Wannabe hobbits turned away

HANK SCHOUTEN
Last updated 12:14 29/01/2012
Hobbit auditions
CRAIG SIMCOX

Thousands of people turned out for the chance to be extras in The Hobbit films at an open casting call in Lower Hutt.

Hobbit auditions
CRAIG SIMCOX
LONG AND SHORT OF IT: Chris Gannon (front) and Michael Williams wait for their chance at The Hobbit auditions.

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Would-be elves Alex Ishikawa and Josh Machiela proved the value of getting in early at a casting call for The Hobbit.

Arriving at Lower Hutt's Belmont Hall more than 2 1/2 hours early, the mother and son from Johnsonville were among the few hundred who got a look-in with the talent scouts, while the vast majority of about 3000 who joined the queue were turned away without even getting their pictures taken.

"We hoped to be elves but we don't mind what part we might get," said Ms Ishikawa, who came to Wellington seven years ago because of her love of the Lord of the Rings and ended up marrying Rings tour guide Jack Machiela.

Saturday's casting call saw long lines of would-be extras queuing for hours. Most were sent away after being told traffic disruption in the area had become a hazard.

Bill O'Byrne, who fancied his chances of being picked as "a fat ugly bastard", said the crowd were good-natured, orderly and arranged themselves in long winding queues, but he assumed the "processing folks" were swamped and couldn't keep up.

"I guess about a half of the people waiting from 1pm till 3pm didn't get processed and the Hobbit person who was there was saying to apply via Trade Me."

This was probably a way of placating the crowd as they had probably got everyone they wanted in the first hour, said Mr O'Byrne.

The film company wanted short men and women, big men with character faces or large biceps, women with character faces and long hair, or slim, athletic "elves".

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