Heaven, according to Peter Jackson’s film The Lovely Bones, is a techni-colour wonderland.
For the crowds lining the red carpet on Wellington’s Courtenay Place last night waiting for the stars to arrive at the premiere, long-awaited sunshine was heavenly enough.
But Oscar winner Susan Sarandon, 63, the biggest-hitting international star in attendance, froze after she turned up in bare feet – and without knickers or a bra beneath her frock, her costar Rose McIver told guests inside the Embassy. The VIPs included Rhys Darby and Taika Waititi, television presenter Brendon Pongia and TV actors.
The estimated 5000 crowd was humble compared with the 125,000 turnout for The Lord of the Rings premiere in 2003 and the 20,000 for King Kong in 2005.
But Jackson fever was in the air. ‘‘We love you Peter and Fran’’ banners were waved and Wellington’s best-loved director received a resounding cheer and even bigger applause inside before the film rolled.
‘‘There is nothing like the home crowd,’’ he told the audience. ‘‘Everyone is royalty in Wellywood.’’
Irish actress Saoirse Ronan, 15, who plays murder victim Susie Salmon, said she felt like Wellington was her second home ‘‘even though everyone is screaming for [comedian] Rhys Darby.’’
Yesterday’s event follows last month’s premiere of the film before a royal audience in London, its launch in New York and Los Angeles and a premiere in Sydney.
Jackson said the studios launched the movie in stages partly because of competition from James Cameron’s movie Avatar, also made in Wellington, and partly due to the style of The Lovely Bones. ‘‘It’s a slightly challenging film that doesn’t fit into the usual mass market mould.’’
The film opens here on Boxing Day.