Peter Jackson rejects 'The Hobbit' animal cruelty claims

The Hobbit director Peter Jackson and star Martin Freeman at today's press conference in Wellington.
The Hobbit director Peter Jackson and star Martin Freeman at today's press conference in Wellington. Seanna Cronin

THE stars of The Hobbit have described working on the film as a family atmosphere at a press conference this morning in Wellington.

Beloved Froddo actor Elijah Woods said it felt like "no time had passed at all" when he returned to Hobbiton to film his brief appearance in The Hobbit and Martin Freeman praised the film crew for being so understanding about his reservations of being away for his family for 18 months.

Freeman, who plays central character Bilbo Baggins, said he nearly had to turn down the titular role because of scheduling conflicts with his UK drama series Sherlock.

Speaking to media ahead of tonight's world premiere, director Peter Jackson said there was no one else but Freeman to play Bilbo.

Jackson said it felt like "the country was behind us" and hit back at claims of animal cruelty on The Hobbit set, describing them as "an insult to everyone who worked on the film".

Filmed at 48 frames per second and in 3D, The Hobbit is much more technologically advanced than the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Jackson said it was "not impossible" for the Lord of the Rings films to one day be re-released in 3D.

One of the many new additions to the Jackson fold, Barry Humphries joked about his "first nude scene" as his character The Goblin King and was teased by co-star Cate Blanchett for his "goiter".

Blanchett stood out in the line-up in a bright red dress and said she feel "madly" in love with Ian McKellen during the scenes they share together in the film, the first of Jackson's Hobbit trilogy.

The jovial atmosphere continued when the cast of dwarves took questions.

William Kircher joked about how the 13 actors had become "close with yaks" after wearing elaborate yak-hair beards for the past 18 months of filming.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opens in Australia on Boxing Day.

Topics:  editors picks movie premiere peter jackson the hobbit: an unexpected journey

WATCH: Students tried to burn down two CQ schools

Two 15-year-olds have been charged with arson and attempted arson.

TWO teenagers face serious charges after arson attack.

Jobs to apply for in CQ right now

Builder handyman with construction tools. House renovation background.

Jobs available across the region

20-year-old woman knocked out after crashing into tree

Police generic, crime scene.  Photo Tessa Mapstone / South Burnett Times

20-year-old female in Marlborough car crash, knocked unconscious

Local Partners

$2000 raised for SES at morning tea

UP to 150 people attended a morning tea at the Heritage Village in aid of the Rockhampton SES hosted by the Rockhampton and District Benefits Association.

Your chance to win

Learn More

Community garden set for Palmwoods

Kay Nixon at the Palmwoods Community Gardens will be hosting a launch day and inviting the ecommunity to come along and sign up.

Parcel of land to supply sustainable gardening for community

Former Split Enz front man Tim Finn finds new niche

Singer Tim Finn has written the music for theatre production Ladies in Black.

Musician finds his way to theatre

WHAT'S ON: Your guide to entertainment and events this weekend

AWARD WINNING SHOW: Tequila Mockingbird can be seen at St Brednan's College, Yeppoon on Saturday.

LOOKING for something to do this weekend?

Priscilla concerned people will forget about Elvis

Priscilla Presley source Bang

She says she feels responsible to keep his legacy going

Taylor Swift files lawsuit over alleged groping

Taylor Swift source Bang

Swift has commenced legal action against a DJ over the incident

Kanye West threatens to boycott Grammys

West says he won't go to the Grammys if Frank Ocean's not nominated

Why this actress wasn't embarrassed by nude photo leak

Leslie Jones source Bang

'If you wanna see Leslie Jones naked, just ask,' she said

Dad's Army comic genius Jim Perry dies

Jimmy Perry, the creator of Dad's Army.

Dad's Army series captured all that British people savour

Check out some fashions from the Coast festival

FASHION: Ocean Zen range.

Images from the Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival show what's hot

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.

What our mayor thinks of the new draft SEQPlan

The plan to use the innovative technology as part of the new Maroochydore CBD was cemented on site today when Mayor Mark Jamieson and Envac Asia Region president Chun Yong Ha formally signed the contract for the $20 million underground waste collection system.

New plan accommodates Sunshine Coast Council's vision for growth.