Peter Jackson

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Peter Jackson in Wellington (New Zealand)

Peter Jackson CNZM is a film writer, director and producer born in Pukerua Bay, New Zealand to Bill and Joan Jackson on October 31, 1961. He first gained attention with his "splatstick" horror comedies, and came to prominence with his movie Heavenly Creatures, for which he shared an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen with Fran Walsh. Jackson is currently best-known as the director of the epic film trilogy, The Lord of the Rings, based on the books by J. R. R. Tolkien. He and his wife Fran Walsh have two children, Billy and Katie.



Jackson started his career in film as a fanatical hobbyist, creating small movies with simple technical means and with the help of a couple of friends. When one of his projects, the horror comedy Bad Taste, over a period of four years grew from the originally planned half-hour to a 90-minute feature film, Jackson and his crew took the end result to the film festival in Cannes, received critical acclaim and sold the rights to twelve countries. This allowed him to start a professional career as a film director.

Unlike some other New Zealand film directors, Jackson has remained in New Zealand to make films, preferring to have Hollywood come to him, rather than going to Hollywood to make his films. In the process he has set up or acquired a number of local businesses in order to support film production at home basing himself in Miramar, New Zealand. He was an early user of computer enhancement technology and provided digital special effects to a number of Hollywood films by use of telecommunications and satellite links to transmit raw images and the enhanced results across the Pacific Ocean, making good use of time differences between New Zealand and North America.

Although appearing casual and relaxed, inevitably dressing in his trademark baggy shorts and without shoes, Jackson is a perfectionist with his film projects. He demands countless takes of every scene (with his "One more for luck"), pushes his special-effects crew to make their work seamless and invisible, and insists in authenticity in miniatures even on the sides that never appear in a film. On the other hand, many of his most beautiful scenes result from purely serendipitous shots taken while flying from one location to another. Despite this perfectionism, he has a reputation for needing significantly less budget than his peers to achieve spectacular results.

Universal Studios has signed Peter Jackson for his next film, a remake of the 1933 classic King Kong — the film that inspired him to become a film director when he was 8 years old. He is reportedly being paid a fee of US$20 million upfront, plus 20% take of the total box-office gross. As of 2004, this would make him the highest-paid motion picture director in history. The film has a scheduled release of December 14, 2005, and has a cast that includes Oscar-nominated actress Naomi Watts, Oscar-winning actor Adrien Brody, Jack Black, Colin Hanks and Andy Serkis.

After King Kong, he will be writing and directing the film version of Alice Sebold's bestseller The Lovely Bones, which he has said will be a welcome relief from the larger-scale epics and bears some similarities to Heavenly Creatures.

Much speculation has occurred as to whether Jackson might direct a film of The Hobbit, prequel to The Lord of the Rings. His comments to date seem to indicate that he is interested, if the studios can work out the rights. Late in 2004 it appeared unlikely, as MGM (the studio, which holds the rights to The Hobbit) was sold to Sony in the race between Warner Brothers in December of 2004. Jackson said that production on "The Hobbit" will take at least three or four years, which would place a likely release date in 2010.

Jackson won three Academy Awards for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King:


See also

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