Sir Peter Jackson and his Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit team have found their next movie – and possibly another franchise.
Jackson, his wife Fran Walsh and their longtime collaborator Philippa Boyens will co-write the film Mortal Engines, based on an award-winning series of British sci fi / fantasy children’s books.
Christian Rivers, who began working with Jackson when he was 17, will direct the movie. It’s his first major directing job in a 25-year career that includes working on the Lord of the Rings series, The Hobbit trilogy and the recently released remake of Pete’s Dragon.
Rivers won an Oscar for visual effects on King Kong and made an unforgettable contribution to Lord of the Rings – his wedding ring was the model for the One Ring.
Production is slated to begin in New Zealand early next year.
The makers plan a series of movies based on British author Philip Reeve’s four books Mortal Engines, Predator’s Gold, Infernal Devices and A Darkling Plain.
They are set many thousands of years in the future. Earth’s cities now roam the globe on huge wheels, devouring each other in a struggle for ever-diminishing resources.
On one of these massive Traction Cities, Tom Natsworthy has an unexpected encounter with a mysterious young woman from the Outlands who will change the course of his life forever.
Mortal Engines books have won several awards including the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize and the LA Times Book Award.
It’s the first time that Jackson, Walsh and Boyens have worked on a film which Jackson will not direct.
“Peter, Fran, Philippa and Christian are all visionary storytellers with the gift of turning their passion projects into beloved blockbusters for a worldwide audience,” said Donna Langley, chairman of Universal Pictures.
“The studio is proud of our longstanding relationship with MRC and these tremendous filmmakers, and we are looking forward to collaborating on this cinematic re-imagination of Philip’s bold and fantastical novel.”