Acclaimed Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson has threatened to move the entire production of The Hobbit (and the Shire) from the wilds of New Zealand to eastern Europe.
According to the UK-based Guardian, filming of the long-awaited, two-part prequel is currently delayed due to a controversial union boycott led by Australia’s Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA).
Jackson, who was born in New Zealand, angrily condemned the boycott and labeled the union an “Australian bully boy” with an unjust agenda “based [solely] on money and power.”
“It feels as if we have a large Aussie cousin kicking sand in our eyes…Or to put it another way, opportunists exploiting our film for their own political gain,” Jackson claimed in a rather lengthy statement obtained by the Guardian.
“They want greater membership since they get to increase their bank balance. If The Hobbit goes east – eastern Europe in fact – look forward to a long, dry big-budget movie drought in this country.”
Nevertheless, Jackson made a point of emphasizing he was not anti-union, saying “I always attempted to treat my actors and crew with fairness and respect.”
For the record, the Shire is actually located in the northwest of the (Middle-Earth) continent, in the large region of Eriador and the Kingdom of Arnor.
Its name in Westron is Sûza “Shire” or Sûzat “The Shire,” while the geographic area was referred to as i Drann in Sindarin.
Of course, in Tolkien’s documents, the Shire is located at approximately the same position as England on modern European maps.