The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit director Peter Jackson is picking up the pen this time to co-write MORTAL ENGINES with his Middle Earth team Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens at Universal. The film, which is being envisioned as the start of a franchise, will be directed by Christian Rivers, who previously has done story board, visual effects, and second unit directing jobs on films like The Hobbit, King Kong, and most recently Pete’s Dragon.
The book the film will be based on is the first in a series of four novels by Philip Reeve: Mortal Engines, Predator’s Gold, Infernal Devices, and A Darkling Plain. Set many years in the future, Earth is now comprised of cities who travel the planet as steampunk-like vehicles, competing for diminishing resources.
Tom Natsworthy is the lead character and when he meets a mysterious woman from the Outlands, the course of his life is definitively altered. The series has won several 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.
Jackson and Walsh first acquired the rights to the series from Scholastic in 2001. They will also produce alongside Boyens, Zane Weiner, Amanda Walker, and Deborah Forte. Ken Kamins is set to executive produce. Jon Mone is overseeing for Universal.
Jackson most recently directed The Hobbit trilogy, following his massive rise to fame with The Lord of the Rings trilogy. He’ll also be directing The True Story of John/Joan and an untitled project at Amblin.
Walsh has worked with Jackson since the start of both their careers. She is also set to write The True Story of John/Joan.
Other than her work on both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, Boyens co-produced District 9, King Kong, and The Lovely Bones, the two latter of which she wrote as well. She is also working on the current draft of Disney’s upcoming Merlin film.
Jackson, Walsh, and Boyens are repped by Key Creatives.
Anya Crittenton | Associate Editor