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Peter Jackson talks ‘Hobbit: BotFA’ and all Middle-earth with

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Susie Amos, James Cameron, Peter Jackson


Jackson has some pretty interesting peers. He travels in interesting circles with, for example, Stephen Spielberg and James Cameron. The three of them have left permanent footprints in not just film, but culture. They also have made many billions of dollars and won a lot of awards.

Each has pushed the boundaries of digital characters. Spielberg made us believe dinosaurs were real in “Jurassic Park,” and that film has earned that praise from Jackson, who in then in turn delivered Gollum. Cameron took him and made giant blue aliens on a completely new planet in “Avatar.”

Executive Producer Steven Spielberg & Director Peter JacksonAre there common threads that run through such people?

“Yeah, kind of. Getting to know other filmmakers has been a real joy over the last, I suppose, 25 years. Most of the filmmakers I’ve seen, I’ve got to meet and got to know are, we all are kind of similar to each other. We all like a lot of same things. I mean, we’re basically big geeks, big kids.

“Jim’s a little bit more of scientist than some of us, he’s more of a physicist, but he’s still a big geek and Steven is a big geek and they’re kids at heart. They honestly are. There’s not a lot of cynicism and kind of ruthlessness with these people. They’re kind-hearted and creative and quite child-like still and I consider myself to be that in some respects. And it’s a good thing. I think that’s what allows filmmakers like that to tap into their imaginations and not feel self-conscious about it and try to use the excitement of what they’re imagining to pass on to other people, to generate the films that they make.”


What does Jackson think Jackson does or is that allows him to make these films?

Jackson3“You’ve got to remain reasonably patient, you’ve got to remain reasonably calm, you’ve got to really be an example. It’s just trying to be a good boss really and I don’t always succeed in that.

“I can get a little impatient and annoyed when things aren’t quite working out properly.”

From my five weeks of my observation, this never happened. I never saw him outwardly impatient or annoyed and while I believe him, I suspect it is rare. His calm prevails, very unlike some other great directors. I can reluctantly imagine it in a meeting when things aren’t going well but I can’t conceive it happening on a set in front of the crew.

“You kind of try to just — you try to set a tone. If there was a guy in this tent who was screaming and yelling and calling people’s names and swearing at people, then you know, the mood out there would be a very different mood and the atmosphere coming to work each day would be different.

“A lot of the tone of any work environment is made by the people that are in charge. I think it’s important you’ve got to try and set a tone that allows everyone to do their very best work, because they’re all here, all of these people are here to try to help to make the film as good as it can possibly be. They’re all here to help me and so I never want to abuse that. I never want to expect things they can’t deliver but I always want to try and encourage and push them to the maximum.”

That attribute is the thing I admire most from watching him work. He isn’t a pushover by any means. He is demanding and sub-par or good enough is never good enough. I watched him send shots back that had been worked on very hard and were thought to be excellent but were sent back to be done again. Jackson doesn’t compromise his standards, but he also doesn’t compromise his quest to be a good boss.

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