25 Oct 2016

Peter Jackson's new fantasy series to film in NZ

1:21 pm on 25 October 2016

New Zealand film-maker Peter Jackson has unveiled plans for a new fantasy epic, which will begin filming in New Zealand next year.

Peter Jackson

Peter Jackson will co-write with Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, while his long-time collaborator Christian Rivers will direct. Photo: AFP

Long-time collaborators Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens will co-write Mortal Engines - based on the novel by Philip Reeve - with Christian Rivers directing.

The book is the first in a four-novel series, set in a world many thousands of years in the future, with Earth's cities roaming the globe on huge wheels, devouring each other in a struggle for diminishing resources.

Production is slated to begin in New Zealand late next year.

The movie is Rivers' first major directing job, having spent the majority of his 25-year career working closely with Jackson, who is known internationally for The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

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Rivers began as a story board artist, later moving into supervising visual effects and finally serving as splinter unit director on Jackson's The Hobbit trilogy. Rivers won a visual efforts Academy Award for his work on the 2005 film King Kong. He also recently served as second unit director on the remake of Pete's Dragon.

Jackson said Rivers was one of his closest collaborators.

"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."

Jackson and Walsh have been involved with the project for several years, having optioned the rights from Scholastic in 2001.

The sci-fi/fantasy movie is the first in a planned series of films based on Reeve's novels. The series is comprised of four books: Mortal Engines, Predator's Gold, Infernal Devices and A Darkling Plain.

Jackson's next directoral effort is expected to be the next Tintin film. Since wrapping up the Hobbit trilogy in 2014, Jackson has worked on a number of projects beyond the screen, including a proposed project on Matiu Island in Wellington Harbour, a Great War exhibition, and a planned film museum in the capital.

- RNZ / Reuters

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