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McKellen reprises Gandalf role with help from stunt doubles

Sir Ian McKellen has been describing his action-packed role in the long-awaited Hobbit film ahead of its star-studded UK premiere tonight. The trilogy of films, based on the novel by Tolkien, are all directed by Peter Jackson, and set in Middle Earth 60 years before the Ring trilogy.

McKellen reprises his role as Gandalf in 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey'. He told Daybreak he couldn't have done it without a little help from his stunt doubles.

Prince William expected to attend Hobbit premiere alone

The star-studded UK premiere of the long-awaited Hobbit film will be held in London tonight but without the Duchess of Cambridge.

The Duke of Cambridge is still expected to attend The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in London's Leicester Square as Kate, continues to rest at St James's Palace from acute morning sickness.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge leave the King Edward VII hospital earlier this month
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge leave the King Edward VII hospital earlier this month Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

The Duke cancelled his last public appearance at the British Military Tournament on Sunday to be at the Duchesses side.

Yesterday St James's Palace said:

"The Duchess of Cambridge will not attend The Hobbit premiere tomorrow evening and will continue to rest privately. The Duke of Cambridge will attend as planned."

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Hit elf and safety video inspired by The Hobbit

A video released by a New Zealand airline to help promote passenger safety on-board its aircraft has racked up nearly 10 million YouTube hits online - thanks to its Hobbit-inspired theme.

Featuring a brief cameo appearance by legendary director Sir Peter Jackson, air hostesses run the adventure-themed video and advise passengers dressed in fantasy attire from the film.

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Jackson wants The Hobbit to be 'magical'

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey director Peter Jackson hopes the new technology he used on his latest movie trilogy will create a "magical" cinema-going experience.

Speaking at a news conference in Wellington, New Zealand, hours before the first instalment's world premiere, Jackson highlighted that the films were shot at 48 frames per second rather than the traditional 24 in a bid to give them greater clarity.

Oscar-wining director Peter Jackson wants people to 'come back to the movies'
Oscar-wining director Peter Jackson wants people to 'come back to the movies' Credit: Reuters/Lucas Jackson

"We just have to make the cinema-going experience more magical and more spectacular to get people coming back to the movies again", the Oscar-winning director told the audience.

Jackson said that when the movie opens worldwide next month in 25,000 cinemas, only around 1,000 of them will be equipped to show the movie in 48 frames, so most people will see it in the more traditional format.

The Hobbit has also been shot in 3-D.

Wellington prepares for The Hobbit world premiere

Sculptures being moved into place ahead of The Hobbit's world premiere in New Zealand
Sculptures being moved into place ahead of The Hobbit's world premiere in New Zealand Credit: Reuters TV

Fans are beginning to gather in Wellington, New Zealand, as preparations are underway for the world premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

The cinema in Wellington, New Zealand, is being turned into a Middle Earth haven
The cinema in Wellington, New Zealand, is being turned into a Middle Earth haven Credit: Reuters TV

The film is the first in director Peter Jackson's new trilogy based on the stories of J.R.R. Tolkien.

Some fans have even come dressed as some of the characters
Some fans have even come dressed as some of the characters Credit: Reuters TV

Jackson wrote on Facebook earlier, "Our first press conference in the magnificent marae at Te Papa - New Zealand's national museum here in Wellington. World Premiere of the movie in a few hours".

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