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The Hobbit May Leave New Zealand

The production mess that is The Hobbit drags on. The producers of the J.R.R. Tolkien film adaptation have been embroiled in a heated labor dispute with the New Zealand Actors’ Equity Union after the group called for a boycott of The Hobbit, citing a lack of minimum standards for its members. Now, New Line Cinema is considering moving the two-part, $500 million-budgeted Lord of the Rings prequel to a new filming location. Meanwhile, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key will meet with film executives on Tuesday to try and salvage the project. Lord of the Rings filmmaker Peter Jackson, who shot the trilogy in New Zealand, is set to direct The Hobbit, and actor Martin Freeman (BBC’s The Office) will star as Bilbo Baggins.