Things have quieted down a bit in the world’s media, but nothing has been settled yet on the two-part “Hobbit” production and a dispute with actors. What has changed is that both sides have gone mostly quiet in the press while government officials from both New Zealand and Australia have stepped in to comment or mediate. Meanwhile, Sam Neil says the whole thing could be resolved over a cup of tea.

But could ‘The Hobbit’ really leave New Zealand? Could it really walk away from the landscapes and the people who were the heart and soul of the LOTR trilogy? Isn’t this all a bluff in negotiations that everybody knows will be resolved? A spy close to the production tells us the possibility is absolutely real. The studios, after finally getting all the ducks in a row, want to greenlight and shoot these films and they are willing to leave New Zealand if they must. Canada believes it, so does Scotland and ironically, so does Australia. TORn is lacking a translator for most Eastern European languages but Romania and its neighbors also seem like a possibility. (I would throw Utah in the hat too!)

And the online petition we reported on, initiated by film industry pros in New Zealand, has at least has been noticed. In an interview “Hobbit” co-writer and co-producer Phillipa Boyens said,

“I tell you one thing that’s been amazing and that’s the support and it has I think personally made a huge difference, is the New Zealand industry has started to rally around to save this and they have the online petition . . . that’s been fantastic and Pete’s been reading that and taking heart from it.”

Keen eyes will discover many familiar names on the petition list, including a “confirmed” Elijah Wood. As always, TORn will bring you the latest news as it gets reported.