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Police called to 'Hobbit' extras casting due to overwhelming crowds

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Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

© Warner Bros.

A casting call for The Hobbit movies has been shut down due to safety concerns.

Crowds of hopefuls wanting to audition to be extras in the pair of Peter Jackson films were left disappointed when doors closed early, after an overwhelming amount of people turned up.

Senior Sergeant Steve Braybrook told NZ Newswire on Sunday (January 29): "There was enough concern that police attended," then confirming that the organiser of the event in Belmont Hall in Lower Hutt decided to "call it quits".

It was reportedly the location of the hall near a main highway that led to concern for the safety of the gathering crowds.

Senior Sergeant Braybrook said that the manner in which people were queuing, together with some parking the other side of the highway and then crossing it to get to the venue, contributed to the early closure.

According to Radio New Zealand, approximately 3,000 people arrived to audition, but production company 3foot7 was expecting 1,200.

In the end, only about 800 hopefuls made it into the audition room, 3News claims.

The production company's initial casting call said that it was looking for men under 164cm and women under 155cm, big men with "character faces" over 175cm, men with large biceps, women with "character faces" and women with long hair to appear in the movies, which star an ensemble cast including Elijah Wood and Martin Freeman.

> Elijah Wood: 'The Hobbit is going to be a surprise'
> Elijah Wood: 'The Hobbit was like a family reunion'

Watch a behind-the-scenes video featuring Elijah Wood's return to the JRR Tolkien series below:

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