Hobbit-mania hits London once more

Story by Jack Foley

LEICESTER Square fell under the power of The Lord of the Ring on Wednesday night (December 11, 2002), as the second film in JR Tolkien's trilogy, The Two Towers, received its UK premiere in front of thousands of screaming fans.

Hobbit-mania cast its spell over a freezing capital as several of the leading stars from the film joined director, Peter Jackson, at the glittering event, which followed similar premieres in New York and Paris.

Liv Tyler, Cate Blanchett, Sean Astin and Dominic Monaghan were among those who braved Arctic conditions to delight movie buffs, who had queued for hours to catch a glimpse of their heroes, while New Zealander, Jackson, delighted many by taking the time to sign photos, books and autograph books.

The Two Towers, which opens on December 18, follows the further adventures of Frodo, Aragon, Gandalf and co as they bid to free Middle Earth from the threat of evil which hangs over it, as personified by the likes of Saruman. It is a darker, more violent film than The Fellowship of the Ring, but equally as impressive - if not more so.

Highlights include the Battle of Helm's Deep, which is truly awe-inspiring, and CGI-creation, Gollum, who agrees to help Frodo get rid of the Ring, despite battling his own demons.

Fans hailed the arrival of Jackson with screams of 'Peter, Peter', while a strong male contingent greeted Liv Tyler, who plays the Elf princess, Arwen, with a similarly warm greeting, prompting the beauty to confess that it was the most she had ever heard people screaming her name before.

Sadly, three of the film's bigger stars, Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen and Christopher Lee, did not attend.

Of those that did, however, Cate Blanchett hailed Jackson as a 'genius', before promising fans that The Two Towers would be a 'historic' movie - the like of which would seldom be seen again.

The film's distributors anticipate that The Two Towers will repeat the success of The Fellowship of the Ring, which instantly became one of the biggest films of all time, taking $860m (£543m) at global box offices. On the strength of the public anticipation demonstrated on Wednesday evening, it looks like a pretty safe bet.

Other guests at the event included model, Emma Noble, Rachel, from S Club, and Neil Morrissey.

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Click here for our review of The Fellowship of the Ring...