Here we were all wondering when this never before seen photo was taken. Guest Blogger KatharineD. has the answer.
The Great Gatsby ball at the Roxy in Wellington seemed a good bet – but how to explain beardless Richard Armitage in mid-June 2013, when pick-ups for TH were in full swing?
The only plausible answer was that the photo was taken in early 2011 before Richard grew his own beard, so I did some digging around and found out that the venue was indeed the Roxy Theatre, but the event wasn’t a charity ball, but the cinema’s grand reopening after extensive restoration work had been carried out.
There’s a lovely story behind all this. It was originally the Capitol Theatre, built in 1928 to screen silent movies. It operated as a cinema through to the early 1960’s, when it was converted into a suburban shopping mall. The mall eventually closed down, and the building sat empty for several decades. It was purchased by one of Peter Jackson’s film companies, with the aim of turning it back into a community cinema.
The restoration project was taken on by Weta Workshop founder Richard Taylor, his wife Tanya Rodger, and Jamie Selkirk, a long time colleague of Peter’s, who was one of the editors on The Lord Of The Rings. The work was extensive, retaining the original Art Deco facade, but completely rebuilding the interior, with two cinemas, a restaurant and bar, all in 1930’s style.
Weta Workshop contributed sculptures and artwork to the interior decoration. Here is a page of photos from the Roxy’s website- scroll down to see the restoration work in progress. The reopening event took place on 30th March 2011, not long after the start of principal photography on The Hobbit, and the theme was 1930’s style.
I haven’t been able to find any official photos of Richard or William Kircher at the event, but it all fits. Peter Jackson is dressed as a 1930’s super hero, Rocketeer, and might that be Richard Armitage’s hand holding the hat on the right of the photo?
Here’s the link from the NZ Dominion. Here’s the photo:
[ETA – Confirmation – check out the floor in this photo. It matches the location of the photo with Richard and William]