Film scouts hunt for Dunedin hobbits

Sir Peter Jackson's talent scouts will visit Dunedin to fill a tall order for a long list of short people to work on his next big movie.

Production company Wingnut Films is looking for short and tall people to play scale doubles for the speaking cast of The Hobbit.

It has announced a casting call for the Edgar Centre on Sunday and yesterday warned aspiring actors who were either too short or too tall not to apply.

Scouts would only consider men aged 17-55 who are between 128cm and 158cm tall, or taller than 210cm, and women between 128cm and 153cm tall.

Confirming the details, a Wingnut spokesman said scale doubles would appear in some wide shots, or with other actors when those actors needed to be made to look taller or shorter, he said.

That meant the company needed short people who could be hobbits, and tall people to make shorter actors look even more hobbit-scaled.

They would go on a long-list of people who might be used "in the event we visit a location during filming ... or so we know who to go to if we are short".

The call did not mean The Hobbit would be filmed in coastal Otago.

Locations were still being finalised and the company needed to be ready for anything, the spokesman said.

Even with the height restrictions, the doubles would still be taller than the hobbits of J. R. R. Tolkien's books.

In his prologue to The Lord Of The Rings, Tolkein said the average height of a hobbit was three feet six inches, or about 106.6cm.

In New Zealand, the average height for men is about 177cm and for women, 165cm.

The Hobbit casting call takes place at the Edgar Centre, at 10am-12.30pm and 2pm-3.30pm on Sunday.

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