Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Hobbit Wars

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  • David Hood,

    Nudity in the Hobbit- You see, to be properly invisible you would need to remove your clothes (aka the Invisible Man). So when an actor is being invisible, they are naked.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    the acting kaiser...

    The mere thought of Gerry Brownlee 'suggesting' a course of action is a true worry.

    obviously, for the good of the country, all actors will be rounded up and put in re-education camps for threatening the stability of the economy during this time of national emergency. There may have to be examples made...
    The reconditioning practices of Pav Love combined with Hobbit-forming substances will save the day!

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Nudity in the Hobbit

    and I thought they were Shire than that...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Geez i love you Ian!

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    The reconditioning practices of Pav Love combined with Hobbit-forming substances . . .

    Hot footage from the Hobbit re-education camp, or just another Japanese petting zoo?

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Nick Shand,

    oh my goodness ... porn horny hobbits

    um I must confess I got more than enough of that imagery from "Bored of the Rings" some years back

    "Goblin Girls" for them who have repressed the reference

    auck • Since Aug 2008 • 79 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    There is also "Bawd of the Rings" for the truly desperate...

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Nick Shand,

    for the truly desperate

    ah so there is ... mad King Lear

    good thing we don't have any mad kings wand waving here

    auck • Since Aug 2008 • 79 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    I thought they were Shire than that

    roflnui

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    THEY'RE FUCKING ACTORS! WITH PUBLICISTS AND AGENTS!
    That could be read 2 ways Craig ;-)

    Actually, it reads more like at least 3-ways. 8-)

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1942 posts Report Reply

  • Jonathan King,

    You know what's morally indefensible about this actors thing?

    They're all still at work, while other NZ film workers have been stood down directly because of their threats. People working the week before last didn't work last week - or won't next week - because of the uncertainty of the project ... while actors on Spartacus, Shortland St, Go Girls etc bank their paychecks.

    If the actors want to put their money where their mouth is and strike then they should knock themselves out ... but inflicting real pain without being prepared to take any is bullshit.

    Since Sep 2010 • 185 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    And whether you agree with him or not, you're not going to die waiting to know what Ian Mune really thinks.

    But I've got to admit that my eye-brows went up at this --

    This furore, which has gone global, is simply the normal process of a union trying to talk to an employer who is refusing to talk back, he says.

    "This is no different to any other union dispute. People are jumping up and down and saying 'for the greater good of the nation', and 'the actors should shut up and live in Third World conditions'.

    "Now, that won't happen with doctors, it won't happen with electricians, it won't happen with politicians, why should it happen with actors?"

    Well, Ian, I could point out that (for the sake of argument) the "normal process" with the Nurses Organisation, Resident Doctors Association, Salaried Medical Staff Association and other health sector unions is to keep their registration up to snuff, so they have legal status to negotiate with employers.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Jonathan King,

    I thought this "third world conditions" thing had been put to bed when Peter Jackson revealed they were being offered around $5000 a week.

    And the actors said it wasn't about money. What are the third world conditions then? Catering that doesn't have an ovo-lacto option?

    Since Sep 2010 • 185 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    There's no nudity in The Hobbit but I seem to recall 3 scenes involving nudity in LOTR the book. Neither appeared in the film, of course. Firstly, after escaping the Barrow, the hobbits strip off the clothes the wights put on them. Second, Frodo is stripped naked by the Orcs in the Tower of Cirith Ungol. Third, Gandalf describes lying naked in the snow after his battle with the Balrog.

    Curious how that's unacceptable, but battle scenes involving thousands of people, with graphic decapitations, impalings, limbs hacked off, throat biting, being crushed underfoot, or by falling ladders or catapulted rocks, plummeting to death, burning alive, being swallowed, multiply impaled with arrows, cannibalism, close ups of piles of bodies, piles of burning corpses, mountains of skulls, etc, is considered fine for children.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I think this is the sad part of the Ian Mune story:

    When told that Jackson's latest statement says Spada (the Screen Production and Development Association) has been trying to meet both the New Zealand and Australian actors' unions (NZ Equity and MEAA) for 18 months only to be rebuffed, Mune replies, mystified, "Spada is dealing with this?" It's the first he'd heard of it.

    Well, yes. Actors' Equity used to negotiate guidelines with Spada annually, but hasn't done so for five years, since the Australians took over. And for the past 18 months, it's been actively refusing an invitation to negotiate with the organisation it should talk to if it wants to improve conditions for actors.

    It's disappointing that Mune should be commenting when he genuinely doesn't seem to know much about the dispute.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    @Ben: More on point, I'm sure James Griffin & Rachel Lang would be absolutely mortified at any suggestion Robyn -- or any other woman in the cast of Outrageous Fortune -- felt unsafe or disrespected doing any of the multitude of sex scenes in the show without a quote unquote "nudity clause" in an industry-wide collective contract. It just felt like a seriously weird, random thing for Ward-Lealand and Malcolm to throw out in that Campbell Live interview. Sadly, it wasn't the best work of anyone involved.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Samuel Scott,

    Actors' Equity used to negotiate guidelines with Spada annually, but hasn't done so for five years, since the Australians took over.

    I think that sentence pretty much sums up where this all went wrong.

    South Wellington • Since Feb 2008 • 315 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Just got an email from a friend who works as a set-builder:

    It’s a tricky situation down there, those in the tent making the deal need to be mindful that the agreement they make will also apply here in Auckland. Our industry is quite different, we are not a company town.  We do everything from big budget blockbusters to super cheapies, and it really works. We have to be flexible, they need to make a deal that suits our industry, that’s the whole New Zealand industry and not for the foreign ones."

    This is why it's crazy trying to set industry standards via the producer of The Hobbit.

    I must say my view on this has hardened a lot since I read Frances Walsh's comments on the Herald site yesterday.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I must say my view on this has hardened a lot since I read Frances Walsh's comments on the Herald site yesterday.

    Well, yes... Like you (I think it's fair to say), my instincts are to back the actors, but it's been impossible to ignore the high levels of "truthiness", mixed messages and outright falsehoods coming from NZ Actor's Equity and their cheerleaders. I'd love to err on the side of generosity and assume it's just well-intentioned people well out of their depth (and unwitting pawns in someone else's game), but you've got to wonder...

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Cox,

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 312 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Bennett,

    The actors' contracts for all drama productions I have been involved in (and that's a fair few by now, including Outrageous Fortune), ALL had built in 'nudity clauses'. These state (and I paraphrase) that an actor will be consulted if nudity is required for a role. The actor may choose not to perform nude, in which case a body-double may be engaged by the Producer.

    I think the invocation of 'nudity clauses' is a red-herring as they have been pretty standard for many years. The real issues for NZ actors are residuals and a share in the back-end revenue ie DVD sales, downloads etc.

    The actors for PR reasons are avoiding being specific about these issues as they ARE about money - and by most New Zealanders standards, screen actors are extremely well remunerated and well looked after at work. Therefore, this matter is unlikely to gain much public support.

    However, to be fair to the NZ actors, residuals are a part of actors' deals in many countries around the world, and I can understand the feeling of unfairness.

    BUT...as a director and producer, who is also an independent contractor, I work with many other highly-skilled contractors in the craft areas of the industry, who work extremely long hours for far less remuneration than actors receive None of these people get residuals or any sort of profit-share. I fail to see why, on policy grounds, this is a benefit that should automatically and exclusively be applied to actors.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 172 posts Report Reply

  • Blake Monkley,

    The important point to remember is that the pink book is not legally enforcable, it's a set of guidelines and standards. If the two parties were to reach an agreement on an Industry collective they could have a variation clause which would give them flexibilty that the film industry needs sometimes for small budget purposes etc.........seems simple enough to me.

    Auckland • Since Jul 2008 • 215 posts Report Reply

  • Dan Slevin,

    I know a number of actors on LOTR who took part in a class action to get a cut of the merchandise revenue - specifically those where their likeness featured on an action figure or some such - so this may well be behind part of it.

    Wellington, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 95 posts Report Reply

  • Jacqui Dunn,

    "BUT...as a director and producer, who is also an independent contractor, I work with many other highly-skilled contractors in the craft areas of the industry, who work extremely long hours for far less remuneration than actors receive None of these people get residuals or any sort of profit-share. I fail to see why, on policy grounds, this is a benefit that should automatically and exclusively be applied to actors."

    Agreed, Simon, but how many of those contractors - not actors, but others - would be recognized every time a film was shown? Surely that is the point of residual payments? An actor who has been in (too) many roles is often passed over for a "newer" face. Unfortunately, actors have a "use-by" date. NZ actors are at a distinct disadvantage compared to overseas actors who get residuals.

    Deepest, darkest Avondale… • Since Jul 2010 • 585 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    The important point to remember is that the pink book is not legally enforcable, it's a set of guidelines and standards.

    But as far as I can tell, both the Pink and Blue Books are almost universally adhered to. They're not vague guidelines either -- they even stipulate unglamorous stuff like mileage rates.

    And there is a reason that they're guidelines -- it's a breach of the law to negotiate a collective agreement across a group of independent contractors -- it's price-fixing.

    The actors are welcome to try and become short-term employees, but they should then be prepared to pay 45 cents in the dollar income tax, with not right to deduct their expenses. You can't have it both ways.

    If the two parties were to reach an agreement on an Industry collective they could have a variation clause which would give them flexibilty that the film industry needs sometimes for small budget purposes etc.........seems simple enough to me.

    Which two parties? Actors' Equity and Peter Jackson, like the actors say they want? Blake, they can't negotiate an industry agreement. It would be unethical of Jackson to enter into such a process.

    They need to talk to Spada. And to have some real idea of what they want when they do so.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

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