Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh (The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies) are making the sci-fi feature Mortal Engines, based on the award winning book series of the same name from British author Philip Reeve.
Jackson and Walsh have co-written the screenplay with collaborator Philippa Boyens (The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies). Christian Rivers is attached to direct. Rivers has spent the majority of his 25-year career working closely with Jackson, beginning as a Story Board Artist, later moving into supervising visual effects and finally serving as Splinter Unit Director on The Hobbit trilogies. Rivers won an Academy Award for his work on the 2005 film, King Kong (Best Achievement in Visual Effects). He also recently served as second unit director on the remake of Pete’s Dragon. Mortal Engines is his first project as Director.
“Christian is one of my closest collaborators,” says Jackson, “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!”
“’Mortal Engines’ is one of those stories that was made for the big screen,” says Rivers. “A fantastical, futuristic world that has to be seen to be believed. At its heart though, it’s a beautiful love story and a richly complex character driven adventure. To be the director who gets to bring Philip Reeve’s incredible universe to life is a dream come true.”
“I’m thrilled that Christian, Fran, Philippa and Peter are bringing my book to the screen,” said Philip Reeve. “They’ve created some of the most memorable imaginary worlds in modern cinema, so I can’t wait to experience their vision of the world of ‘Mortal Engines.’”
Mortal Engines 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 has been announced, but Weta Workshop and Weta Digital are both onboard.