Hobbit mysteries to be revealed

TOM CARDY
Last updated 12:55 21/02/2011

The Hobbit starts shooting on March 21. The central character is tiny on screen, but the US$500 million two part film is a big deal, so expect Wellywood Confidential to focus a lot on The Hobbit right through to its expected release of part one next year.

Also looming on the horizon is the first Tintin movie, now being tweaked in post production and to be released (in New Zealand) on Boxing Day - as well as Jackson's other projects. Expect some interesting revelations and analysis about these projects over the next few months.

But I'm also going to look at everything else in Wellywood - and that means our other film-makers, our screenwriters, everyone. As far as I'm concerned, even Wellywood caterers have a story to tell.

Those cast in The Hobbit already are the lucky ones, but who else will we see trapsing through Mirkwood?

Then of course there are the actors. I've been thinking of actors in The Hobbit a lot of late, and it has nothing to do with industrial relations. The big question is who will still be cast?

For weeks we've had Irish actress Soarise Ronan's name being floated about to play an elf warrior princess called Itaril. Even people close to the star of Jackson's The Lovely Bones have said shed' been cast. Well, finally Ronan has spoken: "No, nothing has actually been confirmed yet," the actress told The Irish Times. "I'd love to get a role in The Hobbit. I think everybody in the world would like a role in The Hobbit."

So don't hold your breath. But it does appear a lot of people want to be in the movie. If you want to be an elf and possibly hang with Ronan, if she gets the part, then you should turn up at Te Whaea National Dance and Drama Centre at 11 Hutchinson Rd, Newtown in Wellington on February 26 between 9.30am and noon and 1.30pm and 3pm.

Having pointy ears won't get you far. The important bit is height and being thin. Blokes have to be aged between 17 and 40 and 6ft (183cm) or taller. Ladies have to be aged 17-40 and at least 5ft 9 (175cm) or taller. It's for parts as Elven horse riders extras (how cool is that?) and elven extras.

There is also other casting going on behind the scenes and I've heard on good authority that several children, some as young at 19 months, have already been cast as hobbit extras. And while hobbit sizes means ages can get confusing, they are playing hobbit children and have even been fitted for their costumes and have giant furry hobbit feet!

So have you considered auditioning for an extra in The Hobbit? Are you planning to turn up on February 26? I'd love to hear from you before and after, furry feet or pointy ears.

Email Tom Cardy with any tips on what's going on in Wellywood or follow him @tomcardy

- © Fairfax NZ News

11 comments
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Alan   #1   11:51 am Feb 17 2011

It's not hype, it is real. But, I do wonder about it's long term sustainability. What happens after PJ? Can we broaden Wellywood's base so that we have a stable of film makers and production companies? Can we secure the venture capital to invest in films other than those made by Peter Jackson?

Jack M   #2   08:26 pm Feb 17 2011

Wellywood is already far greater than just Sir PJ. For instance, Sir Richard Taylor's Weta Workshop and Weta Digital companies have been involved in over a hundred movies since LOTR, most of which had little or nothing to do with Peter Jackson. I'm not saying he wasn't (or isn't) hugely influentual, but that influence is not always required anymore.

I think Wellywood has come of age and no longer requires him to be there every step of the way. He can afford to relax a little.

Pauline   #3   10:25 pm Feb 17 2011

I love the idea of a film industry seriously going on in Wellington but can it be called something less dorky? :) I think we can call the Wellington or 'New Zealand' film industry a success when more Directors start getting recognition. No doubt that Peter Jackson got the ball rolling!

Alan   #4   06:19 pm Feb 18 2011

I think the point is that wellywood is more than special effects and props, it's the scripting, acting and making of film in Wellington.

Marcus T   #5   09:05 am Feb 21 2011

@ Jack M #2 - Peter Jackson is a part owner of Weta Workshop and Weta Digital too... Wellywood is certainly bigger than one man, but credit where it's due.

Skippy   #6   01:09 pm Feb 21 2011

Any hints for begin a hobbit extra i.e. for those not so blessed in the height department ? Hopefully big hairy feet won't be necessary ! :)

Tom Cardy   #7   03:01 pm Feb 21 2011

Re Skippy. That's a toughie, as they tend to be very specific in terms of height requirements for either a Hobbit or an elf extra. And it pays to also be on the thin side if you want to be an elf. Of course, there's also the possibility that there will be extras needed for humans in the films - including some of the inhabitants of Lake-town. (The Middle-earth version of Venice.) If you can't turn up to an open casting, you can also apply online. Check out Trade Me's website. Some wannabe extras who applied online have already been given a specific audition date, rather than being told to turn up on February 26.

Kris   #8   01:13 pm Feb 23 2011

Why call it Wellywood? Ghastly name. Wellington airport management might see its use here as a positive sign for them to use it as signage to the airport and please no don't let that happen.

I love Wellington and hobbits and think you are doing a great job otherwise.

Gordon   #9   05:21 pm Feb 24 2011

Tom, you said some wannabe extras have already been given a specific audition date - will there be a sort of callback or audition round for people they like from the open call on the 26th? Is there a chance the pre-picked applicants are being selected for potential speaking roles?

Maeve   #10   05:48 pm Mar 01 2011

Hello everyone. I haven't had any acting experience, but I like acting and think I'm good at it: I'm fourteen years old, of average height and have (very) curly hair. I also live in Auckland. Do I have a chance of making it as a hobbit extra? Someone please reply!


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