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Wednesday, 20 March 2019 07:11 pm

VIDEO: Walking on Lovely Bones red carpet


Story by Kylie Klein-Nixon. Video by Ben Strang and Bonnie Tai. Still pictures by Carl Suurmond.

TWO HUNDRED metres of red carpet, 5000 fans lining the way and celebrities from A to C (and maybe D) bejewel central Wellington for the premiere of Peter Jackson’s The Lovely Bones. When the Capital turns on the Wellywood charm, it does it with style.

Even the weather looks fine as the first suited, booted and frocked up guests start the long walk up Courtenay Place towards the city’s Grand Dame cinema, The Embassy.

Despite the excitement on the red carpet, the mood of the crowd is slightly muted, perhaps because The Lovely Bones has received mixed reviews so far.

S5001586Success barometer website Rotten Tomatoes had it at a painfully low 42% on the morning of the premiere and international reviewers have criticised Jackson’s vision of heaven with the kind of invective usually reserved for lesser directors.

But this crowd is Jackson’s crowd and they want the film to be a success.

Fans holding signs and fliers for autographs, crammed against the barriers are here to see home town hero Jackson even more so than superstar Susan Sarandon who plays the film’s matriarch.

Snappy cameras flash every person stepping onto Courtenay Place from limousines with The Lovely Bones decals, or exiting the Welcome tent on Blair Street.LB1

The fans know the names of the new stars too – a sure sign that junior A-listers have been born.  They call out to Saoirse Ronan who plays lead Susie Salmon, and local girl Rose McIver who plays her sister, as they make their way to the cinema.

In The Embassy the champagne is flowing, Ruth Pretty canapés are munched and celebs are schmoozed.

Everyone from the cast of Shortland Street to Oscar award-winning editor and producer Jamie Selkirk is in attendance.  Brendan Pongia chats with Shane Cortese, while Kerry Woodham takes snaps of Craig Parker for a fan.

ELEVATED VIEW: Comedian Rhys Darby collects a glass of champagne before the movie

ELEVATED VIEW: Comedian Rhys Darby collects a glass of champagne before the movie

But unlike many industry schmooze fests, if the stampede to get to their seats is anything to go by, this celeb crowd are as frantic to see the movie as they are to see one another.

Before the film rolls there are speeches and back patting and thanks all round, but the audience cheers are reserved for Jackson who introduces his co-writers and cast with affection and gratitude.

The cinema is packed with the people who made the film possible.  The digital effects heroes, genius editors, sound wizards, runners and lighting riggers who are the backbone of Wellywood.

FAN FRENZY: views from upstairs at the Embassy as Susan Sarandon greets fans

FAN FRENZY: views from upstairs at the Embassy as Susan Sarandon greets fans

Susan Sarandon says it’s an honour to attend this premiere out of all because it feels like coming home.

She is introduced by screen granddaughter, McIver who also informs the audience that Sarandon is knickers free this evening, but that’s beside the point.

The point is Susan Sarandon, legend, loves New Zealand.  If she didn’t already have the home crowd’s affections, she absolutely does now.

But if there’s a hero of the evening it is, of course, Jackson – the real reason for all this flash and pomp.

“There’s nothing like a home crowd,” he says, and the audience agrees loudly with cheering and stomping of feet. There is nothing like being in the home crowd especially when it gets to celebrate one of its own.

(By Carl Suurmond)

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.The Press Conference:

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

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  1. Hey Ben,
    where is my part of the interview?
    (the German guy with the poster at the very end)

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