Producer Peter Jackson has warned that a labor dispute could force him to shut down production of his two-movie Hobbit project or shift filming from New Zealand to eastern Europe. The Screen Actors Guild and six other unions have urged actors not to work on the films, saying that the producers have refused to negotiate a labor contract for actors, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Jackson, who is also expected to direct the Lord of the Rings prequels, says he isn't anti-union and he has "always attempted to treat my actors and crew with fairness and respect," the BBC reports. He blames the labor trouble on a "power grab" by an Australian union seeking to represent New Zealand actors. "It feels like we have a large Aussie cousin kicking sand in our eyes," he quipped. Labor leaders say they are simply trying to ensure a fair deal for New Zealand actors. (Read more New Zealand stories.)