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Gandalf Enchants NZ Ambassador And Guests

December 18, 2001


Nowdays it seems it is not only hobbits that can appear out of thin air. Ian McKellen, the wizard star of The Lord of the Rings, was the surprise special guest at a private screening of The Fellowship of the Rings in New York on December 17 hosted by New Zealand’s Ambassador to the US, the Rt Hon. Jim Bolger and Ambassador Don MacKay of New Zealand’s Permanent Mission to the UN. The actor appeared just as the screening was due to begin, much to the delight of the invited guests.

Ian McKellen, who plays Gandalf the Grey, shared some of his impressions of living in New Zealand and working with Peter Jackson. He spoke fondly of the diverse locations used as the backdrop for the film and of the strong friendships formed among the cast and crew. He said he was delighted that New Zealand had issued a stamp depicting him as Gandalf.

More than 400 New York business people and VIPs attended the screening including the Australian Consul General, Ken Allen and executives in the US film, tourism and advertising industries. The evening was organized by Investment New Zealand.

Ambassador Bolger said he was thrilled that Ian McKellen had been able to attend and say a few words before the film started.

“Ian made the evening very special for New Zealand and I was glad we had the opportunity to welcome him into the fellowship of New Zealanders,” he said.

Ambassador Bolger said he was delighted to host an event which provided a wonderful means of profiling so many aspects of New Zealand, including both the beauty of the country and the extraordinary talent of New Zealand film makers.

“The Lord of the Rings has in poll after poll been voted the most popular book of the twentieth century. The Fellowship of the Ring is the most spectacular film of the new century. It has established an entirely new standard in film making that will challenge others that follow,” he said.
Ends/…


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