Blog| 22 February 2011 | From the middle of Middle-earth
A wizard is never late: but I hadn't intended last Thursday to arrive in Wellington for The Hobbit filming, five weeks early. Yet, what's new? Just a year ago, touring New Zealand with Waiting for Godot, I had expected to start shooting in July 2010, with Guillermo del Toro in charge. I was staying at his spare house on Breaker Bay, close to the Jackson compound. There he told me why he was abandoning Middle-earth, as Warner Brothers and MGM got perilously close to postponing The Hobbit forever and he worried about his commitments to other work. So my plan to jump straight from Beckett to Tolkien had to be abandoned and I flew home for a prolonged break.
A year on, filming was to start at the end of February 2011. I curtailed a holiday in India to make sure I would be on time.
Then, while I was away, Peter Jackson had his stomach operation. The insurance company has insisted on five weeks recuperation. Which is why, yet again, I¹m here early. Waiting for Bilbo.
I was hoping to see Peter up and kicking at the party Philippa Boyens threw last week for the actors and again the following day, when Graham Mactavish and Gwen had a house-warming party in their garden and house overlooking the Wellington harbour. No luck: but there were many others to say hello to; beginning with 13 dwarves.
To be continued.