Fantastic work here by Ringer spy Arathorn II, who translated the interview with Peter Jackson that aired on France’s Canal + which will be available on their website tomorrow, but meanwhile here is what was said.

“The interview begins with a short presentation of movies made by PJ: Braindead, Heavenly Creatures, Forgotten Silver… Then the interview begins (PJ being probably a bit stressed, or amazed by the reaction, if it’s not just simple jetlag).

I(sabelle): We’re very glad to introduce to you Peter Jackson, director from New Zealand. Good evening. It’s a great honor to meet you.

PJ: Hi.

I: It’s true that, with some others on the set, we’re overjoyed because you’re a big legend for some of us. True, now you don’t sound very familiar to the general public, but this shouldn’t last for long, since that, thanks to you, we’ll discover at the end of the year the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The first episode will be released in December 2001, in a few months.

P(hilippe): Then it’ll be in 2002 and 2003.

I: We had the pleasure to discover some 20 minutes of it. Given the feeling of this afternoon’s screening, if I tell you now that to receive you is a bit like receiving George Lucas in 1977 just before Star Wars release, I imagine you’ll be delighted by the comparison?

PJ: Oh yeah, it’s great to be back at Cannes, you know, for me. One of the outstanding events of my life was to come here with my first movie, Bad Taste, some 13 years ago. And what’s pretty weird is that, as you pointed to, for the LOTR screening the reaction was a bit like the one for the Bad Taste screening 13 years ago. So it’s good to be back in the same theatre.

P: So you’ve made Meet the Feebles, one of the most deliciously disgusting movies I ever saw, Bad Taste you showed here in 1988, and now here’s the LOTR trailer, after which you’ll tell us 2 or 3 things to understand Tolkien’s universe….”

[Theatre teaser – dubbed in French, with an awful Galadriel (voice) I definitely hope they’ll change for the real stuff.]
Back to studio, short chat with the other guest, back to PJ.

I: LOTR, before it was a movie, was a big literature phenomenon…

P: It’s a bit less read than the Bible, but just a little bit less.

I: Give us 2 or 3 keys to understand what it is about?

PJ: Well, the story of the Lord of the Rings. First, it’s 3 books. And I think one of the reasons why it took 45 years before someone made a movie of it is because many people wanted to but didn’t know how to make 1 movie from 3 books; it’s practically impossible. And we had the luck of making 3 different movies, so we shot the 3 books from beginning til the end, 274 days of shooting without any stop. So it’s 3 movies we’ll release one after the other.
It’s a fantasy mystical movie.
The characters, the hobbits, are appr. 1.5 m high [?? wrong conversion of 3’6″ ??], and they come into possession of an incredibly dangerous Ring, that it has an enormous evil power. And there’s just one place where it can be destroyed, that is some 2’500-3’000 km from there. And they have to make this travel through this very dangerous world.
The Fellowship of the Ring is a group of people that tries to help the Hobbits to make this travel.
So, it’s an epic movie.

I: You make my mouth water.
P: So there was the screening this morning, which was very popular. We gathered not-even-contrasted opinions.

Follow various comments by various French and foreign people that attended the screening:
– It’s hard to find words; it’s exceptional, it’s wonderful, there are incredible SFX!
– It’s an incredible adventure!
– It’s absolutely fantastic!
– Audacious!
– It’s wonderful!
– It’s powerful, it’s impressive, it shows great promises.
– It’s wonderful, it’s magic, it’s poetic, it’s…
– I can’t wait to see the rest!
– It’s extraordinary!
– It’s the best thing I’ve seen since a long time.
– There’s in my opinion one of the biggest babe I ever saw, Viggo Mortensen.
– It’s intense, very intense.
– I think that Steven Spielberg and George Lucas will be very disappointed they didn’t make that movie.

Back to interview:

I: That’s it, an eagerly awaited movie, with as much marketing as movie-making. Is there a big pressure on your shoulders, Peter Jackson?

PJ: Well, it’s fantastic to have such a reaction, frankly. You know, the movie release is only in 6 months, we’ve worked for 2 years on it. So it’s the very first time anyone saw anything from this movie [Complete scene with finished SFX, I assume]. And after such a work from everyone at the set, it’s fantastic to have a feedback and to see that people like it. It’s a great incentive because I have to go back to NZ on Monday and to work again on edition, so to be here and to have such a reaction is really something that gives me energy to go back to New Zealand and go on with my work.

P: See you all at the end of this year, then in 2002 and 2003. There was the epic shooting of Apocalypse Now, now there’s the epic shooting of LOTR. But you didn’t become crazy, unlike Coppola; though all is not as it appears.
Thank you very much to have come to the studio.

PJ: Thank you.