Children of the Sun > Movies & Entertainment

The Hobbit

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That made me snort coffee.

Speaking of drama . . .

--- Quote from: ---Shaye: New Line Blacklists Jackson

In the latest comment in the controversy surrounding a proposed movie based on J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, New Line head Robert Shaye told SCI FI Wire in no uncertain terms that the studio won't work with Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson on that film or any other film. Ever. At least not as long as Shaye is in charge.

Shaye's comments marked the first time a New Line executive has commented publicly on the fracas since Jackson announced that he has pulled out of the project and also appears to harden New Line's position against Jackson.

"I do not want to make a movie with somebody who is suing me," Shaye—New Line's chief executive officer—said in an interview on Jan. 5 while promoting The Last Mimzy, a New Line family fantasy that marks his first time in a director's chair since 1990's Book of Love. "It will never happen during my watch."

Jackson had told in November that he and partner Fran Walsh were bowing out after New Line, which produced the Rings films and has production rights to The Hobbit, told them the studio was moving ahead with The Hobbit without them. Jackson has said he won't discuss The Hobbit until a lawsuit against New Line over Rings accounting practices is settled.

As far as Shaye is concerned, Jackson is no longer welcome. "There's a kind of arrogance," Shaye said. "Not that I don't think Peter is a good filmmaker and that he hasn't contributed significantly to filmography and made three very good movies. And I don't even expect him to say 'thank you' for having me make it happen and having New Line make it happen. But to think that I, as a functionary in [a] company that has been around for a long time, but is now owned by a very big conglomerate, would care one bit about trying to cheat the guy, ... he's either had very poor counsel or is completely misinformed and myopic to think that I care whether I give him [anything]."

Shaye, who was also an executive producer on the Rings films, added: "He got a quarter of a billion dollars paid to him so far, justifiably, according to contract, completely right, and this guy, who already has received a quarter of a billion dollars, turns around without wanting to have a discussion with us and sues us and refuses to discuss it unless we just give in to his plan. I don't want to work with that guy anymore. Why would I? So the answer is he will never make any movie with New Line Cinema again while I'm still working for the company."

Shaye said that many of the Rings trilogy actors "suddenly, because, I'm guessing, of Peter's complaint," have declined to participate in celebrating New Line's 40th anniversary. "I'm incredibly offended," he said. "I don't care about Peter Jackson anymore. He wants to have another $100 million or $50 million, whatever he's suing us for. He doesn't want to sit down and talk about it. He thinks that we owe him something after we've paid him over a quarter of a billion dollars. ... Cheers, Peter."

New Line's hardened position against Jackson isn't the end of the story, of course. MGM, which owns the distribution rights to The Hobbit, on Nov. 20 told Variety through a spokesman that "the matter of Peter Jackson directing the Hobbit films is far from closed."

In his own online statement, Jackson said that New Line executive Mark Ordesky, who shepherded the Rings trilogy, argued that New Line is dumping Jackson because the studio has a "limited time option" on the film rights, obtained from Saul Zaentz.
--- End quote ---

Then Ain't It Cool News had this to say . . .

--- Quote ---The dirty fighting is starting between Peter Jackson and New Line. reported on an interview with Bob Shaye done by, where he rips into Jackson and says he's not welcome at New Line ever again.

He points out what Jackson has been paid so far on Rings... a lot of money... but he doesn't answer why New Line refuses to allow Jackson's representatives into the books. I believe Jackson is suing over his contracted percentage on the FELLOWSHIP DVDs, but from Jackson's letter to the fans about the situation, it sounds like he just wants to make sure he's not being short changed. So, the question still remains... If New Line is sure they've fulfilled their contractual obligation to Jackson and Co, why are they fighting this?

I guess now it's personal and Shaye is going to do his damndest to fast track HOBBIT, which is always a good reason to make a film. Here's hoping MGM, who still owns the North American distribution rights, puts their foot down and stops a hastily made HOBBIT movie. If they can filibuster New Line and Saul Zaentz gets the rights back, he's said he wants Jackson to do it.

Even if Jackson ends up having nothing to do with a HOBBIT film, I'd still love to see it made right. Not just for the right reasons, but with the right amount of care put into the project. His blessing on the project would also open up the possibility of returning actors who wouldn't come back in this new situation at New Line. I know Ian McKellen has publicly stated that he won't return unless Jackson does.

So, a clusterfuck. Hopefully the fans aren't the ones who take it up the pooper in the end, but I think that's where Mr. Shaye is taking us right now.
--- End quote ---

I like how Shaye, in talking about arrogance on the part of Jackson, comes across as insanely arrogant.

I've always liked Shaye because he's the guy who helped bankroll the original Nightmare on Elm Street, and has never forgotten that Wes Craven and that film put New Line on the map.

However, yes, he sounds extremely arrogant here.

Then again, it's his word against Jackson's. The difference is, the fans LOVE Jackson.

A rebuttal from Wingnut Films. (Jackson's film company.)

--- Quote ---"Our issue with New Line Cinema has only ever been about their refusal to account for financial anomalies that surfaced from a partial audit of The Fellowship of the Ring. Contrary to recent comments made by Bob Shaye, we attempted to discuss the issues raised by the Fellowship audit with New Line for over a year but the studio was and continues to be completely uncooperative. This has compelled us to file a lawsuit to pursue our contractual rights under the law. Nobody likes taking legal action, but the studio left us with no alternative.

For over two years, New Line has denied us the ability to audit The Two Towers and The Return of the King, despite repeated requests. Film auditing is a common and straightforward practice within the industry and we don't understand why New Line Cinema has taken this position.

In light of these circumstances, I didn't think it was appropriate for me to be involved in New Line Cinema's 40th Anniversary video. I have never discussed this video with any of the cast of The Lord of the Rings. The issues that Bob Shaye has with the cast pre-date this law suit by many years.

Fundamentally, our legal action is about holding New Line to it's contractual obligations and promises. It is regrettable that Bob has chosen to make it personal. I have always had the highest respect and affection for Bob and other senior management at New Line and continue to do so."
--- End quote ---


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