Queenstown-based actor Sam Neill has called for calm in
the dispute over Sir Peter Jackson's The Hobbit and says he is
"dismayed" by controversy surrounding the film.
Neill, filming in Canada, emailed the Otago Daily Times
yesterday and said "a cup of tea" should be enough to resolve
There are fears filming for the two-film Lord of the Rings
"prequel" could be lost to New Zealand.
Other countries, including Scotland, Ireland, Canada,
Australia and the Czech Republic, have expressed interest.
Actors and producers are locked in an industrial dispute over
employment terms and conditions on the planned two-part
adaptation of the J. R. R. Tolkien book. Neill yesterday said
the parties needed to communicate if the situation was to be
"I am dismayed to read how serious and how unnecessarily
charged this dispute has become over the last few days," he
"We are seeing too much anger and hysteria all round and it
doesn't help to have lots of people yelling from the
"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 co-operative way we do things in the New
Zealand film industry.
"And we all need to remember that [Sir] Peter Jackson and his
outfit and the actors of New Zealand have been very good for
each other over the years.
"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.
"Similarly, it is absurd that an essentially domestic
discussion now has an international dimension.
"Everyone wants to see The Hobbit made, so the sooner we see
calm and sweet reason return the better.
"This is not hard. Shaking hands and a cup of tea should do
Two senior ministers this week made themselves available to
mediate in the dispute.
Economic Development Minister Gerry Brownlee and Arts and
Culture Minister Chris Finlayson met Sir Peter and Fran Walsh
on Monday morning.
The film's co-writer and co-producer, Philippa Boyens, warned
it was far from certain that the film would be shot in New
The dispute had damaged New Zealand's film reputation and
"thrown doubt on how stable our industry is in terms of
industrial relations," she told Radio New Zealand this week.