Way back in 2009, we reported that Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit director Peter Jackson was developing an adaptation of the beloved Mortal Engines novel, and now it’s finally coming to fruition. Peter Jackson is teaming up with Universal Pictures and Media Rights Capital to produce this movie with his Lord of the Rings and Hobbit collaborators Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, although Peter Jackson will not take the helm. Instead, Christian Rivers, who has worked as a visual effects supervisor for Peter Jackson’s Weta Digital, will make his feature directorial debut. Here’s what Peter Jackson had to say in a statement.
“Christian is one of my 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. I wish I could see it tomorrow!”
Deadline reports that Media Rights Capital and Universal Pictures will co-finance, with production slated to begin next spring in New Zealand. Peter Jackson co-wrote the screenplay adaptation with Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens. Here’s what Donna Langley, Chairman of Universal Pictures, had to say in her statement.
“Peter, Fran, Philippa and Christian are all visionary storytellers with the gift of turning their passion projects into beloved blockbusters for a worldwide audience. 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.”
First published in 2001 by Scholastic, Reeve’s Mortal Engines books have won several prestigious awards including the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, the Los Angeles Times Book Award, the Smarties Gold Award and Blue Peter Book of the Year. Mortal Engines is set in a world 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. Here’s what author Phillip Reeve had to say in his statement.
“I’m thrilled that Christian, Fran, Philippa and Peter are bringing my book to the screen. 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.”
Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh will produce alongside Zane Weiner (The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies), Amanda Walker (The Hobbit) and Deborah Forte (The Golden Compass, Goosebumps). Ken Kamins (The Hobbit trilogy, District 9, Jack Reacher) will executive produce, while Philippa Boyens serves as co-producer. Based on the first novel Mortal Engines, the film is a Sci-Fi/Fantasy and is the first in a planned series of films based on Philip Reeve’s novels. The series is comprised of four books: Mortal Engines, Predator’s Gold, Infernal Devices and A Darkling Plain.