There may be a nearly 10-metre statue of Gandalf the Grey above the cinema, but the actor who plays the character in The Hobbit movies, Sir Ian McKellen, won't be at the premiere to see it for himself.
Warner Bros has announced the stars who will attend next week's first screening of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in Wellington, which will be preceded by a red-carpet event along Courtenay Place.
Joining filmmakers Sir Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens will be Martin Freeman, who plays the central role of Bilbo Baggins; Richard Armitage, who stars as the Dwarf warrior Thorin Oakenshield; Cate Blanchett and Hugo Weaving, who play Elf Queen Galadriel and Elf Lord Elrond; Andy Serkis who plays Gollum, and Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins.
McKellen, who plays wizard Gandalf, will be unable to attend but in the media release for the red carpet announcement said it would be thrilling for fellow cast members.
"I know they will have a wonderful welcome from the fans and I envy them. As ever, my heart is in Wellington, and I send my love."
Ten of the remaining 12 dwarf characters will also attend the premiere, as well as Barry Humphries, who plays the Goblin King.
Over the weekend a 9.4-metre statue of Gandalf was erected above the entrance to the Embassy Theatre.
Wellington is spending $1.1 million on activities in the week of the premiere, temporarily calling itself "The Middle of Middle-earth".
Meanwhile, Sir Ian has admitted he broke down in tears on the set of The Hobbit after becoming so frustrated filming green screen scenes with only visual aids to act opposite.
The thespian found it difficult to shoot scenes on his own with just photographs for reference - and he reveals he threw a tantrum.
He tells ContactMusic, "In order to shoot the dwarves and a large Gandalf, we couldn't be in the same set. All I had for company was 13 photographs of the dwarves on top of stands with little lights - whoever's talking flashes up.
"Pretending you're with 13 other people when you're on your own, it stretches your technical ability to the absolute limits.
"I cried, actually. I cried. Then I said out loud, 'This is not why I became an actor'. Unfortunately the microphone was on and the whole studio heard."
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is released globally on December 14.
AAP / WENN.com
source: newshub archive