Due to NZ Equity and MEAA problems which lead to an open announcement to other international actors unions to boycott The Hobbit, plans were made to move the production out of New Zealand, perhaps to the UK or Canada. Today, the unions have rescinded their plan to boycott, in order to keep the production in New Zealand.
Unfortunately, this action may be too little too late. Director Peter Jackson states that “the damage inflicted on our film industry by the actors unions is long since done. The move has undermined Warner Brothers confidence in the industry…Next week Warners are coming down to New Zealand to make arrangements to move the production offshore.”
However, there are some good Hobbit news. SlashFilm reports that Jackson has confirmed that Martin Freeman will indeed be portraying Bilbo Baggins.