In the early hours of this morning (UK time) the cast of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings prequel, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, took to the red carpet in Wellington, New Zealand for the film’s world premiere.
Sherlock’s Martin Freeman – who plays Bilbo Baggins in Tolkien’s fantasy saga – joined forces with Elijah Wood, James Nesbitt, Cate Blanchett, Peter Jackson, Barry Humphries and Sylvester McCoy to attend the premiere of the hotly-anticipated film.
One famous face who could not be in attendance was Ian McKellen – but fans were treated to a special pre-recorded video message from the actor who reprises his role of Gandalf in the film, set 60 years ahead of the Lord of the Rings tale.
Tens of thousands turned out in New Zealand’s capital city to catch a glimpse of the stars and support the trilogy that was largely filmed in the country between March 2011 and July 2012.
And the event didn’t just attract Hollywood’s finest – the mayor of Wellington Celia Wade-Brown and Prime Minister of New Zealand John Key also took to the stage to deliver speeches and enjoy their country’s night in the industry’s spotlight.
The premiere took place from 2:50am GMT – but you can watch a replay below, featuring a speech from director Peter Jackson (the footage may take a few minutes to load so do be patient…)
The Hobbit: an Unexpected Journey is released in UK cinemas on 13 December 2012