Born an only child in a small New Zealand town, Peter Jackson began his movie-making career when his parents bought him a super 8 mm movie camera when he was eight years old. The movies, which he made with his friends, were usually short, but they already had the trademark that would make Jackson famous: impressive special effects, made at a very low cost. After the success of his first movie in 1987 (Bad Taste),Jackson became recognized as a director of horror-movies.
Eventually, Jackson learned about author J. R. R. Tolkien, after watching the first film adaptation of The Lord of the Rings, and only then did he decide to read Tolkien’s books.
“I don’t quite know what an auteur is. I’ve never quite understood that term, because filmmaking is such a huge team effort, you – I mean, I regard myself as being sort of the final filter, so everything that ends up in the movie is there, because it’s something that I’d think was cool if I saw the film that somebody else had made. I’m very much trying to make the film that I’ve enjoyed, but I’m open to ideas, I need a huge team of people to help me, everybody contributes and I try to encourage people to contribute as much as possible.”
“New Zealand is not a small country but a large village.”
[On The Lord of the Rings:] “This is a giant undertaking, but I consider this a personal film. It’s my film of a lifetime. I read the book when I was 18 years old and thought then, ‘I can’t wait till the movie comes out.’ Twenty years later, no one had done it – so I got impatient.”
On making The Lord of the Rings: “Looking back, I think we were a bit naive. At the beginning I don’t think anybody had any idea how difficult or complicated it would be. We somehow went into it thinking we could do it. And then we’ve stumbled along just taking each day at a time.”
“The most honest form of filmmaking is to make a film for yourself. The worst type is dictated by demographics or what is hip or what kids are into. Kong isn’t driven by that. No way would a studio think this is the year that people want to see a big gorilla movie. I’ve come to realize that, as much as anything, I am making this for the 9-year-old Peter.”
– Peter Jackson (1961- )
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