'I was an elf'

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Ian Goldsmith
Image caption,
Ian Goldsmith has been preparing for The Hobbit

Ian Goldsmith, a New Zealander cast as an elf in Lord of the Rings, describes his experience of being a citizen of Middle Earth and why The Hobbit should stay in New Zealand.

"You may have noticed that the whole country is in a frenzy. Every town is organising their own demonstrations of support for the film and school children are appearing on the front page of the newspapers with placards asking: "Please can New Zealand have The Hobbit".

It's become a major issue and the feeling is running high.

I was an elf in the Lord of the Rings and have been getting my look sorted for The Hobbit. Many people have been preparing themselves for the film and no-one can quite believe it might not be filmed here.

The whole country got excited 10 years ago when Lord of the Rings was filmed here and we were very much expecting that New Zealand will be the natural choice for The Hobbit too. Everybody assumed it was going to be fine and then out of the blue came these problems.

This is a big deal for us. Not just for the image of New Zealand and the tourism the film brought, but because of that feel-good spectre we all got, the boost of positive energy.

'Wonderful experience'

When I took part in the film, it wasn't for the money. People did it because they wanted to be part of it.

There was a general call out for cast and there was so much enthusiasm, that the lines of people waiting to be seen and noticed were stretching for a long time. I've got an unusual face and I was cast as an elf. Most of us took other parts as well though. I've also played an orc.

It was so amazing being in costume and seeing everyone else in costume, surrounded by this wonderful scenery. The costumes were spectacular, everyone was keen and dedicated. Everything about it was wonderful. It was a major achievement and it was great to be part of it.

We wouldn't have missed it for anything. We had the time of our lives.

Things haven't changed and there is as much enthusiasm now as there was 10 years ago. We were all gearing for it to be happening again and people here were quite mystified as to why anybody would not want to be involved.

It's a mystery to us why they would think about filming The Hobbit somewhere else, given how excited and enthusiastic we are about it.

I've written a letter to Warner Brothers expressing the support New Zealanders have for The Hobbit. I have been cultivating my elf look and like others here in New Zealand, would be so sad if the film were not to be filmed here."