15 May 2001
Rings premiere in US, fanfare in NZ
By BESS MANSON
Wellington has missed out on holding the world premiere of the first film in Peter Jackson's trilogy The Lord of the Rings, but will have its own celebrity-packed New Zealand showing on the film's international release date, December 26.
The world premiere will be held in Los Angeles, according to the film's distributor, Village Roadshow.
John McGrath, New Zealand's only accredited press representative at the 54th International Cannes Film Festival, said the world premiere was likely to be on December 19. He had been told by Joel Pearlman, the distributor's marketing director, that there would be a big fanfare for the New Zealand premiere of The Fellowship of the Ring at the Embassy Theatre in Wellington. It would be shown in more New Zealand theatres than any other film had been.
Speaking from the exclusive Lord of the Rings party at a hilltop castle above Cannes yesterday, McGrath said most of the cast from the United States wanted to be at the New Zealand premiere but that would depend on their acting commitments.
All the leading stars of The Lord of the Rings, except Cate Blanchett, were at the Rings party, rumoured to have cost between US$2 million and US$3 million.
About 75 film crews and photographers clamoured at the gates to the castle but few made it in to the party.
McGrath said a handful of art directors and about 50 sculptors and set builders had spent six weeks turning the venue into a hobbit town. A medieval feast was served by hobbits, elves and soldiers to the guests, who numbered about 1000.
New Zealand Film Commission representative Gordon Harcourt said it was one of the most extravagant parties of the festival with everyone dressed in elaborate designer outfits, except for Jackson, who wore his trademark cargo pants and sneakers.
McGrath said Lord of the Rings co-scriptwriters
Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens were overwhelmed by the response
to the film, remarking that the best stuff was yet to be seen.
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