Lord Of The Rings star Andy Serkis is "delighted" The Hobbit will be filmed in New Zealand after a unions dispute was resolved - because a move would have been devastating for the country's film industry.
All three of Peter Jackson's previous fantasy epics were filmed in the country, but plans to shoot the upcoming prequel there were thrown into jeopardy when local actors' unions instigated a boycott of the movie.
Studio bosses threatened to relocate the picture to another country in a bid to avoid any further trouble, sparking mass demonstrations from supporters in New Zealand who wanted to see the franchise remain in its original home.
Relations between film bosses and the unions were finally mended this week (beg25Oct10) and The Hobbit will go into production in New Zealand as planned in February (11).
And Serkis, who plays Gollum in the film series, admits he was relieved to hear the dispute has been settled.
He says, "I'm delighted. It's where it should be, it's where it was meant to be and a lot of the people wanted to see those stories being made and told in that place and it would have been a shame to have done it anywhere else.
"The film industry in New Zealand has really burgeoned through that process of making Lord Of The Rings and Peter Jackson was very much at the front of that, and everyone involved with the production would have been very upset to have seen it set anywhere else."