New Zealand Film Team Transforms London
The bestselling book by Peter Reeve, Mortal Engines, is now being adapted for film by Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson, with visual effects specialist New Zealander Christian Rivers directing the project and Jackson serving as co-writer and producer.
Filming wrapped up last month in New Zealand and is currently in post-production, with a slated release of December 2018.
“The book started out as your standard post-apocalyptic thing,” Reeve recalls, “but with a sort of odd retro-futuristic and rather English flavour. I think it was supposed to be like a very English action movie.”
Originally published in 2001, the film rights to Mortal Engines quickly started circulating the desks of Hollywood executives. Jackson eventually brought the option outright, though it would be over a decade after the book’s debut before the movie progressed any further. Then a year and a half ago Reeve received an email from Jackson, announcing that production was underway.
“I was suspicious at first actually,” Reeve says. “Rumours about the project had slipped out a few years ago and from time to time people would pop up on Twitter asking me about whether Peter was adapting my book. Of course all I could say was ‘Oh I don’t suppose so’ and ‘you mustn’t believe everything you read on the internet ha ha ha’. So when the email came through it occurred to me that maybe this wasn’t Peter at all but someone fishing for information.”
The message was genuine and in May Reeve got the chance to watch some of the shoot in Wellington. The experience seemed unreal at times. “You’d see all these people going about creating these incredibly detailed sets and acting out something I’d made up in my head years ago. There was a scene I saw with a character called Anna Fang [played by South Korea-born singer Jihae]. She had this long red trench coat and jet black hair and was sitting in this rusty aviators bar; because everything else had all these muted earth tones the contrast made her really stand out. It was pretty much exactly how I’d originally pictured it, so when I saw it I thought, ‘That’s me! I did that!’”
Original article by James Dyson, Wired, September 11, 2017.