An eagle-eyed film fan thought he was seeing double when he spotted the latest poster for Peter Jackson’s big screen adaptation of The Hobbit.
The teaser image, just released in movie magazine Total Film, shows wizard Gandalf – played by Sir Ian McKellen – striding through JRR Tolkien’s mythical Shire.
But for Gazette reader Phil Murray, it all looked a bit too familiar and not at all like New Zealand, where the forthcoming film has been shot.
In fact, the backdrop proved to be none other than the view from Corby Crag, above Alnwick, looking west towards Edlingham Castle and the Simonside Hills.
And to eliminate any doubt, even the old Alnwick to Wooler railway viaduct can clearly be seen in the atmospheric artwork, as can the ruined keep.
Jackson – who directed the smash-hit Lord of the Rings trilogy – is set to release the first part of his eagerly-anticipated prequel this December.
“When I saw the poster, I immediately thought it looked familiar to Edlingham Castle,” said Phil, from Rothbury. “I didn’t think any more about it until I picked up this month’s copy of Total Film, which had an A3-sized poster of the image inside.
“The level of detail in such a large version of the picture piqued my curiosity and I dived onto my computer to hunt for a picture I’d taken of the castle a couple of summers ago to see if my hunch was correct.
“I was stunned when it matched up perfectly – even the field boundaries immediately around the castle were the same in the poster as in real life.
“As you can see in the poster, the silhouette of the castle, the viaduct and even the field boundaries immediately around those landmarks marry up perfectly with the photo of the castle. The only thing missing from The Hobbit poster are the houses dotted around.
“Quite why they chose to base the image on Edlingham Castle is anyone’s guess, but it’s funny to think that a little bit of Northumberland will forever be Middle Earth.”
The poster was officially launched in the US in July, ahead of Comic-Con.
Alnwick Playhouse will screen The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey from Tuesday, December 18 to 22.