Russell Blackstock

Russell Blackstock is a senior reporter at the Herald on Sunday.

Green tinge to stars' red carpet

Thousands will line Wellington streets for Wednesday's premiere of the The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey for a glimpse of the rich and famous on the 500m red carpet.

Many stars are expected to "go green" for New Zealand's biggest movie party in years. Laurie Foon, designer for Wellington fashion label Starfish, says a number of female stars and guests have requested environmentally friendly garments. Foon also expects ankle-length dresses and gowns to be popular.

"Understated elegance will be the order of the day," Foon told the Herald on Sunday. "I have mainly been asked to create maxi dresses and classic gowns for a number of the directors' and producers' wives.

"What is really trending is eco-friendly materials; outfits made from bamboo, hemp silk and organic cotton.

"There is a definite awareness that you can be kind to the environment and still look glamorous. Some guests would prefer a green carpet to red," she joked.

Murray Crane, of Crane Brothers, has produced around 35 bespoke suits for stars and guests attending the premiere. He has been flying between Wellington and Auckland for weeks arranging fittings.

"Some cast attending other Hobbit premieres in Tokyo and London have asked for more than one outfit to match the weather in the Northern Hemisphere," he said.

"Formal lounge suits and tuxedos are popular but also expect wildly coloured items. There'll be a few surprises."

Matt Dravitzki, spokesman for The Hobbit production company Wingnut films, said cafes and restaurants along the red carpet route to the Embassy Theatre had been booked out for months for private parties. "Shop owners have put up movie bunting and posters, and Wellington hotels report they are booked out," he said.

Joining filmmakers Sir Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens will be Martin Freeman, who plays Bilbo Baggins, and Richard Armitage (Dwarf warrior Thorin Oakenshield). Also expected are Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Andy Serkis and Elijah Wood.

TV3 will broadcast live from the red carpet for four hours.


Jackson cuts it fine on 'The Hobbit'

Sir Peter Jackson has revealed the first instalment of The Hobbit won't be finished until 48 hours before Wednesday's premiere.

The movie mogul has posted a 14-minute video on Facebook revealing he has been working flat-out on the film at his Park Road post-production studios in Wellington.

"It's due to be completed literally two days before the premiere ... hopefully," he reveals. "We are working around the clock to get the film finished."

In the video, Jackson also chats with Crowded House star Neil Finn, and gives a behind-the-scenes tour of the operation as an army of production staff put the final touches to the fantasy blockbuster. "The premiere is very, very close," Jackson adds. "But fortunately people are staying calm."

- Herald on Sunday

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