WELLINGTON, New Zealand – Wearing elf ears and wizard hats, sitting atop their dad’s shoulders or peering from balconies, tens of thousands of New Zealanders watched their favorite “Hobbit” actors walk the red carpet Wednesday at the film trilogy’s hometown premiere.
An Air New Zealand plane freshly painted with “Hobbit” characters flew low over Wellington’s Embassy Theatre, eliciting roars of approval from the crowd.
Sam Rashidmardani, 12, said he came to see Gollum actor Andy Serkis walk the red carpet – and he wasn’t disappointed.
“It was amazing,” Rashidmardani said of the evening, adding his Gollum impression: “My precious.”
British actor Martin Freeman, who brings comedic timing to the lead role of Bilbo Baggins, said he thought director Peter Jackson had done a fantastic job on “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.”
“He’s done it again,” Freeman said in an interview on the red carpet. “If it’s possible, it’s probably even better than ‘The Lord of the Rings.’ I think he’s surpassed it.”
While it is unusual for a city so far from Hollywood to host the premiere of a hoped-for blockbuster, Jackson’s filming of his lauded ‘LOTR’ trilogy and now “The Hobbit” in New Zealand has helped create a film industry here. The film will open in theaters around the world next month.
One of the talking points of the film is the choice by Jackson to shoot it using 48 frames per second instead of the traditional 24 in hopes of improving the picture quality.
Some say the images come out too clear and look so realistic that they take away from the magic of the film medium. Jackson likens it to advancing from vinyl records to CDs.
Jackson said it was strange working on the project so intimately for two years and then having it suddenly taken away as the world got to see the movie.
“It spins your head a little bit,” he said.
PSY envisions ‘Gangnam Style’ Cruise
BANGKOK – The South Korean rapper behind YouTube’s most-viewed video ever has set what might be a “Mission: Impossible” for himself.
Asked which celebrity he would like to see go “Gangnam Style,” the singer PSY told The Associated Press: “Tom Cruise!”
Surrounded by screaming fans, he then chuckled at the idea of the American movie star doing his now famous horse-riding dance.
PSY’s comments Wednesday in Bangkok were his first public remarks since his viral smash video — with 838 million views — surpassed Justin Bieber’s “Baby,” which until Saturday held the record with 803 million views.
Knox’s memoir delayed
NEW YORK – Amanda Knox’s upcoming memoir has a title, a cover design and a new publication date.
HarperCollins announced Wednesday the book is titled “Waiting to Be Heard.” It will come out April 30, two months later than originally scheduled. The date was changed out of deference to a court in Italy that scheduled a March 25 hearing for the prosecution’s appeal of the former exchange student’s acquittal in the 2007 murder of her British roommate.
Knox, 25, returned to her native Seattle last year after spending four years in a jail in Perugia, Italy. Her ordeal made international headlines. Her book deal is reportedly worth $4 million.
– From news service reports