Written by Ellis Ian Fields
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Thursday, 7 October 2010

image for Hobbit Movie Row - Sam Neill Steps In.

Much-loved and respected Kiwi actor Sam Neill has stepped into the row brewing between the New Zealand government and film unions over the on-off movie, The Hobbit.

The prequel to the tremendously successful Lord of the Rings trilogy is under threat as unions urge actors to boycott it over pay.

And the New Zealand government is holding discussions with the interested parties.

But Neill, star of the Jurassic Park movies, The Dish and TV's The Tudors, told the Otago Daily Times: "The last thing we need here is for the situation to be politicised."

He suggested that a cup of tea and shaking hands should settle the issues.

But a source close to the amiable thespian reckons that as well as expressing a desire to see the film get off the ground to help boost the New Zealand economy, Neill is also bidding for a star role.

"That went rather well," said the source. "If they ever get the damned thing off the ground I reckon Sam's nailed on to play Bilbo Baggins.

"That letter to the paper hopefully clinched it. The 'Shaking hands and a cup of tea' bit was a stroke of genius."

Additional reporting by Mrs Fields.

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