He is also famous for King Kong. With his massive successes and innovative film-making, Peter Jackson is now considered, along with others such as Bryan Singer to be at the very top on the new generation of motion picture directors. Peter Jackson has even been described as the new Steven Spielberg of the present generation, and the combination of his unmatched commercial successes, along with the critical acclaim he has garnered, have made Jackson one of the most powerful film directors of the present era.
Jackson first gained attention with his "splatstick" horror comedies, and came to prominence with his critically acclaimed Heavenly Creatures, for which he shared an Academy Award nomination for Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen with Walsh. He and Walsh have two children, Billy and Katie. His parents were the late Bill and Joan Jackson, both of whom were immigrants from England.
Jackson started his career in film as a fanatical hobbyist, creating small films with simple technical means and with the help of his friends. When one of his projects, the horror comedy Bad Taste, grew over four years from the originally planned half-hour to a 90-minute feature film, Jackson and his crew took the end result to the Cannes Film Festival, 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 his native country to make films, preferring to have Hollywood come to him. This has been the genesis of several production and support companies. Most of Jackson's assets are on the Miramar Peninsula in his home town of Wellington and much of his filming occurs in and around the city. He successfully cajoled New Line Cinema into holding the world premiere of The Return of the King in the city's iconic Embassy Theatre, which he has helped restore.
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 final results across the Pacific Ocean.
A perfectionist with his film projects, Jackson demands numerous takes of every scene (with his "One more for luck"), pushes his special-effects crew to make their work seamless and invisible, and insists upon 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 requiring a significantly smaller budget than his peers.
Universal Studios signed Peter Jackson for his first film following The Lord of the Rings trilogy, a remake of the 1933 classic King Kong the film that inspired him to become a film director when he was 9 years old. He was reportedly being paid a fee of US$20 million upfront, against a 20 percent take of the total box-office gross. The film was released on December 14, 2005, with a cast that includes Oscar-nominated actress Naomi Watts, Oscar-winning actor Adrien Brody, Jack Black, Colin Hanks and Andy Serkis. The production and marketing costs of King Kong exceeded US$207 million and the final theatrical cut runs more than 3 hours. Both of these figures are far greater than those of their 1933 counterparts. However, Universal Pictures faith in Jackson turned out to be well-founded and profitable, as the worldwide tally for King Kong was around $550 Million US. Its release on home video and DVD was even bigger, as it set records for a Universal Pictures DVD in sales, even eclipsing other previous sales giants such as Jurassic Park.
His attention will now move to the film version of Alice Sebold's bestseller, The Lovely Bones, which he will be writing and directing and 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, the 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 with Warner Bros. In December of 2004, Jackson said that production on The Hobbit could be as much as four years away, which would place a likely release date in 2010.
Peter Jackson is also executive producing the game-to-film adaptation of Microsoft/Bungie's blockbuster title Halo, expected to hit theaters around mid-2007. Jackson, an avid fan of the game, has confessed to playing it regularly during breaks in filming.
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