WELLINGTON, New Zealand – A racism row has erupted over the filming of Peter Jackson’s new Hobbit film where a movie extra was told that they were too dark to play one of Tolkein’s creatures.
A casting call held in New Zealand in the last week invited movie extras to audition for small roles and on screen walk ons to interpret creatures in the film.
The movie extra in question was of Pakistani origin, and has become an internet sensation for speaking out about the alleged discrimination she faced from the movie’s casting director.
“It’s 2010 and I still can’t believe I’m being discriminated against because I have brown skin,”
“The casting manager basically said they weren’t having anybody who wasn’t pale-skinned.”
“I would love to be an extra,” she said. “But it just seemed like a shame because obviously hobbits are not brown or black or any other colour.” – AFP
Facing bitter opposition from actors unions in both Australia and New Zealand, Warner Bros faced immense challenges to shoot the film in the country, but was finally able to do so after much political intervention and face saving talks with Peter Jackson, the New Zealand government and producers.
Director Guillermo del Toro was originally attached to shoot the film but dropped out because of the difficulties facing the film production.
A spokesman for Peter Jackson has told the Dominion Post that the incident was highly unfortunate:
“They would never issue instructions of this kind to the casting crew. All people meeting the age and height requirements are welcome to audition.”
The misunderstanding it seems, has enraged Naz Humphreys, who waited 3 hours to audition as one of the creatures in the film, however it is unclear whether an official complaint has yet been issued