Peter Jackson made a recent announcement on his facebook page that his next movie project will be adapting Philip Reeve’s book, Mortal Engines. The book is set in a post-apocalyptic future where cities move about on wheels, devouring smaller cities for their resources. The book is the first in a series of four books, presenting the opportunity for ‘sequels’ down the road.
The project will bring together many of the crew who worked on The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit franchises, including Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens who adapted the Mortal Engines script. The movie will be directed by Christian Rivers, the VFX master of The Hobbit. From Deadline Hollywood:
“Christian is one of my closest collaborators,” says Jackson in a statement. “The combination of emotion and jaw-dropping visuals in Mortal Engines makes this the perfect movie for his move into feature directing. What Christian intends to do with Philip Reeve’s terrific story is going to result in an original and spectacular movie. I wish I could see it tomorrow!”
The text of PJ’s facbook post is below
OUR NEXT MOVIE!
It’s been a quiet few months, but I’m very happy to tell you that our next project is now underway.
WingNut Films be producing a feature film based on Philip Reeve’s book Mortal Engines, to be directed by Christian Rivers. The script has been written by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and myself.
Some of you may recall that Christian was going to direct the Dambusters a few years back. Since then he’s kept himself busy, making short films, and directing Second Units on The Hobbit and Pete’s Dragon.
Our involvement in Mortal Engines actually pre-dates Dambusters (which is still happening) – Christian actually worked on Mortal Engines previs way back in 2009. It’s very exciting to finally get it underway!
We’ve had the rights to Philip’s book series for several years, but have had to wait for the right time to make it.
If you haven’t read the books, you should. They present a stunning look into the future, when all of Earth’s major cities are now mounted on wheels, roaming across the landscape as massive “Traction Cities”. Our society has build itself on the principals of Municipal Darwinism – this basically involves the bigger cities hunting down, and consuming, the smaller ones. And that’s only the backdrop to an original and emotional personal story.
Philip Reeve has created a range of intriguing characters, following their adventures in our strange future world through four books – “Mortal Engines”, “Predator’s Gold”, “Infernal Devices” and “A Darkling Plain”.
The moment we read these novels, we knew what exciting movies they’d make. I literally can’t wait to see them!
The movie will be financed by MRC and Universal, and shooting will get underway next March, in New Zealand. Producers Zane Weiner and Amanda Walker, who both worked on the Hobbit, will be spearheading the NZ based team, along with Deborah Forte in the US.
No casting to announce yet, but Weta Workshop and Weta Digital are both onboard.
With the wheels now rolling on Mortal Engines, I’ll bring you a lot of news and sneak peeks at what we’re doing over the coming months.
Our friends The Heirs of Durin have full scans of the September issue of Empire Magazine and their “access-all-areas” tour of the final Middle-earth movie’s post-production facility.
I’ve picked the eyes out of it and listed some highlights below (contains some minor movie spoilers), or you can follow the link below and read the article in full yourself. Thanks to Ringer Eol for the link.
The digital remaster of Braindead will be released post-The Hobbit (one for TBHL fans.
There is already a working cut of the film, with only a couple more shots to “chisel into shape”.
Without credits, the cut currently runs to 150 minutes and Jackson says he’s aiming at 140 minutes.
Jackson: “I think of this third movie as a psychological thriller with actions scenes interspersed in the middle of it. It has for a very tight narrative structure.”
Thranduil’s Warmoose will return! (Yay!!).
Line from Thranduil to Thorin: We’ve come to tell you payment of your debt has been offered… and accepted.
The orcs have all manner of creatures. Not just trolls, but creatures they have bred for their armies.
Negotiations between Thorin and Thranduil conclude abruptly when Dain Ironfoot’s “cavalry” arrives.
The dwarves are mounted on battle goats and battle rams. Dain rides a warpig.
Fairly wide-ranging interview from Deadline with Peter Jackon conducted around the time of the San Diego Comic-Con.
It actually contains little that’s new: the fact that The Dam Busters film is still on the cards will be of interest to war-buffs who remember the 1955 original. And apparently Jackson and Mortensen have chatted about those 3D comments that Viggo made to press a couple of months back, too. Something something misquote. Supposedly.
Fans of Dean O’Gorman who live in New Zealand, Australia, Canada or the UK may have already enjoyed watching him in television show The Almighty Johnsons; for fans in America, the series starts screening on Syfy this evening (Friday). Ringer Kiwifan in Germany loves the show, and wants to share her passion with you! Here’s what she had to say:
“This Friday evening, July 11, NZ tv show The Almighty Johnsons, starring Dean O’Gorman as Anders Johnson (Bragi), will have its U.S. premiere on the Syfy channel. The series, which ran for three seasons on television in New Zealand, Canada, Australia and the UK, garnered several awards and gained fans worldwide. Incidentally, the eldest Johnson brother, Mike, is played by Tim Balme who first became known for his starring role in Peter Jackson’s film Braindead (aka Dead Alive). Balme also wrote several of the episodes of The Almighty Johnsons. Continue reading “Dean O’Gorman in The Almighty Johnsons – starts in the US TONIGHT”
Beginning this Friday, The American Cinematheque is screening a mini-festival of dark coming-of-age stories — including Peter Jackson’s Heavenly Creatures.
Entertainment Weekly writer Anthony Breznican is curating the film fest, and Jackson’s 1994 tale of friendship gone bad screens at the Aero Theater in Santa Monica this Friday. Star Melanie Lynskey will join a guest.
Breznican says he chose the film because Jackson created an haunting tale of friendship that simultaneously saves and then destroys two young girls.
While this is a true story, it’s an extreme one — but we can all relate to those friends we had who brought out both our strong side and our bad side. The kind of friend your mother doesn’t like you hanging out with. Doesn’t that make you want to see that friend even more?
Heavenly Creatures is remarkable for how much ground it covers. It has dark humor, deep love, tragedy, resistance, defiance, and gritty realism — but it also ventures off into the realm of fantasy and imagination. This movie was made long before Jackson ventured into the world of J.R.R. Tolkien, but it illustrates the power that fantasy can provide when we are feeling weak or lost.
I remember being stunned by the clay kingdom of the Fourth World, where Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey’s characters make their escape. To me, storytelling and fantasy are such potent forces because in a life where we often feel helpless or unseen, our imaginations can help us rediscover what heroism and courage really mean. Sometimes those stories — be it Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, the Marvel universe, or Star Wars — help us find those qualities in ourselves.
Other times, there’s the danger that escapism might take us too far. We can become closed off and lose ourselves in other worlds, then find ourselves crushed by the disappointments of reality. That’s what happens in Heavenly Creatures, and it is mesmerizing, terrifying, and stunning to behold.