Blog | 1 November 2012 | Premieres
The premiere in Wellington is nigh, followed by another in New York City and the prestigious Royal Film Performance at London's Leicester Square, where I hear two cinemas will be needed to accommodate the guest-list. It's not yet announced which royals will attend but I can tell you that those who will, specifically requested to see The Hobbit as they are fans of The Lord of the Rings. I've not yet decided whom to take as my date but no applications please - it will be a close friend or maybe two.
Meanwhile the publicity has started and giant wizards are turning up all over the place. Way back, the cast posed for 3D-effect photos, so expect to see our eyes following you in your cinema lobby any day now.
I've been busy talking to journalists (about 70 so far) and reminiscing about the shoot. Their opening question is usually identical: "So, what was it like going back to New Zealand, a decade after LOTR. Did it feel the same?"
Well much of it was just the same, thankfully: the same crew and technicians and heads of department behind the cameras. Rick Findlater did my make-up again and Emma Harre undressed and dressed me twice daily, as she did last time.
The cast was mostly new, though: 13 dwarves and a hobbit who all wanted to know "What will it be like?" Yet the first actor I met on set was Elijah Wood, 13 years older and yet looking the same ever-youthful, modest, enthusiastic, charmer as before. That other charmer, Orlando Bloom, was back, too, living with his family next-door to me on the Wellington bay. It was old times especially when Elrond and Galadriel flew in from Australia, and our reunion a high spot of the whole shoot. Saruman joined us for our scenes in Rivendell but Christopher Lee was actually filmed later in London, though you'd never guess from the finished cut. There was less work on location, once we had revisited Hobbiton, rebuilt in Matamata. Concentrated into two months touring both islands with our caravanserai of trucks and trailers and 4-wheel drive saloons. The studios in Miramar were luxuriously improved, particularly Studio K (K for King Kong), though the Bag End interiors were housed in the old paint factory as of old. I noted that the front door keys were nowhere to be seen. That's because they hang on a hook by my back door in London. Don't tell anyone.
Ian McKellen, London, 1 November 2012