Hobbit hunt scours the Shire

HOBBIT WATCH: Sir Peter Jackson and his crew are due at Hobbiton to film The Hobbit in coming weeks.
HOBBIT WATCH: Sir Peter Jackson and his crew are due at Hobbiton to film The Hobbit in coming weeks.

Two barefoot men, one with a bushy white beard, sat outside a cafe in Matamata yesterday, but a closer inspection revealed a marked lack of hair on their smooth feet.

With the Hobbiton movie set near Matamata closed for filming on Wednesday, the Waikato Times' hunt for hobbits is on.

The permit given to production company 3 Foot 7 to film in Matamata was for filming rights lasting no more than 15 days before November 8, but there have been no movie star sightings yet.

Espresso To Go owner Bill Anderson said they would be willing to make hobbit-sized coffees if the demand was there but last time around 3 Foot 7 had their own cafe on set, so he was not holding out hope for an influx of Hollywood big spenders.

A woman at Sincerity Drycleaners said several of the South African Rugby World Cup squad stood outside her building and she did not twig it was them, so she was not a confident hobbit spotter. But she enthusiastically joined the search, bellowing down the shop to her colleagues "have any of you guys seen any hobbits?".

"We've got one that looks a bit like a hobbit out the back, I'll go get her."

The hobbitish woman in question was too shy to be named but was "definitely" the right height to be a hobbit.

She had been along to the Matamata audition for extras.

"It was huge, it went for two days from memory," she said.

They photographed her, took her height, head and feet measurements, but that was it.

"I never heard back from them."

A watering hole frequented by jockeys did not reveal any small-statured chaps with plans to moonlight at the Shire.

"I can't help you there," local Rodney Day said.

"I've never even thought of that."

Matamata Public Relations Association manager Sue Whiting said the town's i-Site had been quiet since Wednesday, and a few tourists had been disappointed to learn the movie set was closed, but she was as in the dark as everyone else as to when Hollywood would roll into town.

On the way out of town, a service station attendant leaned in conspiratorially.

"There was a strange guy in here a couple of days ago," she said.

"He looked like a hobbit."

Waikato Times