The Hobbit : Premieres
World Premiere of The Hobbit : An Unexpected Journey, 28th November 2012
The world premiere of the first film in Peter Jackson's trilogy took place at the Embassy Theatre, Wellington, New Zealand.
Most of the stars of the film attended, including Richard Armitage. It was preceded by a speech from Peter Jackson, who introduced the cast members, including Richard Armitage - it can be seen on YouTube (uploaded by RichardArmitageNet.)
Richard also spoke to New Zealand's ZM radio station.
A one minute video recap of the coverage of the red carpet can be seen at TheOneRing.net.
Earlier in the day, Peter Jackson and the cast held a press conference - see an excerpt at the Sydney Morning Herald website.
The day before the premiere, the cast gave a number of interviews. Richard Armitage, Martin Freeman and Andy Serkis were interviewed by Mark Sainsbury for TVNZ's Close Up, Australia's Channel 7, and ZMTV.
Reports of the premiere have been published by The Dominion Post, Reuters, the Wall St Journal, the New York Daily News, The Guardian (which has a set of pictures), and the Daily Telegraph (also with a set of pictures - Richard Armitage is shown in the fifth one). BBC News also reports on the premiere.
The Hollywood Reporter quotes Richard Armitage saying of Peter Jackson, "The thing that inspires me is that he’s as fascinated with technology and where film can go as he is with story and character. Something incredible has been created that’s never been seen before."
Japanese premiere of The Hobbit : An Unexpected Journey, 1st December 2012
All of them spoke at an on-stage presentation beforehand. After greeting the crowd in Japanese, Richard said "It's a real honour to be here tonight to share our film with you, to be here with my fellow actors and my director. It's a great night and I really hope you enjoy the movie."
He was asked if he had any anecdotes about the fiming (right). "Thorin the warrior managed to do quite a lot of damage to his own face. I was getting beaten up by six orcs who were taller than me and I hit myself in the face with my own shield and there was a lot of blood. But we decided it looked so good we carried on working, and it's in the film."
This video compilation (by JasRangoon) shows him meeting fans on the red carpet.
Before the premiere the five men held a news conference. (Video of the whole conference has been uploaded to YouTube by RichardArmitageCentral, in five parts: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5. Richard's contributions to the press conference have been compiled in this video.)
Richard began by referring back to the time when he had toured to Tokyo in the Royal Shakespeare Company's 1999 production of Macbeth, in which he played Angus. "I was here in Tokyo back in 2000 and I'm so proud to come back in 2012 with these amazing people and with this film, which I think will really appeal to a Japanese audience. It has so many big themes, honour, loyalty - it's just something huge for me, but I think it will be really well received here and I'm really proud to bring it to you."
He spoke movingly about his sense of responsibility in portraying Thorin Oakenshield. "Having been a huge fan of the Lord of the Rings book and absorbing myself in the trilogy, one thing that you realise is that Peter's work is very, very unlikely to ever be remade in the future. So when you're given the responsibility of taking on a role like Thorin Oakenshield, you understand that I will probably be the only person that ever plays this. To own that responsibility and come to New Zealand with all of those fears and excitement... that will probably be the most memorable thing about the whole event. It was probably the best year of my life, and the best 18 months I ever spent working on any piece of work, regardless of the end product. The experience of sharing that with Peter and his team in New Zealand will be in my heart for ever."
He was then asked about his experience of working with Martin Freeman. "I always felt incredibly guilty that I didn't really socialise enough when we were working on this job, particularly with Martin because he is one of the most entertaining people I've ever worked with. But I have to explain to you [turning to Martin Freeman] that the prosthetic is removed with alcohol, so if you consume too much alcohol the night before, the face falls off about half way through the day, and you feel really rubbish all day. So I apologise for not coming out for a beer more often."
He continued, "But in terms of what I gained from Martin as an actor, there was one particular day and it was in Bag End. It was my first day on the set and Martin had been working with Andy for two weeks on the Gollum scene. And they were doing something which is called a rolling reset, and I watched Martin experimenting with a moment as a jazz musician would riff on a theme. And I remember being so impressed with it because it's actually quite a brave thing to do, because you expose your process to everyone in the room. It set the benchmark for me in the way I would like to work for the rest of the film, and that set everything in motion. I have such admiration for what he did on this film and I think that character [Bilbo] is going to live in children's hearts for a long time."
Both Peter Jackson and Martin Freeman were asked about their experience of working with Richard and both were generous in their praise for him.
Peter Jackson spoke about his playing of the role. "I look on Bilbo and Thorin as the heart and soul of the story. If Bilbo is the heart then Thorin is the soul. Richard managed to capture for us the sense of nobility (because he is essentially playing a king) but also the conflict as to whether or not he has the ability to lead these dwarves on this very difficult quest, a small number to fight a dragon, to reclaim a homeland. And it's a very noble thing that he's trying to do and yet he doesn't really have the resources to do this."
He continued, "Also, with the character there's a sense of quiet honour that Richard carries, which I think is absolutely superb. Richard is one of those very rare actors, [who] uses stillness, and he uses quiet to draw your eye. There can be a lot of things happening on the screen, there can be many characters on the screen, and yet Thorin in his stillness draws your attention. It's a very, very rare skill. He's somebody when he's on screen that your eyes go to, that you want to watch."
Martin Freeman then spoke about Richard as a person. "It's very easy working with Richard. What Pete said about what he brings to Thorin is partly what he brings as a person. He has quiet determination. He respects himself, and others, and he respects others' ways of working, but he holds onto this very strong core of himself. He's about the least arrogant person you could wish to meet. He's very self-deprecating and he's always up for what you're going to bring to the scene."
He then told a story about a day when they were both working out at a gym, doing circuits. Half way round he almost passed out with the effort, but when he looked up he saw that Richard had quietly completed the entire circuit. "He was slightly breaking a sweat, and he admitted that he found it hard and he was tired, but what I really admired about that, was that he wasn't being macho, and he wasn't being butch, but he just quietly got on with it. And that's kind of how he treated the 18 months of the job. All the trials and tribulations that inevitably come with the day to day making of a film - it's tiring, you miss home, etc - he was very stoical about it, which is a great thing for Thorin. So I think there was a good marriage of Richard and Thorin there, and I enjoyed working with him very much. What I always think about Richard is that he is essentially a decent person, and I can offer no higher praise about someone. I think he's a good human being and I like being around him."
Canadian premiere of The Hobbit : An Unexpected Journey, 3rd December 2012
Richard Armitage attended a special screening of the film at the Scotiabank cinema in Toronto.
During the morning rush-hour earlier that day, he appeared at Union Station to promote the film (left). Standing in front of a recreation of the entrance to Bilbo Baggins' house, he signed autographs, posed for photographs and spoke to reporters.
"I hope everyone takes their kids at Christmas and enjoys the film," he said. "It's something that all of the family can go and enjoy together and I think there are very few things that we can do like that today."
This video from Warner Bros gives an impression of the event.
US premiere of The Hobbit : An Unexpected Journey, 6th December 2012
The American premiere took place at the Ziegfield Theatre in New York and was a gala in aid of the American Film Institute. Most of the film's cast attended, as did many other stars.
The Daily Mail's report, after discussing Liv Tyler's legs at some length, includes a video of interviews with the cast on the red carpet - Richard Armitage is seen briefly in the background.
BecauseIamFabulous published several pictures of Richard wearing a Michael Bastian suit to the premiere.
British premiere of The Hobbit : An Unexpected Journey, 12th December 2012
This year's Royal Film Performance, in aid of the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund, was the film's British premiere. It took place at the Odeon Leicester Square in London in the presence of HRH Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge.
For the last of the film's big premieres, Leicester Square was transformed into Middle Earth for the evening, with a green carpet laid out for the cast and other guests.
These videos from Warner Bros, The Telegraph and BBC News give a flavour of the event. Two videos from RichardArmitageCentral show Richard Armitage being interviewed, and Prince William meeting the cast (the latter video is also here).
A few days later, Channel 4 broadcast The Hobbit: T4 Premiere Special, a look behind the scenes of the film with reports from the premiere. This video shows two clips from the programme, including interviews with Richard Armitage and several of the other dwarves.
The world premiere of the second film took place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on 2nd December 2013. Richard Armitage joined Peter Jackson, Martin Freeman, Benedict Cumberbatch and other stars of the film.
Warner Bros has posted a recording of the live-stream of the premiere on YouTube - it includes an interview with Richard Armitage (at 1:02:00). Or see Hollywood.com's interviews with the stars of the film, including Richard, on the red carpet. The Hollywood Reporter has a story and pictures from the premiere.
TheOneRing.net has a transcript of the press conference held later (see page 5 for a question put to Richard Armitage about shooting the barrel scene).
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