Stars of "The Hobbit" Arrive In New Zealand for Huge Film Premiere

As stars of The Hobbit return to the middle of Middle-earth for the movie's world premiere in Wellington, tired film staff are celebrating it finally being finished.

At least four leading actors arrived in the capital yesterday in preparation for Wednesday's big event, when tens of thousands of people are expected to line the streets for a glimpse of the stars on the red carpet.

Martin Freeman, who plays Bilbo Baggins, Elijah Wood (Frodo), Andy Serkis (Gollum), and Richard Armitage (Thorin Oakenshield) were all spotted at Auckland Airport. They flew on to Wellington yesterday afternoon.

Wood and Serkis both attended the parade through central Wellington in December 2003 for the world premiere of the final Lord of the Rings movie, The Return of the King.

Sir Peter Jackson's spokesman, Matt Dravitzki said the film was finished yesterday, a day after the film maker released a video blog, giving an insight into the post production work.

One advanced screening had already taken place "somewhere on the (Miramar) peninsula".

"There are a lot of very tired and very happy people around," he said.

More than 100 international media were in Wellington for the premiere, Dravitzki said.

Prime Minister John Key said he was excitedly looking forward to the premiere of the movie but admited he has never read the book the movie is based on.

Key said he would be at the premiere, and had already seen about eight to 10 minutes of the movie while on a visit to the Weta premises. It looked "fantastic".

He had not read The Hobbit, the book by JRR Tolkien on which the movies are based, he told RadioLive.

"I got given a copy of it. I've got it on my desk ... Maybe I won't need to read it now. I'll watch the movie, I'll be fine."

He also admitted to seeing only the first of the three movies based on Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, the sequel to the Hobbit story.

"It was good, I enjoyed it," Key said.

"People that are into it are really into it, and they just can't get enough of it.

"It's one of those things where if it's your big thing they just have an insatiable appetite for this stuff," he said.

"In its own world, in its own way, it's a franchise like a James Bond thing. Those people just love it."

He told TVNZ that New Zealand should celebrate the Hobbit film.

"I think it's going to be amazing for New Zealand and for (director) Peter Jackson. You know, as a country we should celebrate the fact, I think, that we've got incredibly talented people."

About 3000 people had worked on the movie, with brilliant post-production work done by Weta.

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