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Wellington rolls out the red carpet for Hobbit premiere

Published: 5:44AM Tuesday November 27, 2012 Source: ONE News

With less than 24 hours before the Hobbit stars take to the red carpet in Wellington, last minute preparations are well underway.

From tonight, roads around the Embassy theatre will be closed in readiness for the arrival of tens of thousands of people keen to catch a glimpse of the stars tomorrow.

Members of the cast and crew of Sir Peter Jackson's long-awaited epic The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey touched down today ahead of the premiere.

Air New Zealand's Hobbit-inspired Boeing 777 delivered many of the film's cast members from London and Los Angeles this morning.

New Zealand actor Dean O'Gorman, who plays Fili in the movie, told ONE News the experience was "completely surreal".

"I mean, everyone's asking me how I feel, and to be honest, I don't really know how I feel because I'm on a plane with a picture of me on the side, there's all these cameras, we're doing interviews at 30,000 ft, it's quite weird," he said.

Also aboard the flight were actors Aiden Turner, Graham McTavish, Sylvester McCoy and Royd Tolkien, the great grandson of JRR Tolkien.

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Gorman also said the cast were just as excited to see the finished film as the fans.

"There's all these things that we weren't involved in that we'll get to see for the first time," he said.

However, while the stars have arrived, there is still plenty of work to be done on the ground.

"We've got grandstands, we've got toilets, we've got drinking water stations, we've got the carpet, the barriers, we've got signage to go up, then we've got cables to lay, TV crews, big screen TVs - there's a lot to go in," said event organiser Jamie Wilson.

The red carpet itself is being prepared by a specialist team based in Petone.

"It's hard work, don't get me wrong there, there's a lot of work to be done," said chief red carpet roller John Atkinson.

"Luckily this team's had a bit of practice. This is going to be number seven for me."

That's because the capital's no stranger to red carpet events. In December 2009, stars descended on the city for The Lovely Bones local premiere and four years earlier, King Kong had its own premiere.

And of course, hundreds of thousands of people gathered for the red carpet parade when the world premiere of the third Lord of the Rings film, the Return of the King, was held in 2003.

Pre-carpet entertainment will begin at 3pm tomorrow and the filmmakers and stars of the film will begin to walk the more than 500 metres of red carpet from Reading Cinema to The Embassy Theatre at 4.30 pm.

New Zealand audiences will be able to see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey when it hits screens on December 13. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is due for release in December 2013 and The Hobbit: There and Back Again is due out in July 2014.

ONE News and will have live coverage of the Hobbit premiere on Wednesday, November 28. ONE News will be using the hashtag #HobbitNZ for all Hobbit-related tweets.