Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Special Report from Wellington, NZ: The Run-Up to An Expected Premiere for "The Hobbit"

Red Dot Diva is envious. Super envious, actually.

Native kiwis seem to have it all with regards to fictional Middle-Earth. After all, most of the sets seen in the "Lord of the Rings" (LOTR) trilogy and the upcoming movies for "The Hobbit" are based on New Zealand landscapes and landmarks.

With "The Hobbit" movies (there will be three parts!), Peter Jackson has returned as director, together with a host of very familiar faces from the LOTR trilogy, like Sir Ian McKellen as Gandalf the Grey, Cate Blanchett as Galadriel, Elijah Wood as Frodo and Andy Serkis as Gollum. Ok, well.... we don't get to see Andy Serkis' face in the movies, but his remarkable contribution to that precioussssss role is undeniably recognizable.

A fresh bunch of actors who have assumed roles in "The Hobbit" movies will soon join the long list of memorable Lord of the Rings cast members. Martin Freeman heads the cast as the younger Bilbo Baggins who will be going on the adventure of his lifetime. The accompanying dwarves on this journey include actors like the very nommy Richard Armitage (Thorin Oakenshield), James Nesbitt (Nofur) and Aidan Turner of "Being Human" fame (Kili). Plus, Red Dot Diva knows that many BBC Sherlock fans are still squeeing over the fact that Benedict Cumberbatch has lent his voice for Smaug the dragon.

And, as you are reading this blog post, the actors, production folks, media and fans are all converging at Wellington, and are getting ready for the World Premiere on November 28! Apparently, more than 100,000 people are expected to be there!

What better way to vicariously enjoy the spectacular event than to get ground zero teasers from a true-blue Wellington native and LOTR fan, Elizabeth Egan Scrivener.

Here's her little report on what's been happening in the city leading up to the premiere!


What you need to know about Wellington is that, even though it is the capital of New Zealand, it has a population so small, it would only be a large town in somewhere like England or the US.

So, when it hosts a world premiere for a major film, as it did with "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King", in 2003, and is doing again this year for "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey", the whole city can, and does, get involved.

In December 2003, an estimated 120,000 people (from a population of 400,000) turned out to the celebratory parade which went the length of the central city and included Maori warriors, Ringwraiths on horseback, the director and his international stars in open-topped cars. Weta Workshop created a huge Gollum, which peeped over a terminal building at Wellington airport, and a gigantic troll which stood on a central government building. A huge arrow stuck out the side of a building as if shot there by Legolas, and more than one building had a Nazgul looming over it.

This year, Wellington is once again dressing the city in preparation. Another Gollum is at the airport – this time, he’s inside the terminal; and a huge Gandalf waits outside Bilbo’s door atop the Embassy Theatre. Word is that something else will be added on the day – surely it will be Bilbo himself?

An artisan market has sprung up on a nearby park for five days. The hay bales, canvas tents, banners and pennants mean the market would not look out of place in the Shire, and it seems the only non-handcrafted items for sale amongst the knives, tapestry, leather bags, woven scarves and pottery, are the postage stamps – which are suitably Hobbit-themed, of course.

At the fair, the festive "Middle Earth" ambience is aided by bands of musicians merrily playing their jigs. Happy visitors opt to get their faces artistically painted (wanna be an orc, anyone?), and there is even a live demonstration on the application of prosthetics and make-up.

In addition, a huge screen will be showing the Lord of the Rings trilogy - one part a night, for the three nights leading up to the premiere tomorrow.

Only a few hours to go to now!

And I think, many folks in Wellington won’t be getting much sleep for the fact that most are simply too excited counting down to "The Hobbit" premiere!


To keep up with the frenzy, let us have a gander at "The Hobbit" trailer again!


Special Thanks to Elizabeth Egan Scrivener for the report!

Credit: All pics belong to Elizabeth Egan Scrivener

And there will be more to come from her about "The Hobbit" premiere at this blog!
So do drop by again real soon!