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An American correspondent says the fact that Sir Peter Jcckson wants to make The Hobbit in New Zealand is the most important factor for keeping the project in the country.

Sam Rubin told Close Up that Jackson has “extraordinary clout” and as far as Hollywood is concerned Jackson is the movie business in New Zealand.

He said he can’t believe the country is risking pushing him off shore.

Warner Brother’s executives have confirmed the location for the Hobbit is still under consideration, and the future of the film will remain unknown until they touch down in New Zealand next week.

Jackson’s appearance on Close Up last night caused a huge reaction as far afield as Hollywood and Rubin said he could “see and feel how angry Peter Jackson is”.

Rubin said a lot of things weigh in favour of keeping the project in New Zealand such as the structures already being in place, but he said Jackson’s desire to make the movie locally is the biggest factor. Warner Brothers wants to keep Jackson happy, keep the project on track and on budget, said Rubin.

However he said The Hobbit is just another product and this is about money.

“It’s not called ‘showfriends’, it’s showbusiness”.

And he said Kiwi actors are not known in Hollywood although “a lot of production has left Hollywood for places like New Zealand”.

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Rubin said Hollywood involves a lot of ego and symbolism and he believes it would mean a lot if the Prime Minister of New Zealand is willing to “sit down with the folks at Warner Brothers” and discuss the situation. Part of that will be to reassure Warners that the situation is under control won’t occur again, Rubin said.

He said that would not only be an insurance to Warner Brothers but would also indicate how important it is to New Zealand.

While acknowledging the action has damaged New Zealand’s reputation, Rubin doesn’t believe it is irrevocably harmed.

“It may be a bump in the road.”

And he is convinced the row will be completely resolved by Wednesday.

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