4:14pm PT by Rebecca Ford
'Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies' Cast Bids Farewell to Middle-earth at L.A. Premiere
Thirteen years after The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring hit theaters, Peter Jackson is closing the book on his Tolkien adaptations with the final film in the Hobbit trilogy, The Battle of the Five Armies.
Jackson and the stars of the film — including Richard Armitage, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly and Lee Pace — attended the Los Angeles premiere at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood Tuesday, but the cast told THR that they felt they'd gotten closure during the final days of shooting.
"We got the goodbyes done on set," said Lilly. "This is more like a celebratory reunion. We all get to see each other again and be happy and celebrate our hard work. We worked really hard on this film."
The fans sitting in the premiere audience seemed very aware of the actors' hard work. The lively audience whooped and hollered every time one of their favorite characters would appear on screen, or would perform an especially amazing stunt.
Lilly, who plays wood elf Tauriel, said the L.A. audience was outshining the London audience, who saw the film at the world premiere on Dec. 1.
"I have to say they were 20 times better than the London audience," she said. "People from L.A. know how to watch a movie, they know how to get into a movie. This one was special."
Lilly credited Jackson with being the "only person" who could have made The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, two franchises based on the work of J. R. R. Tolkien that have earned $4.9 billion worldwide between five films.
"Somehow Peter Jackson has managed to hold onto his childlike innocence. Despite his massive career, despite being a father, despite being a man with grey hair, he's still a boy," she told THR at the afterparty in the Dolby Ballroom.
Among the guests at the lively party were several of Jackson's stars from his films over the past decade, including Lord of the Rings stars Elijah Wood and Andy Serkis. Also chatting in the corner of the room were director-producer Brett Ratner, Warner Bros. chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara, New Line Cinema president and COO Toby Emmerich and Gary Barber, chairman and CEO of MGM.
Pace, who plays Thranduil the Elvenking in the New Line and MGM film, also attended the afterparty, which featured stone columns and plenty of foliage to create a Tolkien-themed wonderland. He agreed with Lilly that Jackson's passion for the material is what makes the film come together into something epic.
"He works incredibly hard," says Pace. "He's a fan of these stories, he's a fan of the fans of these stories and then he becomes the innovator that can make the movie that would blow his own mind."
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies hits U.S. theaters on Wednesday, Dec. 17.