When Peter Jackson announces his involvement in a new film – particularly one with franchise potential – that project quickly becomes highly anticipated. Thanks to his groundbreaking work on The Lord Of The Rings series, King Kong, and The Hobbit trilogy, Jackson is rightly hailed as a visionary creator of fantasy-adventure fare. For this reason, Mortal Engines is at the top of many watchlists, and so the latest casting announcements are big news.
Robert Sheehan (Fortitude) will apparently take a leading role in Jackson’s latest production, while Ronan Raftery (Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them) will play a supporting character. These two actors are just the tip of an as-yet-unrevealed iceberg, however, as the source material for Mortal Engines is an epic Young Adult fiction quadrilogy. It falls into the category of ‘dystopian future’ stories, but this one lends itself to Peter Jackson’s penchant for visual effects more than most.
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Written by Philip Reeve, the Mortal Engines series is set within a steampunk vision of the future, when cities, such as London, have been transformed into Traction Cities – giant, wheeled mechanisms that can travel and cannibalize smaller conurbations for their resources. In the first book, an apprentice averts an assassination attempt, and consequently becomes embroiled in a mystery much bigger than himself – involving beloved public figures and political corruption.
Peter Jackson will co-produce and co-write the script with Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens. The film will be directed by Christian Rivers, who effectively receives a promotion here, having worked as second-unit director on The Hobbit trilogy, as well as collaborating in various ways on previous Jackson productions. Mortal Engines will begin filming in New Zealand sometime in spring 2017, with the intention of meeting the already scheduled release date of December 14th, 2018 – and we’ll be watching closely for further announcements as the production progresses.