Hobbit mania sees fans mobbing fans

TOM HUNT
Last updated 05:00 29/11/2012

The Hobbit press conference

Cate Blanchett at Hobbit premiere
MAARTEN HOLL/Fairfax NZ Zoom
Cate Blanchett, who plays Galadriel, at the premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in Wellington.

Hobbit premiere

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They lined balconies and window ledges, they perched on poles and rubbish bins - anything to get a peek as the cast of The Hobbit walked the red carpet.

Some, like Wellington bar owner Tim Ward, did it the old-fashioned way, picking his children up from school in Mt Cook and heading straight down, crowding as near as they could to the barricade with 7-year-old daughter Rose, son Max, and Max's friend, Hong Yu.

"The kids would not have let me live it down, not having taken them," Mr Ward said.

"The most difficult part of the day was explaining to them they weren't actually seeing the movie. They thought that was going to be the finale."

Unlike many sunburnt Wellingtonians, they managed to find a prime spot in the shade of a tree and got to know all the other onlookers around them. "It was a lovely Wellington community feel."

Such was the mania that people merely dressed as Hobbit characters were getting besieged by fans keen to get a photo.

Trevor Woudt, of New Plymouth, who dressed as Gandalf, had a steady stream of photos taken with him.

Even at Park Rd Post in Miramar earlier in the day, he had animators popping out to get a photo with him.

For him, it was just about the love of the project. "I'm just amazed at what Weta Workshop has done."

Tour guide Derek Carver, also dressed as Gandalf, was besieged by photographers too. He planned to get to the barricade edge in time for the walk for just one reason - to see Cate Blanchett.

"I will probably get totally tongue-tied. [I've been] waiting for this a long time," he said.

To get her best view of the red carpet, Kerry Zhou, 8, was one of many who perched on bollards. But given she has a history of gymnastics and diving, her father Shusen Yi had no doubt she could last two hours or more atop the bollard.

Florian Letsch, a Tolkien fan from Germany who came dressed as a dwarf, just happened to be in New Zealand. "It's kind of the best timing for me," he said.

For Chris Winchester, of Pukerua Bay, dressed as a "generic Middle-earth man", seeing the film was the big goal.

"I'm actually waiting to see if I'm in the film," the extra said.

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- The Dominion Post

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