Hobbiton

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Hobbiton gets ready for world's hob-nobbers

Brian Massey began working on The Hobbit trilogy years before the cameras started to roll, but even the trilogy's art director doesn't know what will appear on screen at tonight's world premiere in Wellington. Mr Massey, who had a hand in restoring the Hobbiton movie set on the Alexander family farm near Matamata for The Lord of the Rings prequels, will see his work on the big screen for the first time at The Embassy Theatre in Wellington tonight. ''It's always hard to know what to expect, because you know what's been shot but not what's been put in,'' Mr Massey said. ''My job is to take the work of the conceptual artist and make the set look that way,'' Mr Massey said. ''My job is all about look. I am a cog in the wheel.'' Not only did Mr Massey have to make the set look like the conceptual art from established fantasy artist John Howe, he also had to match the look of the location in the first and last The Lord of the Rings films The Fellowship of the Ring and The Return of the King while taking into account five extra hobbit holes added to give the location more scale. ''It's always hard to recreate something,'' he said. ''The first time you have a certain amount of leeway.'' One of the biggest challenges was getting permanent building materials, such as brick, stone and wood, to look like the temporary moulded polystyrene used to build Hobbiton for The Lord of the Rings when Mr Massey was in charge of landscaping. The work was done by a mixture of builders from the film industry and local tradesmen and women. One of the tricks, in aging the timber frames to look like old English architecture, was painting them with a vinegar solution. ''The Hobbit, in the books, is set 60 years before The Lord of the Rings but the main things need to be in the right place,'' Mr Massey said. He will be in the right place tonight alongside Russell Alexander, managing director of the Hobbiton Movie Set Tour. ''I have never been to...
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