Elves and hobbits in Qtown

16:09, Nov 16 2011
orlando bloom
TALENT SPOTTER: Fan Alexandra Hopkirk and Hobbit star Orlando Bloom at a Queenstown cafe yesterday morning.

Hobbit fever is gripping Queenstown with the arrival of one of its biggest stars and action aplenty at a remote shooting location.

Facebook postings and a word-of- mouth trail alerted celebrity spotters to reprised Lord Of The Rings star Orlando Bloom's breakfasting location – while he was still eating his morning meal.

Posts read "Orlando Bloom @ Vudu (a Queenstown cafe) mmm"

Comments included "He was at Ferg (Ferg Burger is a well-known Queenstown burger restaurant) yesterday, today Vudu. What a fatty!"

Although he signed autographs and posed for fan photos, he begged a media photographer to "do something when I'm about to leave in 10 days, otherwise I won't be able to go anywhere."

Alexandra Hopkirk said she was tipped off on Bloom's location by her sister, who received a phone call from a friend who spotted the actor having breakfast at the Beach Street cafe.

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"He was really nice," she said.

"He asked if we were from around here and where we worked, and said he'd be around for about 10 days."

The star's dining experiences continued through to lunch at award-winning winery and restaurant Amisfield, near Lake Hayes, which posted "what a famous day Orlando Bloom ...!"

"Vertically challenged" extras wearing black hooded Hobbit sweatshirts were also seen in Queenstown yesterday – but would not comment on whether they were there for shooting.

Hobbit second-unit director and Lord of the Rings star Andy Serkis was spotted in Queenstown with his family about four weeks ago.

Serkis played Gollum/Smeagol in The Lord of the Rings.

Shooting of scenes in the two-part mega movie looms in Paradise, a remote location 66km northwest of the resort, in the next few days.

However, any members of the public willing to make the journey to catch stars or hobbits in action are likely to find their path roadblocked by production company 3 foot 7.

A location manager this morning told a Southland Times photographer that he could not stop photos being taken, but traffic control permits received for shooting periods meant photographing the set would be difficult when shooting commenced.

Resource consents granted to the production company indicate shooting could begin today and continue until Monday.

Work on the large set had progressed since last week, with rambling vegetable gardens and flower beds now planted outside the three-storey, stone-finished, thatch-roofed homestead, which has a huge replica tree guy-wired in front of it.

Fences visible in the above photo were not to keep prying eyes out, but to keep animals to be used in the scene contained, the location manager said.

The Southland Times