Nov 29 2012, 12:56am
I've just arrived home after a few days in Wellington from The Hobbit premier. My thoughts are still a whirl from two busy days but I'll try to do a decent report for you.
Moot report: The Hobbit world premiere
I met up with entmaiden, deej, Garfeimao, rosie-with-the-ribbons, LRon and a few other at their Cuba Street hotel and we wandered down the road for dinner - passing a burlesque club that, I kid you not, had a Hobbit theme. After dinner we went down Courtenay Place to The Embassy Theatre for a drink, and left when they were giving the place a thorough clean for the premiere the next day.
By the time we left the theatre it was full dark and the streets had been closed off. Gandalf loomed above us, spotlit, before the closed door of Bag End - and then coming down the street on a flatbed truck was a grassy hill with two more Hobbit-hole doors. At the time we wondered where it would go, but as everyone has seen now it became the backdrop of a stage from where Neil Finn sang a few songs and Peter Jackson addressed the crowd on premiere day.
On Thursday morning we met up at a corner on Courtenay Place about 9.30am (I got there half an hour later, following entmaiden's directions - "We're right by the stone trolls!") and staked our spots right along the barricades. deej, rosie-with-the-ribbons and others from the tour were right on the corner next to the same trolls that were such a hit at a recent Con in the States, and entmaiden, LRon and I were a few spaces beyond. And then AlienOrchid joined us, which was great!
Thus started a long and mostly enjoyable day. For the few few hours we were free to move about and make dashes for food or 'personal comfort', and sit on the ground and stretch out - but from about 3.30pm it was all standing all the time as the crowd behind us grew (to about six or seven deep) and there was no room to move. And the day was *hot*. There was the occasional breeze but there was a bit of endurance required in the last hour or two before the red-carpet entertainment started.
Cabin crew from Air New Zealand came down the red carpet with Elf ears, and the women with Galadriel tiaras and the men with leather accoutrements. We spoke with two of the staff who featured in the Air New Zealand Hobbit safety briefing video and they were such darlings. They were handing out cards for the stars to sign and flags, and I passed some of them to people behind me to make sure they didn't miss out.
Then came some local actors dressed as Hobbits, and they looked fantastic - right down to their hairy bare feet. They stayed in character as they talked with us, and the ladies could only be called winsome.
Then came Neil Finn, singing some songs from Crowded House and his Hobbit track - and we realised that the big screen right next to us was malfunctioning. Another screen waaaay at the start of the red carpet was working but it was too far away for us to see anything worthwhile. Luckily very serious-looking engineers worked away on our nearest screen and had it operating before Neil began singing the Hobbit song - entmaiden and I cheered the engineers as they left. :D
And then came the stars! Richard Armitage was interviewed by Carol Hirschfeld who asked him what it felt like to be a Dwarf icon. Richard said, "I thought you were going to ask what it felt like to be a hot Dwarf", and our group cheered loudly as we knew Richard had picked that up from the TORN t-shirts worn by Rosie-with-the-ribbons and others on the tour when they met them after a media conference earlier that day at Te Papa museum. I saw bemused looks from other people near us who had no idea why we were so happy about his random comment. :D
We were about half-way down the red carpet and some of the actors just breezed by without interacting with the fans, but I think they realised that having spent so much time at the start of the red carpet they were running out of time to walk the entire length before the scheduled start of the movie. Others signed as many things as possible as spoke with as many of the fans as possible - Richard Armitage, Martin Freeman, Dean O'Gorman and Aidan Turner among them, as well as Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens (who looked gorgeous) and Richard Taylor. They were all very generous with the fans.
Richard, Martin, PJ and Philippa came right in front of us, which was a thrill. :)
Adam Brown is surprisingly tiny - there isn't much to him! Aidan and Dean, although they didn't come to our side of the red carpet, obviously have a great camaraderie. Unfortunately I didn't spot Evangeline Lily or Hugo Weaving, and I think Cate Blanchett was at the top of the red carpet around the stage and didn't walk its length.
Then at the end, Andy Serkis (bless him) ran the entire length of the red carpet up one side and down the other, slapping the outstretched hands of the cheering fans. He had a ball!
At this point we left for food - to the nearest Chinese place where I practically hoovered up my dinner, I was so hungry. We then walked along Courtenay Place again to get a close-up look at the stage - but we were so sore from standing for so long that we walked like a bunch of old biddies. The day really did take its toll, physically.
I'm so glad I stood alongside the red carpet for this - to be part of a big event for The Hobbit was such fun, but in large part because of the people I got to share it with. For the next premiere I'll be somewhere more comfortable - indoors, with a live TV feed, and wine and food at hand. ;)
There were two highlights to my trip. The first and greatest was being able to meet up with board members and spend time together and just talk about anything and everything. I remember someone once saying that there are no virtual friends: The place we meet is virtual but the friendship is real, and that was proved true again during my short time in Wellington.
The second highlight was on Tuesday night as we stood outside The Embassy Theatre looking at the Shire hill on the truck. Dozens of other fans from around the world were there as well, taking photos, talking with each other, offering to take photos of strangers on their cameras so that they could get a shot of themselves in front of the hill scene - all on a dark and pretty cold night. LRon looked at all the people around him then looked up at the sky with his arms raised as if in victory and said, "I *am* normal!"
Made my night, that did. :)
(Pics to come.)
Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."
"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauronís master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded beggar with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.