Hobbit: Giant trolls join fans
Three massive cave trolls have joined the hobbits, elves and hundreds of other J.R.R. Tolkien enthusiasts camped out in Wellington ahead of The Hobbit premiere today.
The 1800kg Weta Workshop installation, which took almost six weeks to model and make, was set up near the red carpet on the corner of Tory St from 7am this morning, Weta assistant Ri Streeter said.
The trolls, which visited Comic-Con in San Diego earlier this year, join sculptures of Gandalf at Bag End on the Embassy Theatre roof and Gollum at Wellington Airport.
The first fans camped began camping out on the red carpet route from 9pm yesterday, and just under 100 were there by 10pm.
Others grabbed their spot early this morning, and by 8am all the prime space in front of the barrier, from Tory St to the Embassy Theatre, was taken.
A smaller number of fans had grabbed a place along the barrier outside Reading Cinema, within view of the start of the red carpet at Taranaki St.
Auckland University students Sarah Reif and Willemyn Dagevos would be keeping their eyes peeled for Andy Serkis, who plays Gollum.
''I've wanted to see him since I was 10,'' Reif said.
Too young to attend the premiere of the Return of the King, she thought she'd never get the chance to be part of the release of a Tolkien film, so was overjoyed when she found out the Hobbit would be made.
''It's fulfilling 10 years of dreams.''
Tolkien enthusiasts Charlie Allan, Elise Hart and Victoria Gridley had camped near Blair St overnight in full Hobbit costume, befriending a group that had brought a couch to sleep on.
The Melbournians had come to New Zealand on a Hobbit premiere tour, but said tonight would be the pinnacle of their trip, despite them getting very little sleep, Hart said.
''Just to be part of the passion of it all is life-changing.''
They had met director Peter Jackson and star Elijah Wood at Monday's pre-premiere party organised by fansite TheOneRing.net, and were now most looking forward to seeing actor Martin Freeman (Bilbo).
Karori resident Delwyn Sanson, on site since 5.30am, was also looking forward to seeing Freeman.
Apart from catching a glimpse of her favourite stars, Sanson said she was also there to show her thanks to Peter Jackson and the Hobbit creators for their work.
''It's just a chance to really show your passion and express your appreciation.''
Actor Mark Hadlow, who plays dwarf Dori in the films, and mayor Celia Wade-Brown stopped by Courtenay Pl earlier this morning to greet the queued fans.
Pre-screening entertainment in Courtenay Place begins at 2pm, with the stars and VIPs expected to arrive on the red carpet from 4.30pm onwards.
The premiere screenings at The Embassy and Reading cinemas begin at 7pm.
The Dominion Post