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As it happened: The Hobbit world premiere in Wellington

Published: 7:01AM Wednesday November 28, 2012 Source: ONE News

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7.30pm: The stars of the film have posed for photographs together on the Hobbiton stage.

7.25pm:'s Darren Bevan says the highlight for him was Andy Serkis' long high-five.

"Best bit - would be Andy Serkis running down the carpet, hi-fiving everyone... showing some fan love for the #hobbitnz premiere," he tweeted. 

7.23pm: Weta Workshop has tweeted: "To all of you who have joined us for the wild ride leading up to this day - a big thank you from the Weta team."

7.11pm: A video message from Sir Ian McKellen is played to the crowd.

"I wish I was there in my spiritual home of Wellington," he says. "I know you're in for a good time. My love to everybody."

7.10pm: Jackson thanks everybody for coming.

7.10pm: Martin Freeman, has also joined The Hobbit team on stage.

7.09pm: All of the group of dwarves have emerged from the hobbit house onto the stage, including Mark Hadlow, James Nesbitt, Dean O'Gorman, and Richard Armitage. 


7.07pm: Actors Elijah Wood, Cate Blanchett, Barry Humphries, Andy Serkis, and Sylvester McCoy have joined Jackson on stage.


7.05pm: Jackson pays tribute to his wife and kids, who he says he couldn't have made the film without: "Fran, Billy and Katie I love you, thankyou," he said.

7.03pm: "LOTR was such a great experience, now we've been able to take The Hobbit and it seems like that's the way it should have been , we were meant to be here," says Jackson.

7.02pm: Jackson says 100,000 people coming out to support the premiere "sort of flips your head upside down".

7.01pm: "We like to leave our films the last minute, so excuse me if I take a little while beause I think the film is still travelling to get here," Jackson jokes as he gets to the microphone.

7.00pm: Peter Jackson has taken to the Hobbiton themed stage, appearing from the circular door of a hobbit house.

6.56pm: Barry Meyers, from Warner Bros, says he was "proud" to work with New Zealand's "genius in residence, Peter Jackson".

"We are so delighted to launch this first film of the trilogy with you," he said. "It's hard to imagine a more fitting backdrop for the world premiere than downtown Weliington, which has been transformed into the middle of Middle Earth.

6.55pm: "We have a very special message to Peter Jackson, first we wish you the very best of luck, and secondly, don't stop at three," Key says.

He also thanked the NZ public for supporting the filming of The Hobbit in this country.

6.54pm: Prime Minister John Key is speaking to the gathered crowd. "Tonight's a night of celebration and fun and entertainment, but first lets pay tribute to the genius of Peter Jackson," he said.

6.50pm: Celia Wade-Brown, Mayor of Wellington, is addressing the crowd outside The Embassy Theatre.

"Today is a day we've been waiting for, the day we go on an unexpected journey with hobbits, elves, trolls, and a wizard or two.

"Today the world's eyes are on Wellington. Lets celebrate Wellington as the middle of Middle Earth."

6.48pm: The speeches are about to begin.

6.42pm: The crowd lining the red carpet is chanting: "Peter, Peter."

6.35pm: Martin Freeman says he's "nearly lost his voice and my writing ability" as he reaches the end of the red carpet.

"We did feel really well looked after here, in every bar and every restaurant people were good to us," he said.

"It's perfect that the premiere should be here. It's very unusual to make a film where you feel like the whole country has helped make it, but that's what it was like here."


6.33pm: ONE News Reporter Rebecca Edwards says excitement at the premiere reached "fever pitch" as Elijah Wood walked past fans on the red carpet, who began chanting: "Elijah, Elijah."

6.32pm: Andy Serkis has run down the length of the 500m red carpet high-fiving fans all the way.

6.20pm: Asked what he thought of Jackson's decision to wear sneakers on the red carpet, Freeman said: "It's just a good thing he's not barefoot."

6.19pm: Martin Freeman tells Joanna Hunkin that Peter Jackson is "a superb director". "I think he's done it again," he says about The Hobbit.

6.02pm: ONE News reporter Rebecca Edwards , who is among the fans thronging the red carpet, says: "The atmosphere down here is absolutely electric."

She says there is no sign of fans getting tired, and there's still plenty of "excitement and energy".

5.59pm: Titanic and Avatar director James Cameron has arrived at the premiere.

5.56pm: Singer Neil Finn, says he had to think "for about half a second" before agreeing to write a song for the Hobbit soundtrack.

"I'm enjoying just being part of the whole thing," he told Joanna Hunkin . "Thankyou Peter and Fran and Philipa for asking me."

5.52pm: John Key, sporting a green bow-tie, has spoken to ONE News with his wife Bronagh. He says he is "really looking froward to seeing the finished product".


Key says New Zealand "took a risk" investing in The Hobbit, and "it pulled off".





5.48pm: Tolkien tells ONE News Entertainment Reporter Joanna Hunkin that seeing Peter Jackson shoot LOTR Return of the King inspired him to become a film-maker.

"That was the seed that planted in me to become involved in film-making myself," he said, adding that he "can't wait" to see The Hobbit on the big screen.

5.47pm: Royd Tolkien, great-grandson of author J RR Tolkien, says: "This is a great experience for me, I love everything about it."

5.41pm: Barry Humphries tells ONE News he was able to get into the character of the Goblin King by putting himself "entirely in the hands of Peter Jackson".

"We in Australia and you in New Zealand are reluctant to acknowledge the presence of a genius in your midst, but you've got one in Peter Jackson," he says. "This man has turned Wellington into the cultural capital of the southern hemisphere."

5.30pm: The Air NZ Hobbit-inspired plane has just done a fly-past over the red carpet in the skies above Wellington to cheers from the crowd. 


5.27pm: Serkis says he "really looking forward to sitting down with my wife and her seeing it (the film) for the first time".

5.25pm: Andy Serkis tells ONE News he's "loving it". "It's fantastic, the energy is just incredible," he said about the premiere.

He said New Zealand is "definitely my spiritual home".

5.23pm: Peter Jackson is "just incredible" says Mark Hadlow, who stars as Dori in the movie. He said the experience of filming The Hobbit was "unbelievable".

"It was insane, but great," he said. "It's been an amazing journey, and just watching these guys bringing what they've got to play is extremely exciting.

5.22pm: John Callen, who plays Oin, says starring in The Hobbit was a "new experience" for him, which was "challenging and exciting".

5.18pm: Barry Humphries, the Goblin King, who is famous for his role as Dame Edna, is on the red carpet. reporter Darren Bevan says he is "regaling the crowd".


5.14pm: Asked where he got his shoes from, Jackson says: "These are pretty much the only shoes I own, they came from the floor in the hallway, just under where the coats hang."

5.13pm: Jackson tells ONE News he is a "proud kiwi" who "loves making films here".

He says: "Hopefully I've got a couple of films in me yet, although a nice, long break seems good at the minute."

5.11pm: Peter Jackson has caused a bit of a stir wearing sneakers on the red carpet as he signs autographs for fans.

5.08pm: Elijah Wood, aka Frodo Baggins, has arrived on the red carpet.

5.05pm: Richard Armitage,  who plays Thorin Oakenshield, tells Tamati Coffey, "give me a character that has an heroic quality and I'll go there".

4.55pm: Andy Serkis, who plays Gollum, has arrived on the red carpet.

4.50pm: Talking on the red carpet actor Richard Armitage said: "The whole experience of shooting the film was enough for me without an end product. Sharing this with everybody is beyond belief."

4.46pm: Nesbitt said filming the trilogy was "challenging" but "beats working for a living".

4.45pm: Actor James Nesbitt says he's "beyond excitied" to be at the premiere.
"It's just so good to be back here. This wasn't just another job for me, this was a lifestyle - I brought my daughters here and it changed their lives," he says. "To be back for this is sensational."

4.42pm: Freeman says: "It's great the whole city's behind it, it's fantastic."

4.41pm: Freeman says he saw the finished film "two or three nights ago and it's beautiful". "It was a lot of work, a lot of hard slog, time and love, and it's a beautiful film," he said.

4.40pm: Actor Martin Freeman, who plays Bilbo Baggins, has arrived on the red carpet. He says he's having a "lovely time".

4.39pm: She says the actors were "phenomenal".

4.38pm: Hobbit producer Phillipa Boyens says she's "relieved" it's over.

"This is just the icing on the cake, especially when you see all these fans. I just hope people like it as much as we liked making it."

4.36pm: Katie says she wouldn't rule out working in the movie business herself.

4.35pm: Jackson's daughter, Katie, has accompanied him on the red carpet. She says she hasn't seen the film yet, because her dad wouldn't let her.

"I thought it would be much more fun for her to see it completely finished," he says.

4.34pm: Jackson says he had wanted to film The Hobbit before The Lord of the Rings but the rights were "too hard to get", so he filmed the LOTR trilogy first.

"I'm glad we did it this way, LOTR gave us a chance to establish the look first," he says.

4.31pm: Peter Jackson has arrived on the red carpet, and is signing autographs for fans. It is thought 100,000 people have tuned up.


He says it is "incredible that people have stayed here so long to welcome us, we really appreciate it".





4.29pm: There are reports that two people have collapsed  because of the heat at The Hobbit world premiere, Darren Bevan has tweeted. 

4.24pm: Neil Finn is playing Song of the Lonely Mountain, the soundtrack to The Hobbit, as the gathered crowd sings along. He said: "This is for Fran and Peter."

4.21pm: Darren Bevan tweets: "Someone on carpet said this is bigger than a One Direction concert. Praise for indeed...."

He also reports people have climbed up onto rooves and trees to catch a glimpse of the red carpet action.

4.06pm: Darren Bevan has tweeted: "Neil Finn busting out History never repeats.wrong, buddy, wgtn is packed again #hobbitnz."

4.01pm: There has been a countdown to the start of the action at The Hobbit red carpet. Neil Finn has just started performing to the gathered crowd from a Hobbiton-inspired stage.

3.51pm: MP Steven Joyce has wished those in Parliament a 'Happy Hobbit Day', according to Newstalk ZB.

3.48pm: MiddleEarthNews has tweeted this image, saying some hobbits have started to appear on the red carpet. It also reported that Gandalf hats are being given out to fans.

3.40pm: TheHobbitMovie has tweeted the latest behind-the-scenes video of the making of The Hobbit.

3.34pm: Fans have travelled from all over the world to be in Wellington for The Hobbit premiere. Michelle Quinn has come from Seattle , and has brought a couch to sit on while she passes time before this afternoon's event, reports Newstalk ZB.

3.14pm: A Hobbit fan, dressed as the Elf queen Galadriel , played by Cate Blanchett in the movie, is hoping to get her dress signed by the Hollywood actress at today's premiere. A Twitter campaign - dubbed 'an elvish quest on the red carpet' - has already been started by fans outside the Embassy Theatre, complete with a video on YouTube.

2.58pm: MiddleEarthNews has tweeted this image of circus performers keeping those waiting at The Hobbit red carpet entertained. It tweeted: "Red carpet entertainment for us #TheHobbitPremiere fans."

2.41pm: Animal rights group PETA will stage a silent protest, with demonstrators dressed as the Grim Reaper, outside the Embassy theatre this afternoon to coincide with The Hobbit premiere.

2.38pm: Sir Peter Jackson has hit out at animal rights group PETA over accusations of animal mistreatment during the making of The Hobbit. He says there was absolutely no animal cruelty or abuse on his set, and the allegations are an insult to everyone who worked on the film, Newstalk ZB reports.

2.20pm: MiddleEarthNews tweeted this image of posters being put up along the red carpet in preparation for the world premiere.

2.08pm: Singer Brooke Fraser has tweeted: "Just landed in my hometown for the world premiere of "The Hobbit" tonight. The sun is blazing, streets are decked out & the city is buzzing."

1.40pm: Speaking about the character of the Goblin King - played by Australian Barry Humphries, better known as Dame Edna Everage - Peter Jackson said: "The character is gross, has some personal hygiene issues and is verbally raw, so it was quite natural to look towards Australia."

1.34pm: just tweeted this photo of The Hobbit stars from the press conference earlier.


1.27pm: Neil, Liam and Elroy Finn have played to crowds waiting outside The Embassy Theatre. They performed Song of the Lonely Mountain from The Hobbit soundtrack as they rehearsed for this afternoon's concert. One tweeter, @nerwende , said it "sounds amazing".

1.18pm: Darren Bevan says reports are coming in that Hobbit ears and hats are almost sold out in Wellington. "Hobbit mania is here," he tweeted.

12.56pm: reporter Jessica Beresford has tweeted this picture of a Gangnam-Hobbit inspired poster which fans have displayed for the premiere later today.

12.45pm: The Hobbit press conference is now over.


12.42pm: The Hobbit actors have spoken about their experience filming with 'greenscreen' for the movies. John Callen says it is "not particularly different from working in a black box theatre". While Martin Freeman says he was "surprised" to find greenscreen "not too bad".

"I thought it would drive me mad," he said. "If someone had asked me two years ago how I'd do with greenscreen, I'd have said I wouldn't have done so well.

12.39pm: Weta Workshop has just posted this photograph to its Facebook page, with the caption: " the Artisan Market..."

12.33pm: Actor Manu Bennett could be the breakout performance of The Hobbit, says Peter Jackson. "He was fantastic, has that warrior's spirit."

12.29pm: Sir Peter Jackson tells press conference "we used technology to make things better" in The Hobbit movies.

" There's always the chance of dimensionalising the three Lord of the Rings films," he added.

12.21pm: New Zealand actor Mark Hadlow tells media gathered at Te Papa ahead of today's premiere that it is "unbelievable, just unbelievable" what Sir Peter's "genius" has achieved.

He says Martin Freeman is "stunning" as Bilbo Baggins.

12.13pm: Actor John Callen - who plays the dwarf Oin in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - says the dwarves worked together on a boot camp and "drank plenty of wine to bond".

12.09pm: Newstalk ZB reports that some of those in the crowd who spent the night camped outside The Embassy Theatre are actually animal rights protesters with the group, PETA.

The protesters are planning a "silent protest" outside the theatre this afternoon, following allegations of animal cruelty during the production of The Hobbit, ZB says.

12.06pm: ONE News's Darren Bevan says the second half of the media conference for The Hobbit premiere has begun.

11.52am: Sir Peter Jackson says the makers of The Hobbit "never had anyone else in mind for Bilbo except Martin Freeman".

"I was so worried, I couldn't sleep - I watched Sherlock until 4am - there was no better," he tells reporters in Wellington.

11.43am: Actor James Nesbitt describes New Zealand's welcome as "extraordinary" its culture as "rich and alluring" and its wines as "rich and delicious".

"My daughters' lives were changed by being here," he says. "They can't wait to come back."

11.37am: Sir Peter says animal rights group PETA's criticism of The Hobbit was "pretty pathetic" and an "insult to everyone who worked on the film".


11.34am: Actor Martin Freeman, who plays Bilbo Baggins,  almost didn't do The Hobbit because of his Sherlock role.

He tells reporters in Wellington: "Thinking about not doing The Hobbit was not a very nice scenario for me to consider".

11.31am: Sir Peter tells reporters: "Being a film director is a weird thing as there's a lot of attention on you."

He says he doesn't give himself a credit at the front of a film. "O ne person can't make a film, it's a huge collaboration."

11.30am: Actor Elijah Wood - who appeared in the Lord of The Rings trilogy of films - says: "To be asked to come back was a gift, weird but a gift.

"Feels like no time has passed at all - but was magical."

11.25am: Actress Cate Blanchett tells reporters The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a "wonderful heartwarming tale - you get to know and love every single dwarf". 


11.18am: "I remember hearing a CD for the first time in the 80s, it was totally different. 48 [frames per second] gives cinema going the clarity it needs," Sir Peter says.

"We have to make the cinema going experience as magical as we can."

11.15am: Sir Peter Jackson tells media "I would see the film in 48 frames per second if at all possible".

The director describes it as "dipping toe into water of a new way of shooting and projecting a film".

11.11am: A reporter asks Sir Peter how he works. The director responds: "As long as we have some petrol in the car to drive the film to the Embassy, we're ok."

11.08am: At The Hobbit media conference in Wellington, Darren Bevan says the cast were "all smiles" as they were welcomed onto the marae at Te Papa.