Sir Peter Jackson (born 31.10.1961)
Peter Jackson in a New Zealand-born film director, producer and screenwriter. He is perhaps best known for directing the film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkein's The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.
Peter Jackson: Childhood
Peter Jackson was an only child, born to Joan and William Jackson in Pukerua Bay, near Wellington, New Zealand. Both of his parents had emigrated there from England. As a child, Peter was a fan of films and television, especially Thunderbirds and Monty Python's Flying Circus. He never undertook any formal training in the art of film-making but has taught himself on a trial and error basis.
Peter Jackson: Film Career
Peter Jackson's first film was 1987's Bad Taste. The film took four years to make and grew from a short film, to a feature-length 'splatter comedy'. Many of Peter's friends worked on the film for little or no money. The crew would work on weekends, fitting the schedule around Jackson's full-time job. Thanks to some last-minute funding from the New Zealand Film Commission, Jackson was able to finish the film. He took it to Cannes, selling the rights to the film in 12 different countries.
The next of Peter Jackson's films to gain a public release was Meet the Feebles, in 1989, which featured Muppets-style puppets. The project was originally intended as a TV show but Japanese investors enabled the expansion of the project into a full-length film.
In 1992, Braindead was released. In the USA, it is known as Dead Alive. Another 'splatter movie', Braindead, along with Bad Taste, has become a cult classic.
Jackson's next movie, Heavenly Creatures was a marked departure in style for the director. Starring Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey in the lead roles, the film is based on the real-life story of two 1950s teenage murderers. The film was nominated for Best Original Screenplay at the Academy Awards.
The success of Heavenly Creatures made Jackson an attractive prospect to major film companies and Miramax signed him to a 'first-look' deal. In 1995, he made a mockumentary entitled Forgotten Silver, starring Jackson himself, as well as Sam Neill and Harvey Weinstein.
Jackson's debut big-budget Hollywood film was the comedy-horror The Frighteners. Released in 1996, the film starred Michael J Fox.
In 1997, Peter Jackson won the rights to produce a film version of J.R.R. Tolkein's Lord of the Rings trilogy. He was originally under pressure to release the production as a single film, but eventually got his own way and the trilogy was filmed as such. The first film, The Fellowship of the Ring, was a huge global success, both in the box office and with film critics. The film starred Elijah Wood, Sir Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Viggo Mortensen, Cate Blanchett and Orlando Bloom. The Fellowship of the Ring won four Academy Awards.
The sequel, The Two Towers was released in 2002 and featured largely the same cast. It became the ninth highest grossing film of all time.
Return of the King won a total of 11 Academy Awards and Peter Jackson became one of only six people to win an award for producing, writing and directing in the same year. A plan for Peter Jackson to direct another of Tolkein's works, The Hobbit, was delayed by legal wranglings. Eventually, Jackson was taken on as writer and executive producer and Guillermo Del Toro as director.
Jackson's next major project was 2005's King Kong. He was reportedly paid $20 million upfront to make the film, which starred Naomi Watts, Adrien Brody, Jack Black and Andy Serkis. King Kong eventually grossed an astounding $207 million.
Departing from his big-budget films, Peter Jackson worked on a limited-release adaptation of the Alice Sebold novel The Lovely Bones, which starred Saoirse Ronan, Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz and Susan Sarandon. The Lovely Bones was released in 2009, as was the blockbuster District 9, on which he acted as producer. District 9 is a South African science fiction film, which achieved huge box office success, despite its relatively modest budget.
Peter Jackson was also hired as one of the producers for Steven Spielberg's 2011 release of Tintin, starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Jamie Bell, Daniel Craig and Andy Serkis.
Peter Jackson: Personal Life
Peter Jackson is married to Frances Walsh, who co-writes and co-produces a number of his films.