Flames, fans and friendly feuds engulfed the Shire’s green carpet Monday night for the London world premiere of “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.” The Middle Earth forces laid siege to both of Leicester Square’s Odeon and Empire Cinemas for the epic finale, with helmer Peter Jackson, joined en masse by Benedict Cumberbatch, Andy Serkis and Evangeline Lilly and lots of “Lord of the Rings” fans.
“Very attractive, very intelligent, fantastically dressed, well-read, great taste in music and great taste in actors!” joked pic’s Bilbo, Martin Freeman on a typical Hobbit fan.
Pic’s mighty Gandalf, Ian McKellen, grew emotional at the thought of the story’s close. Swiftly stating however, he was poised for another stint at the staff, if the call came: “I’ve got the hat safely at home. I’ve got the staff safely in my pub — The Grapes in Limehouse — and I’ve got the sword, Glamdring, downstairs. So, I’m ready,” he enthused.
Having fused into a clan over the trilogy’s run, like at any family gathering there was bickering and banter flying across the carpet. “Come on, Gandy, get yourself over here,” Orlando Bloom lovingly ordered McKellen to join him across the carpet for a hug.
Elsewhere, Luke Evans was telling tales. “I have a memory of Ian McKellen as Gandalf, going across the set doing the can-can, with no trousers on under his cape. He’s got good legs though,” he mused.
Downwind of Evans, McKellen heard tell of his words, quipping in retort, “He is a fantasist! I don’t know what he’s talking about. I have great respect for Gandalf. Gandalf doesn’t dance!”
As the guests filed in, Jackson joked, “I’ve got a bit of cutting to do before it starts.”
“No, I finished it a week ago,” he clarified. But warned the audience: “I haven’t seen it in its entirely yet — I hope it works!”
(Pictured: Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis and Orlando Bloom at the London premiere of “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”)