Capital turns it on for Jackson's latest offering

By Amelia Wade

Red-carpet mania grips fans as the cast of The Hobbit make their way down Courtenay Place for the screening of the movie at the Embassy Theatre.

The stars turned up in their best dresses and suits, the city turned on the weather and 100,000 fans lined the red carpet.

Some claimed their place at the sideline of the The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey's premiere the night before, while others took to roofs surrounding Courtenay Place to get a view.

Even Air New Zealand's specially adorned Hobbit plane - which flew over the crowd at 5.30pm - couldn't drown out their screams.

Sir Peter Jackson was the first major identity to arrive and was accompanied by his daughter Katie, 16, who wore a sparkly gold dress.

"I wanted to get here and spend as much time as I could signing autographs and meeting the fans because these people are just so fantastic, to have come out on a nice hot day and be standing in the sun for hours and hours to see us."

Fans who lined the 600m red carpet showed up dressed as elves, dwarfs, wizards and hobbits and some even came with signs adorned with wedding proposals. One girl brought a sign which read "Marry me, Bilbo" on one side with "We love you, Orlando" on the other.

A loud cheer rang out as Gollum, also known as Andy Serkis, ran up and down the red carpet high-fiving fans.

But Sir Peter's classic Kiwi humility showed through the excitement - when asked what he thought of the film, which was finished on Sunday after two years' work, he said: "I thought it was okay."

Martin Freeman, who plays Bilbo Baggins, wore a green tie and pocket square, black suit and dark aviator sunglasses. As he neared the end of the red carpet, he said he had nearly lost his voice and writing ability.

"We did feel really well looked after here, in every bar and every restaurant people were good to us. It's perfect that the premiere should be here.

"It's very unusual to make a film where you feel like the whole country has helped make it, but that's what it was like here."

Cate Blanchett reprised the role of elf Galadriel and was one of the most glamorous to walk the red carpet. She brought her two young boys and felt comfortable enough with the film to show it to her children.

Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae and Prime Minister John Key also took to the red carpet, the latter in a similar colour scheme as Freeman.

Read more:

'Hobbit-mania' kicks off in Wellington
Jackson mocks Australians at Hobbit presser
Photos: The Hobbit red carpet

- NZ Herald

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