Neill Calls For 'Calm' In Hobbit Dispute
New Zealand-born actor Sam Neill is urging Hollywood bosses to reach an agreement with actors' unions in the ongoing dispute over The Hobbit movie - insisting the "anger and hysteria" must stop.
Filming on the long-gestating Lord Of The Rings prequel has been thrown into jeopardy after unions in New Zealand criticised producer Peter Jackson and instigated a boycott over the alleged "unfair treatment" of performers.
The film was due to be shot in the country, but movie bosses have since admitted they are looking at other locations to avoid clashing with union representatives.
Neill has now waded into the debate, insisting talks need to be held to prevent the dispute boiling over and threatening his home country's film industry.
He tells the Otago Daily Times, "(The) anger and hysteria (must stop). The sooner we see calm and sweet reason return the better. This is not hard. Shaking hands and a cup of tea should do it... Both parties - it seems to me - need to sit down, take a deep breath and begin talking and - more importantly - listening, in the friendly and cooperative way we do things in the New Zealand film industry.
"And we all need to remember that Peter Jackson and his outfit and the actors of New Zealand have been very good for each other over the years."
And the Jurassic Park star is adamant politicians, including New Zealand prime minister John Key who accused unions of holding movie bosses to "ransom", should stay out of the dispute.
He adds, "Unless they wish to calm the situation or indeed mediate, our politicians should absolutely be quiet. The last thing we need here is for the situation to be politicised. It doesn't help to have lots of people yelling from the sideline."
The Hobbit has suffered numerous problems in recent months - it has been on hold due to the ongoing financial problems at MGM Studios and director Guillermo del Toro quit because of the lengthy delays. A studio in Wellington which was due to host filming of the blockbuster was also damaged in a fire last week (ends03Oct10).