Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Stars attend Hobbit royal premiere

Cate Blanchett and Sir Ian McKellen arriving for the UK premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

A host of stars have gathered in the West End for the royal UK premiere of the new Hobbit film.

The Duke of Cambridge will join them for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in London's Leicester Square and will attend alone as his wife Kate, whose pregnancy was announced last week, continued to rest at St James's Palace from acute morning sickness.

Sir Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis and Cate Blanchett, who reprise their roles from the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and Office star Martin Freeman, who plays main character Bilbo Baggins in the JRR Tolkien adaptation, all attended.

They were joined by showbiz figures including boyband McFly, who braved freezing temperatures on the green carpet in front of hundreds of screaming fans.

Sir Ian, who plays the wizard Gandalf, said it was great to be in London for a film with a strong British presence.

He added: "Its cast is basically British and from the Commonwealth, Tolkien was an English writer, here we are in the capital city and it feels proper."

Australian actress Cate, who plays elf queen Galadriel, joked about the cold. "The weather is enough to drive anyone away but it is great to see so many fans," she said.

She wore a stunning white backless dress but had donned a black jacket by the time she went into the cinema for the performance.

Freeman admitted it was a challenge to star as The Hobbit himself, Bilbo Baggins, and he said he hoped fans would enjoy the film. He said: "I loved playing it. I really loved playing it.

"I hope people like it. There's nothing more you can do. It's in the hands of Peter Jackson and the editors."

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