Warning: Heavy use of NamesDropping(tm) in this post! You have been warned!
In case you missed the news, Bilbo and the 13 Dwarves have arrived in Wellington last week, and are currently on some sort of Dwarven Boot Camp, whatever that may entail. Of course, a few other big names are expected to arrive in Wellington, so I've had my beady little eyes open and my not-at-all-pointy ears flat to the ground.
I've been doing alright - I was out with a LOTR tour group last Saturday and we ended up sitting at the table next to Andy Serkis! He graced us with a quick talk but it looked like his minder was rushing him along to the next meeting. I basically had a chance to welcome him back to Wellington and wish him well for what sounds like a long shoot for him - he usually ends up doing three times the amount of work just to get his physical and digital personas to match up on screen. He remembered me from the last time we met, which would have been close to five years ago, just after the King Kong release.
One of my sources told me later that he met up with Sir Ian McKellen at a local theatre on Saturday night, so Gandalf is back in town as well. I had assumed he was still on his Indian holiday but apparently that has finished now.
After Saturday lunch, and during our Weta Cave visit I ran into Sir Richard Taylor as well, who promptly told me off for calling him "Sir Richard", hehe ("just Richard, thank you!"). He mentioned a few other people who'd been at the workshop in the last week, including Seth Green. He didn't mention why Seth was here - I got the feeling it was just a friendly visit rather than anything official. Still, Seth is always very conscious of his (lack of) height - perhaps he's faced it and is applying for a Hobbit role? (email me, Seth, and I'll apologise for that one!)... :)
It was quite a full-on day - Rivendell was still being used for that video game being filmed by Lee Tamahori (called "Cardinal", apparently although that may just be the working title), although that didn't interrupt our LOTR tour. Apparently Shane Rangi was there as well although I didn't spot him. Having said that - there was a bunch of people in some great costumes, including one who looked like a humanoid lion/cat person - it might have been Shane in the suit! No photos sorry - their security looked stronger than me.
Isengard was full of people attending the Jousting Tournament, and on Sunday we briefly ran into LOTR's Sword Smith Peter Lyon who told us that this year he didn't take part in the Jousting but ended up relaxing from the sidelines for a change.
To top it all off, Mount Victoria and its famous "Get Off The Road!" scene was virtually inaccessible due to an all-day mountain bike race happening, which happens occasionally. I think we had enough famous people to make up for the missing location!
All in all, quite a day! I'm expecting more days like that in the next few weeks, so now is a good time to book on a tour!