An Adventure Into The Real Middle Earth!
By Vanessa Diaz (@QueenofSwag4u)
With the second installment of The Hobbit Trilogy almost upon us, the filmmakers and the New Zealand Tourism board have decided to create an amazing life sized pop-up book that features elaborate original film sets, elements of reality from their original New Zealand locations and props from these epic films. It’s being called The Book of New Zealand and it will be on site at the Beverly Hilton for five days coinciding with the Hollywood world premiere of The Hobbit : The Desolation of Smaug – produced and directed by acclaimed New Zealand film-maker Sir Peter Jackson.
It spans the size of two tennis courts and is an epic site to see.
I was recently invited by Warner Brothers Pictures to view this Hobbit spectacle and to chat with two of The Hobbit stars Dean O’Gorman (Fili in the film) and Aidan Turner (Kili in the film). I have to say I was blow away by the magnitude and detail of this exhibit. Dean and Aiden were also in awe of the installation. As we discussed the film, they both recalled what it was like filming with these sets and props and how difficult it was to maneuver each while in character.
“We didn’t have any practice in the costumes and hair and make up prior to shooting. It takes about 5 hours to get it all on, so it would have been too time consuming to have rehearsal in costume. When we started shooting we just got in hair and make up and we’re thrown into these elaborate sets. We made it work.” Said Aiden
Dean quickly followed up that answer with…
“Some of our wardrobes and props were so heavy that when we would bend over, there had to be someone behind up to help pull us back up. We also had a built in cooling system inside our costumes to keep us cool as we would get incredibly hot in costume.”
When you see this adventure on the big screen, you will see how brilliant the work is that these two men did as they make their performances look effortless in these costumes. They truly become Dwarfs.
After our quick chat with the actors we were taken to the “book”. As we walked into the Real Middle Earth, we discovered four sets each featuring a principal filming locations for The Hobbit Trilogy.
We walked through the set of Laketown, where you can stop on a bridge crossing over the lake and admire Mt Cook’s snoy peaks which gleam over the pristine Lake Pukaki in the village background. They dropped the temperature in the room so it actually felt like you walked into an icy region. There was no detail left to chance with this exhibit. I of course had to capture my moment of crossing a bridge in Middle Earth with a photo.
The prominent head of Thror from the set of The Hobbit Trilogy stands guard at the entrance to the book depicting the Lonely Mountain. It’s set against the backdrop of moody skies and the grassy slopes of Turoa on Mount Ruapehu. It’s fantastic to see that sets like these are still being made in a time of CG effects.
Across from the head of Thror was the Pelorus River’s waterfall cascading down into the crystal clear waters at the set of Forest River. It’s the set where the dwarves hid in barrels down the river past the lurking Orcs in the film.
Lastly we got to step into the set of the character Beorn’s house and became an honorary dwarf.
I felt dwarfed as I climbed up onto his magnificently carved chair and admired his views of what would be the majestic Paradise valley in Queenstown, New Zealand. I would say I was actually Hobbit size as I sat in the chair.
Having the opportunity to experience this grand production of Middle Earth was spectacular.
It’s as if you were walking through the history of Tolkien come to life. The detail that went into each set and prop was incredible. If you’re a fan of The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings, it truly was a once in a life time opportunity to view this incredible exhibit.
The much-anticipated The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, a production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, is scheduled for worldwide release on December 13th, 2013.