I guess I hoped for something more exciting, but then I haven’t read Philip Reeve’s 2001 novel. In any case, Peter Jackson has finally revealed what that “secret project” was that he mentioned a short while back when he was talking about reuniting with Steven Spielberg for a Tintin sequel. Mortal Engines, and I quote Variety here:
“Takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where the Sixty Minute War saw numerous earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and other geological events damage the planet. To escape this barrage, certain cities, like London, had engines attached that raised them into the air, allowing them to not only remain intact, but also plunder less fortunate cities for resources. Although the planet has since calmed down, this cutthroat way of life from the Traction Cities (a.k.a. the mobile metropolises) continues, and to make matter worse, technological progress has halted. The story’s main protagonist, 15-year-old Tom Natsworthy, is a third class apprentice in the Guild of Historians, and with his allies, he has to figure out a mystery that could change Earth’s status quo”.
I guess it sounds decent, though I had to resist inserting in brackets “of course it does” after the word “post-apocalyptic”, and to my mind the only really good films based on a YA novel – at least of the fantastical variety – were the Hunger Games series. As for Jackson, I felt that he lost his way during his Hobbit series, and maybe he agrees as he’s not going to direct Mortal Engines. That job will instead go to his protege, Christian Rivers, whose directorial debut it will be. Jackson, though, who expressed interest in filming Mortal Engines quite a few years ago, has co-written the script with his usual collaborators Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, and will co-produce with Walsh, Boyens, Zane Weiner, Amanda Walker and Deborah Forte from Scholastic, the book’s publisher.
Mortal Engines is scheduled to begin production in New Zealand sometime in spring next year. If it’s a hit, then there are three book sequels waiting to be filmed….