had sent a location scout around England and Scotland to take photographs.

“They literally had the Hobbit script broken down into scenes, and in each scene there were pictures of the Scottish Highlands and England and this and that, to convince us we could easily go over there to shoot the film.” In the event, the dispute was settled when New Zealand’s conservative government amended labour laws to minimize union representation on set, also offering financial incentives to keep the production in the country.

“It was not the happiest time for anyone,” Jackson said.

Countering criticism that the footage was too clear and lacked warmth, Jackson said it offered a “more immersive” experience for movie-goers that eliminated the blur and “stagger” seen at 24 frames a second.

The first “Hobbit” movie will be released globally in December.

The second, “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” is due in December 2013 and the final chapter follows in July 2014.