'The Hobbit' premieres and fans celebrate

Friday 30 November 2012, 1:18PM
By 100% Pure New Zealand


Wellington New Zealand turned on a party to remember for the world première of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Thousands of eager fans - with some estimates of up to 100,000 - lined the red carpet in Courtenay Place yesterday (28.11.2012) as the stars and guests walked the 500 metres between the Embassy Theatre and the Reading Cinema Complex to the much anticipated première.

The fans were rewarded with a two-hour spectacle as the stars took a leisurely stroll along the red carpet in brilliant sunshine, greeting fans, posing for photos and signing autographs.

An online audience of millions from all over the world including Australia, Brazil, Denmark, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Taiwan and the U.S.A watched the première event streamed live as the stars interacted with their fans.

The international star cast on the red carpet included Martin Freeman, Andy Serkis, Elijah Wood, Cate Blanchett, Richard Armitage, Hugo Weaving, Barry Humphries, Sylvester McCoy, James Nesbitt, Adam Brown, Aidan Turner, Graham McTavish and Ken Stott.

New Zealand actors Jed Brophy, Dean O’Gorman, Mark Hadlow, William Kircher, Stephen Hunter, Peter Hambleton and John Callen were also on hand.

VIP guests included James Cameron, Yao Chen, Evangeline Lily, Keisha Castle-Hughes, Brooke Fraser, Taika Watiti, Jermaine Clement and New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, The Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae and Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown.

Celebrated director and local hero Peter Jackson walked the carpet with his 16-year-old daughter Katie, and popped out of a Hobbit hole in front of The Embassy to officially address the crowd.

Workers spent several weeks preparing the theatre - turning it into a mini Hobbiton complete with hillside and Hobbit hole, beneath a towering 9-metre sculpture of Gandalf the Grey.Four builders and three sculptors spent around 500 hours working on the installation, painting and ‘planting’ 600 grass skirts to provide the grassy hill slope.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

From Academy Award-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson comes The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first of a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien.

Ian McKellen returns as Gandalf the Grey, the character he played in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, with Martin Freeman in the central role of Bilbo Baggins, and Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield. Also reprising their roles from The Lord of the Rings in The Hobbit Trilogy are: Cate Blanchett as Galadriel; Ian Holm as the elder Bilbo; Christopher Lee as Saruman; Hugo Weaving as Elrond; Elijah Wood as Frodo; and Andy Serkis as Gollum. The international ensemble cast of the trilogy also includes (in alphabetical order) Manu Bennett, Jed Brophy, Adam Brown, John Callen, Mark Hadlow, Peter Hambleton, Barry Humphries, Stephen Hunter, William Kircher, Sylvester McCoy, Bret McKenzie, Graham McTavish, James Nesbitt, Dean O’Gorman, Conan Stevens, Ken Stott and Aidan Turner.

The screenplay for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is by Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens & Peter Jackson & Guillermo del Toro. Jackson is also producing the film, together with Carolynne Cunningham, Zane Weiner and Fran Walsh. The executive producers are Alan Horn, Toby Emmerich, Ken Kamins and Carolyn Blackwood, with Boyens and Eileen Moran serving as co-producers.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and the second and third films of the trilogy are productions of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM), with New Line managing production. Warner Bros. Pictures is handling worldwide theatrical distribution, with select international territories as well as all international television distribution being handled by MGM.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will release in New Zealand on 13 December, United States on 14 December, United Kingdom on 14 December and Australia on 26 December.