Just in case you were thinking that you were ever going to see The Hobbit make it to theaters, you can start crying now. Because just about every acting guild, union or association has banded together to say that no one can act on The Hobbit.
Who’s boycotting the film? Well it’s actually seven groups: Canadian Actors Equity, US Actors Equity, the Screen Actors Guild, UK Actors Equity, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (Australia) and the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists. But, any day or so, I’m sure the New Zealand Association of Small Actors With Giant Feet will throw their tiny hats into the ring, too.
What’s the beef? Well, they say that the Hobbit will use non-union contracts and because the New Zealand Actors Equity is a branch of the Australian Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance, which is part of the International Federation of Actors (which also includes all the US unions: SAG, AFTRA and Equity), everyone’s going on strike and no one who belongs to any of those unions can work on The Hobbit or face stiff penalties from whatever the hell they belong to.
Peter Jackson’s rebuttal to all this has been that everyone who’s in SAG would get their residuals, they were planning on splitting some of the profits with non-union actors and that he thinks New Zeleand Actors Equity/AMEAA only covers around 10 percent of Kiwi actors anyway (no one seems to know how many people are members. Also, he says that New Zealand law says they can’t negotiate with a labor organization that covers “independent contractors” (i.e. actors) and that they’ll probably just have to move everything to Eastern Europe.
All of which is a pretty complicated way of saying that The Hobbit is probably still doomed.