Tuesday, 10 December 2013

The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug - European Premiere

By popular demand, half a day earlier than my blog normally is due. My story about the European Premiere of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug in Berlin. And be warned, this will be long!

Wow, what an event. At the first part of the day, I wasn't so very sure. It was cold, it was raining, I was there all by myself. And I didn't get a front row spot (even when I was there a little before 8AM, when the event started at 6.30 PM).

But with an aching back, sore and cold feet, I decided to stay. And it sure was worth it. After a while there were three nice ladies standing next to me, from Prague and Berlin. We started chatting and counting down the hours, making the wait so much better.

The winning costumes
And of course people watching. At first the other fans. Some in such a perfect costume. There was a group close to us with Thranduil, Thorin, Dwalin, Fili, Kili, Dis and a Hobbit lady. They almost looked like the real deal (and to add, they did win tickets to go see the movie that night! Very well deserved!)

What's that??

What was almost more fun was watching the people who didn't know what was going on. They just came to visit Postdamer Platz. And all of a sudden barriers, lots of costumed people and other people, well bundled up. The looks on their faces was priceless. First a bit astound, but after that a laughter and taking pictures of all the people and the costumed ones.

Some local companies took the event for some good business. The local Starbucks came around with coffee. And the two guys... Elrond and Thranduil! Clever!

The long wait was broken by the people from Air New Zealand. First handing out sheets with an image from the movie, on which you could collect autographs.
And later with hot chocolate and coffee, with a great sleeve "Smauging Hot". These people really know how to embrace the world of Middle-earth.

Around 6PM they started with a live broadcast. So you could have joined in (and I know a few of you have done so). Update 11/12/13: here is a short impression from Warner Brothers: link (and if you look at 1.09, there is John Bell talking to the amazing costumed Fili and Kili, behind them a girl in a white hat and behind her somebody with a strange purple/blueish hat... yes I made it into the moving images!

By 6.30PM the first stars started to arrive. Beginning with Martin Freeman and James Nesbitt. But they got rushed past us. Oh, oh, I hoped that wouldn't be the case for the rest of the evening, stars just getting rushed past us.
But they were brought to the stage for an interview with the hosts and later Martin Freeman returned to the red carpet for autographs.

After that the stars caming pooring in. A warning ahead, some of the pictures are blurry. You have to imagine holding Brian Sibleys Official Movie Guide in one hand, in the other your camera, while squeezing in between the people in front of you while 6 rows of people behind you are pushing you towards the front with books, pieces of paper and pens are in your hair. I won't post all, some are so blurry they make me motion sick while looking at them.

James Nesbitts daughters Mary and Peggy, who play the children of Bard the Bowman and his wife, who plays Belladonna Took, Bilbo's mother.

Dan and Chris Hennah (it helps to watch the appendices a lot, I was the only one around me who recognised them, so they were happy to sign my book).

Philippa Boyens. This time I got an autograph and the chance to thank her for what she is doing for the movies.

Richard Armitage (Thorin). Who is making a habit out of crossing the red carpet just before he is where I'm standing. So no autograph, again... But at least a good picture.

Ed Sheeran, wrong side of the carpet. I had hoped he would perform "I see fire" but unfortunately he didn't.

Luke Evans (Bard), with a signature in my book.

Martin Freeman, on his way back to the stage. Taking loads of time for the fans, giving out autographs and making pictures (those actors sure have to be handy with cameras and selfies).

Sylvester McCoy (Radagast), wrong side of the carpet, but a picture. I love how he comes to premieres in those quirky coats, top hat and cane. 

Adam Brown (Ori) and Graham McTavish (Dwalin). Both an autograph!

Ryan Cage (Alfrid). New in Desolation of Smaug so not yet recognised by a lot of people, but my pre-work of looking up the pictures of the actors helped and he gladly signed my book. (He is in the picture with Sylvester McCoy, in the black suit).

Mikael Persbrandt (Beorn). Also new in the movie and not a very well known actor. So when I called out to him, somebody from (I think) Warner Brothers or at least somebody with a say in what the actors do, directed him to me, because I recognised him!

John Bell (Bain, son of Bard). Also new, very young, but such a sweetheart. Dressed in a kilt, jumping up and down because he got to sign autographs and have pictures taken. And introducing his mum, who was with him, to everybody.

Ken Stott (Balin). He signed my book and I got a chance to thank him for his role as Balin. I think he does a magnificent portrayal!

Andy Serkiss (Gollum), wrong side of the carpet. This time no high fiving the entire red carpet, Probably due to the wetness of the red carpet.

Dean O'Gorman (Fili). Got an autograph, but it was so crazy that I forgot to take a picture.

Aidan Turner (Kili). He crossed to the other side of the carpet a few people before me, and came back a few people after me.

Peter Jackson! Yes, the man himself. He took so much time with all the fans. I think he signed for everybody in the first three rows, on both sides of the red carpet. Really taking his time (and he touched my book!!! Yes it was in his hands.) And he brought his daughter Katie with him. (And in the picture, a top the white hat, that's Aidan Turner)

Benedict Cumberbatch (the Necromancer/Smaug and of course Sherlock!). He signed my book and added something. I'm still trying to decipher, but you may help... what does it say?

Orlando Bloom. Yes, even Legolas was in Berlin. I thought he would be in New York for Romeo and Julliette, but apparantly the play stopped just before the entire Desolation of Smaug frenzy started. Never thought I would be able to meet him in real life and get an autograph, but I did!

Evangeline Lilly (Tauriel). Unfortunately on the wrong side of the carpet. She was wearing a wonderful dress, and good on her, a warm coat over it.

And I did spot a few people from behind the scenes. I'm sure I saw Ra Vincent (set dresser), but he walked by pretty fast. And a couple of the guys from, I think, sound design or special effects. But they were having too much fun taking pictures of the crowd and themselves on the red carpet.

While the various stars were on the red carpet the hosts talked with the stars who already made it to the stage. I did hear a bit, but a lot not with all the shouting (myself and the others). So I also have to rewatch the broadcast, to hear what they were saying.

When all stars had come through, the hosts went onto the red carpet to hand out tickets to the screening (with the stars). No ticket for me, but that isn't too bad, since I will be seeing a double screening tonight.

And they had some gold coins from Smaugs hoard to hand out. One of those I really wanted... but didn't get it.
Oh well, not that bad. I had an amazing time.

This was so much better than the one I had seen online from LA. Of course being there always gives a different feel. But here the emphasize was on the public and the stars, not the hosts.

And after that, standing on my feet for 13 hours, I was just glad to be able to sit down, give my feet a rest, go through my pictures. And now, on my way home from Berlin (hello 6 hour train ride) writing this.

It really was amazing. Wellington was a wee bit better with the location, the weather and the amount of dwarves present. But this was an amazing experience.

Any questions, feel free to ask!


  1. With regards to the writing of Benedict Cumberbatch we are now at: "He doesn't .. ... go on a lot". I think it is referring to Smaug. But please help deciphering!

  2. For those of you wanting to see the premiere (and I'm watching along): http://www.myvideo.de/watch/9326293/Der_Hobbit_Smaugs_Einoede_Aufzeichnung_der_Kinopremiere_vom_10_12_2013 The entire live broadcast of the event.