Dwarf spills beans on Hobbit
Sir Ian McKellen is his co-worker, and he spends his days covered in prosthetics - but it is all in a day's work for Mark Hadlow.
The city council events production manager is playing Dori, a 150-year-old dwarf, in Sir Peter Jackson's's The Hobbit.
Secrecy surrounding the film is so tight Mr Hadlow could not reveal anything other than his character's name.
He said media tried ''to take photos every day,'' and sneak onto set.
In JRR Tolkien's novel, Dori is one of the 13 dwarfs who accompany lead character Bilbo Baggins, played in the film by Martin Freeman, on his quest.
Meeting the celebrity cast of the film was an ''oh my god'' moment, Mr Hadlow said.
However, ''it's not really any different'' acting with celebrities once the camera is rolling.
He said acting opposite Sir Ian was a ''fantastic'' experience.
''He is a huge world-renowned talent and you're in a scene with him - it's flipping fantastic.''
Mr Hadlow said he wakes up at 4am each day and spends ''a couple'' of hours having make up and prosthetics applied, to transform him into a dwarf, before he begins filming his scenes.
A trained actor, he had appeared in two films directed by Sir Peter, 2005's King Kong and Meet the Feebles in 1989, before scoring the role of Dori.
The audition process had been a long affair, with initial auditions last April and call-backs every two months until he was cast earlier this year.
He would be based in Wellington for the next 18 months shooting the film, and planned to reprise his role at the city council when filming ended.
The Hobbit is planned as two separate movies. The first is provisionally scheduled to hit screens at the end of 2012.