High drama on eve of Hobbit premiere
By Rachel Tiffen
While Sir Peter Jackson was all smiles today it's been a long, and at times bumpy, road to the red carpet for him and the Hobbit team.
For the media though, it has been a tightly managed and highly orchestrated road.
Today the world’s media waited en masse in a purpose-built pen outside Wellington Airport for a specially themed Boeing 777 to arrive.
On the ground, as everything has been for The Hobbit, things were strictly managed, with journalists even needing their red carpet accreditation to be on the tarmac - they were told if they went beyond the cordon they’d be arrested.
As Radagast, Oin, Dori, Dwalin and Kili disembarked, they were soon joined by Sir Peter and the rest of the crew who were impressed with the carrier, but in a rush.
As far as Air New Zealand's concerned all of the fuss is a no-brainer.
“We've got guests coming to New Zealand who talk about Lord Of The Rings and there's no reason why we shouldn't see double-digit growth as a result of this investment,” says deputy chief executive of Air New Zealand Norm Thompson.
Entertainment Tonight's Debbie Matenpolous had a blast onboard.
“Dwarves, wizards and a Tolkien, what more could a girl ask for?” she says.
But Ms Matenpolous is not immune to the rules either - foreign media are forbidden from broadcasting today's one-on-one interviews with actors until December 5, and mum's obviously the word on last night's Hobbit media screening.
“[It has] some of the most beautiful shots I've ever seen of New Zealand, where I said those aren't real and they said no, those are real mountains,” says Ms Matenpolous.
Meanwhile Sir Peter and Elijah Wood surprised a party of Hobbit fans, turning up to bask in Hobbit-mania last night.
All was well but when our reporter tried to ask Wood about sneak peeks of the movie put on Facebook by Sir Peter himself, for reasons beyond us he was shown the door.
So already even before the premiere, The Hobbit is providing drama.