'Lord of the Rings' comes to life with a Gollum statue at Wellington International Airport

To celebrate the upcoming 'Hobbit' films, the team behind the movie's special effects designed a giant Gollum statue which is currently on display at the Wellington International Airport.

By , Staff Writer

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    Gollum is played in the 'Lord of the Rings' and 'Hobbit' films by Andy Serkis (l.) using motion-capture technology.
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If you pass through Wellington Airport, you may come face-to-face with a new visitor: a giant statue of Gollum, the memorable creature from the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

The statue, which is more than 42 feet long and weighs more than 1.2 tons, was added to the airport to celebrate the upcoming “Hobbit” film, which hits theaters Dec. 14 and was directed by “Lord of the Rings” helmer Peter Jackson. The statue is accompanied by large fish, creatures which Gollum loves to catch and eat in the “Lord of the Rings” films. The fish each measure more than 13 feet and are accompanied by large bubbles. In order to fit through the doors of the airport, the Gollum model had to be broken down into nine separate parts.

The statue was built by Masayuki Ohashi, a Japanese artist, and designed by Weta Workshop, the special effects company which was behind the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy and has worked on the “Hobbit” films as well. The statue was built using polystyrene and epoxy resin and constructed with the aid of chainsaws and robotics.

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“It was a very exciting project to work on,” Ohashi said in a statement.

In addition to the Gollum statue, Wellington is being temporarily renamed “The Middle of Middle-Earth” to celebrate the new movies, so travelers will now also see a sign announcing the name.

“Wellington Airport feels like the home of Gollum after spending so many months here during the last three films,” Weta co-founder and creative director Richard Taylor said in a statement. A Gollum statue had resided in the airport to celebrate the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy.

In the films, Gollum is played by actor Andy Serkis using motion-capture technology. Many fans and some movie critics were outraged when Serkis was not nominated for an Oscar for his work in the second and third “Lord of the Rings” films, “Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” and “Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.” (Serkis is glimpsed for merely seconds in the first film.)

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