New Bilbo & Gandalf 'Hobbit' Pics

Empire Magazine has posted two new pictures from THE HOBBIT of Martin Freeman (SHERLOCK) as Bilbo Baggins and Sir Ian McKellen (X-MEN) as a younger Gandalf.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

The site also quotes director Peter Jackson regarding the company of dwarves’ attitudes towards their companions on their quest:  “They don’t know what to make of Gandalf, they think Bilbo is a wuss, and Elrond a prissy headmaster type.”
Click to Enlarge
Click to Enlarge

Hobbit to Leave NZ or Not?

Rankin-Bass Cartoon version
Rankin-Bass Cartoon version

Will THE HOBBIT leave New Zealand for greener pastures in Europe? Tensions continue to grow, although the government believes there’s still hope.
According to New Zealand site Stuff.co.nz, director Peter Jackson told the Dominion Post that he had nothing to do with organizing a protest by aproximately 1500 NZ  film technicians against NZ Equity’s blockage of THE HOBBIT being filmed with some extras and performers not necessarily a part of the union or their new parent, the Australian Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance.
Council of Trade Unions’ President Helen Kelly is said to have made statements that apparently implied that the march was cooked up by Jackson and Warner Brothers.

Peter Jackson said:
”I couldn’t believe it. It was the first time I really got very angry. I watched the march on TV. I wasn’t there, and unlike what Helen Kelly’s been saying, I didn’t have anything to do with organising it.
Suddenly I see Helen Kelly and she starts slagging off the production… I’m thinking ‘this is a legitimate march by 1000 people who are basically wondering how they are going to live for the next two years.’

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key thinks the two HOBBIT movies can be saved, and hopes to convince  Warner Brothers executives due to arrive next week.

“My concern is that if Warner Brothers deems New Zealand is not a good place to make movies, then there is a real risk other major film production companies will also believe that to be the case.
…This is a very successful growth area for New Zealand and to have the film industry destroyed on the back of the actions of the unions is, I think, reprehensible.”

The PM said he believed Warner Brothers’ main concern was industrial uncertainty, and not New Zealand’s 15% tax incentive.
England, Ireland, and Eastern European countries are reportedly very interested in attracting the $500 million productions.