December 16, 1999Hobbits Come to
After 50 years of waiting, the world has finally had its
first real-life glimpse of perhaps the century's most famous literary creation, a
Deep in the woods and hills of the South Island, J. R.
Tolkien's diminutive fantasy creatures are the stars of the $360 million movie trilogy The
Lord Of The Rings.
As Woman's Day's exclusive pictures show, director Peter
Jackson's hobbits come in all shapes and sizes -- and some are not even flesh and blood.
You won't notice on the big screen, but Hollywood siren Liv
Tyler, as the Elf Princess Arwen, had only a plastic hobbit for company when she filmed a
dramatic horse chase sequence last week near Wanaka.
The dummy was standing in for the pint-sized actor playing
Liv's hobbit sidekick Bilbo Baggins as they escaped from a fearsome band of Ringwraiths,
among the book's eeriest bad guys.
Meanwhile, on another set in nearby Queenstown, the movie's
hobbit heroes Frodo and Sam Gamagee [sic] appeared, played by Elijah Wood and Sean Astin
-- who are both normal-sized. Peter and his team of special effects wizards have created
an awesome computer system, called Massive, which will shrink the stars down to size on
film -- except for the giant hairy feet which are a hobbit's trademark.
The torrential downpours that flooded Queenstown and Wanaka
have wreaked havoc to The Lord Of The Rings shooting schedule, trapping one unit in remote
Te Anau and even washing away some elaborate sets built on riverbanks around Lake
The weather also took its toll on 22-year-old Liv. She may
have become one of the movie world's hottest properties after starring roles in Armaggedon
and Stealing Beauty, but she still needed a hot-water bottle under each arm as she waited
for the cameras to roll. Luckily for her, it was Liv's last day on set before taking a
break back home in the US after several weeks filming.
Like the other Rings stars, she has been able to watch the
floodwaters rising from her suite at Queenstown's Novotel Saint Moritz hotel.
And when one well-wisher asked her as she boarded a plane
what her memories of Queenstown were, she said simply, "Lots of rain!"