Union demand for better working conditions for actors has won the backing of Star Trek XI‘s Karl Urban.
Urban is backing the New Zealand Actors Equity, which has joined with Australian-based unions such as the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) in calling for a boycott of Sir Peter Jackson‘s The Hobbit movies.
The boycott of The Hobbit was called because the movie is a non-union production,” said Urban. “[The] NZ Actors Equity has my full support in their struggle to gain a higher standard of contract for New Zealand performers.
“If [Jackson] has the opportunity to help improve the working conditions for actors in New Zealand,” said Urban, “to bring us more in line with our colleagues in Australia, the UK, and the US, I hope this is a dialogue which he would engage in, and an endeavor which he would support.”
According to Jackson, the demands of MEAA, which include wanting a union negotiated agreement covering all performers in The Hobbit, “cannot be agreed to, or even considered, by law.” According to Jackson, his options include “involve closing The Hobbit down, or more likely shifting the production to Europe.”
Other actors, including Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving and Sir Ian McKellan, all reportedly involved in The Hobbit, support the MEAA‘s stance, according to an MEAA official.