Susan W. shot over the following article about movie extra Eddie McCarthy and the ordeal which ensued his published report of his experience on the set of the Lord of the Rings films.
Eddie is Bemused about Blacklisting
by Peta Woodhouse
Contact – January 20, 2000
Former Lord Of The Rings movie extra Eddie McCarthy does not feel bitter about being blacklisted by Wellington acting agencies after spilling “secrets” about the making of the film.
He just finds it laughable.
McCarthy, a member of Porirua Little Theatre, says he is an amateur actor who does film work for fun rather than as a profession or for the money (he made $53 after tax, commission and expenses for a day’s work on the Rings movie set).
“It’s hysterical because it’s so ludicrous. How can they threaten a 68-year-old amateur actor [with no more work] when I just do this sort of thing for the love of it.”
“I’ve been there and done my thing. I’ve sung in music shows in the 60s before Avalon Studios were built.”
McCarthy’s “ordeal” began after Contact published an account he wrote about his brief stint as an extra for the Rings movie at Stone Film Studios in Miramar.
Extracts of the article read: “I will never forget walking on to the set for the first time. It was like Hollywood, huge monster trailers with plush interiors for make-up, trailers with cameras, lighting and technical equipment, hundreds of people moving about. It was intoxicating . . . ‘What’s your name?’ I heard Peter Jackson ask me. I saw every face on the set looking at me, everyone. ‘Eddie McCarthy,’ I replied, trying not to show any nervousness in my voice. ‘Eddie,’ PJ said, ‘try to get the timing right this time, all right?’ . . . My God, Peter Jackson spoke to me . . . He knows my name.”
The article prompted the solicitors of Peter Jackson’s production company Three Foot Six Ltd to send him a threatening letter.
The letter told him he had breached a contract with the company which banned him talking to the media about details of the film and warned him not to do so again.
Three Foot Six could not be reached — the company’s listed number had been disconnected and no new number provided.
But it was when McCarthy contacted Trio Talent Management for more film work, that he was sent a letter suggesting he could consider himself blacklisted from the film industry talent agencies around Wellington.
The letter from Trio says his breeach of confidentiality has put his reputation in the industry under a cloud, he says.
“I was virtually told I would never get work in this city again,” he says.
McCarthy says he does remember signing an agreement to keep tight-lipped about the Rings movie but is baffled over what the fuss is all about.
He says the article was “light hearted and humourous” and he was careful not to give any detail away.
“I understand thay don’t want every Tom, Dick and Harry talking to the media but I was careful not to give things away. If I wanted to expose them I could have mentioned a lot of other things.”
“I was just overwhelmed and delighted about doing the shoot and loved working with Peter Jackson. I felt good about the experience and wanted to share that,” he said.
But Trio Talent Management agency owner Sharon Tower says commercial agencies in Wellington are unlikely to put McCarthy on their books because they wouldn’t risk taking on someone who may breach contracts.
“I see where he is coming from — that he had a good time — but my reputation relies on doing things the right way. I won’t risk him doing something like that again,” she says.