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Peter Jackson Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trade Mark (14) | Trivia (53) | Personal Quotes (28) | Salary (2)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 31 October 1961Pukerua Bay, North Island, New Zealand
Nicknames PJ
Pete
Height 5' 6½" (1.69 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Peter Jackson was born as an only child in a small coast-side town in New Zealand in 1961. When a friend of his parents bought him a super 8 movie camera (because she saw how much he enjoyed taking photos), the then eight-year-old Peter instantly grabbed the thing to start recording his own movies, which he made with his friends. They were usually short, but they already had the trademark that would make Jackson famous: impressive special effects, made at a very low cost. For example, for his film "World War Two" which he made as a teenager, he used to simulate a firing gun by punching little holes into the celluloid, so that, once projected, the gun gave the impression of displaying a small fire. Jackson's first step towards more serious film-making came with an entry in a local contest to stimulate amateur and children's films. For this film, he used stop-motion animation to create a monster that ruins a city in the style of Ray Harryhausen. Unfortunately, he didn't win. At twenty-two, he embarked on a movie-making adventure that would change his life. This film, Bad Taste (1987), was begun as any other Jackson film, in an amateur style, at a low budget and using friends and local people to star in his film. Jackson himself did nearly everything in the movie; he directed, produced, filmed and starred in it, in a number of roles, amongst them that of the hero, "Derek". And everything was filmed on a second-hand, $250 camera. It took Jackson and his friends four years to complete the movie. What had started as a joke in a group of friends, then became a cult classic. A friend of Jackson who was working in the movie industry convinced him the film had commercial prospects and arranged for it to be shown at the Cannes film festival, where it won a lot of acclaim, as well as a number of prizes. The movie soon became a hit because of its bizarre humor and overdose of special effects, some realistic, some comedically amateur. After the success of Bad Taste (1987), Jackson became recognized as a director and the door to fame and fortune was opened. He gave up his job at a local photographer's shop and became a well-known director of horror-movies, after the success of his first professionally made movie, Dead Alive (1992).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: T. van der Sluijs

Spouse (1)

Fran Walsh (1987 - present) (2 children)

Trade Mark (14)

His films frequently conclude with a bloodbath, e.g.: the lawnmower with the zombies in Dead Alive (1992), and the murder of Honora Parker in Heavenly Creatures (1994).
Frequently set his movies in Wellington, New Zealand
Likes to make cameo appearances in his movies: the morgue assistant in Dead Alive (1992), the homeless man in Heavenly Creatures (1994), the dude in The Frighteners (1996), the drunk in _The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)_, the guy throwing a spear in Helm's Deep in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002), and the Corsair Leader in _The Lord of The Rings: The Return of the King (2003)_.
Always writes his scripts with his real-life partner Fran Walsh
In his movies, there's frequently a fake documentary: the Christchurch footage in Heavenly Creatures (1994), The Murders & Psychos documentary in The Frighteners (1996), the Colin McKenzie biopic in _Forgotten Silver (1995)_, and _Lord of The Piercing (2002)_ (on _The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)_ Region 1 extended edition DVD).
In his movies, frequently there are axes: the Whitey Alien's axe in Bad Taste (1987), the explorers' axe in Dead Alive (1992), the Diello's axe in Heavenly Creatures (1994), the executioner's axe in _Forgotten Silver (1995)_, the Reaper's axe in The Frighteners (1996), and Gimli's axe in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001).
Has an interest in matricide (Derek is "born-again" in the ending of Bad Taste (1987), Sidney kills his wife and mother of his son in _Meet the Feebles (1990)_, Lionel Cosgrove kills his mother in Dead Alive (1992), Pauline Rieper kills her mother in Heavenly Creatures (1994), and Patricia Ann Bradley kills her mother in The Frighteners (1996).
Frequently wears shorts, even in freezing cold weather
Frequently casts Andy Serkis and Jed Brophy
Well known on-set for insisting on lots of coverage (filming the scene from many different angles), his attention to detail, and being a bit of a perfectionist, especially on the "Lord of the Rings" films, where he would spend days shooting a single scene.
Often films close-ups using wide angles
Beard
Darkly humorous scenes of violence
Enormous visual scope with emphasis on landscape

Trivia (53)

Owns two houses in Wellington, New Zealand.
Made the latex models for Bad Taste (1987) in his mom's kitchen oven, often forcing the family to have sausages for dinner because they couldn't use the oven.
Owner of production companies WingNut Films, Weta Limited and Three Foot Six.
Father of Billy Jackson and Katie Jackson.
Collects models of airplanes from World War One.
During filming of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), he used the same pair of shoes and only two T-shirts.
He likes 1960s music his favorites are The Beatles (he paid homage to them in Bad Taste (1987)).
After his parents, Bill and Joan, died, Jackson inherited the modest Pukerua Bay house where he grew up.
The stuff in the bowl, in his first movie Bad Taste (1987), was yoghurt, muesli and green food colouring.
In 1998, he bought the New Zealand based film company National Film Unit.
Credits his favorite movie King Kong (1933) as his biggest inspiration in filmmaking. He said that he cried when King Kong fell off the Empire State Building.
The movie that gave him the love for splatter is George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead (1978). After seeing it, he felt a bit sick but amazed too.
Together with his partner Fran Walsh, he received the honorary graduation from Massey University [November 2001]
He and Fran Walsh, were both awarded Companion of the Order of New Zealand Merit on March 5, 2002 for their services to the film industry.
He left school at the age of 17 and started working on a Wellington newspaper.
For his first movie, Bad Taste (1987), he did all the special effects, the make-up effects and built exact replicas of the weapons.
He allegedly offered $150,000 to Aint-it-cool webmaster Harry Jay Knowles for his King Kong (1933) original poster.
Started writing a re-make of King Kong (1933) in 1996, which went through several drafts, until in 2003 he made one that was greenlighted by Universal.
Ranked #20 in Premiere's 2003 annual Power 100 List. Had ranked #41 in 2002.
Voted 'Man of the Year 2002' in the Australian Empire Magazine March 2003.
Both of his parents died during production of The Lord of the Rings.
Met Fran Walsh in 1987, during post-production for the gross-out cult classic Bad Taste (1987).
Nominated for a Best Director Academy Award for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) (which he won), but not for The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002).
The London Daily Mail reported (December 5, 2003) that Jackson was so fond of King Kong (1933) that he once cut up his mother's old fur coat and used it to make a model of the great ape; also that he consulted with Andy Serkis on the script of his version of the movie.
Has worked with three generations of Astins: John Astin (The Frighteners (1996)); John's son, Sean Astin (The Lord of The Rings Trilogy); and Sean's daughter, Alexandra Astin (The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)).
Ranked #6 in Premiere's 2004 annual Power 100 List. Had ranked #20 in 2003. He is the second-highest rated director on the list, behind only Steven Spielberg.
The copies of the "Lord of the Rings" books that he referred to during filming are the ones that he bought after seeing The Lord of the Rings (1978). The books have cover art by Ralph Bakshi.
Has been referred to by Fran Walsh as being a hobbit himself, due to his physical stature, his tendency to go barefoot, and the fact that he is swarthy (in Walsh's words, "furry").
Estimated earnings from the 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy come close to $125 million.
Along with his wife Fran Walsh, he was one of three husband/wife teams to be nominated for an Oscar for the 2003 season, the others were Michael McKean and his wife, Annette O'Toole and Shari Springer Berman and her husband Robert Pulcini. Jackson and Walsh won Oscars while the other couples walked out of the award with no Oscars.
Three of his collaborators have had connections to the material being filmed, outside the context of the film being made. Ian Holm, whom he cast as "Bilbo" in "The Lord of the Rings", was cast because he had played "Frodo" in the BBC radio adaptation. That adaptation was written by Brian Sibley, who is a cousin of his wife, Fran Walsh. In Heavenly Creatures (1994), Kate Winslet plays "Juliet Hulme", who would later be known as real-life mystery novelist Anne Perry. Winslet has a sister, Anna Winslet, who appears as "Dora" in The Cater Street Hangman (1998), which was based on one of Perry's novels.
Is among an elite group of 7 directors who have won Best Picture, Best Director & Best Screenplay (Orig/Adapted) for the same film. In 2004 he won all three for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003). The other directors are Billy Wilder, Leo McCarey, Francis Ford Coppola, James L. Brooks and Joel Coen and Ethan Coen (the brothers co-produced, co-directed and co-wrote No Country for Old Men (2007) with each other).
Crowned the most powerful man in Hollywood by ranking #1 on Premiere's 2005 Power 50 List. It is his first #1 ranking. Had ranked #6 in 2004.
Ranked #7 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Greatest directors ever!" [2005]
Lost 70 lbs. during the production of King Kong (2005).
No longer needs glasses after undergoing eye surgery during the making of King Kong (2005).
Described the production of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy as "laying the tracks down in front of the train" as it was moving forward.
Ranked #11 on Premiere's 2006 "Power 50" list. Had ranked #1 in 2005.
Is a fan of Doctor Who (1963), and has used the screen name Xoanon, taken from the Doctor Who story "The Face of Evil.".
One of few directors to be offered the chance of writing and directing sequels to many famous horror franchises. He was offered Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990), Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991), Freddy vs. Jason (2003), I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998), Exorcist: The Beginning (2004), Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995), Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (1992) and Child's Play 3 (1991).
2007 - Ranked #16 on EW's The 50 Smartest People in Hollywood.
To acquaint actors who had not read the books with the story, he used the BBC Radio version of The Lord of the Rings, which starred Ian Holm. He ended up using Holm as Bilbo in the films.
He was awarded Knight Companion of the Order of New Zealand for his services to the film industry in the 2010 Queen's New Years Honours List.
His five favorite films, according to Rotten Tomatoes, are King Kong (1933), Dawn of the Dead (2004), Jaws (1975), Goodfellas (1990) and The General (1926).
Recovering in a Wellington, New Zealand hospital after undergoing emergency surgery to repair a perforated ulcer [January 27, 2011].
Has directed 2 actors in Oscar-nominated performances: Ian McKellen, and Stanley Tucci.
In the Lord of the Rings films, he cast Ian Holm as Bilbo because he had previously played Frodo in the BBC Radio adaptation, thus allowing Holm to have played the heroes of both of Tolkien's major works. In The Hobbit trilogy, Benedict Cumberbatch plays both Smaug and The Necromancer, a character later revealed to be Sauron, thus allowing Cumberbatch to have played both major villains.
Is a huge fan of ''Doctor Who''.
In Wellington, New Zealand filming "The Hobbit" films. [March 2011]
In Pennsylvania filming The Lovely Bones (2009). [November 2007]
In New Zealand filming King Kong (2005). [January 2004]
Peter Jackson is the third director (after James Cameron and Christopher Nolan) to have released two films that have grossed $1 billion worldwide during their run. His films were The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Personal Quotes (28)

New Zealand is not a small country but a large village.
What I don't like are pompous, pretentious movies.
On Meet the Feebles (1989): "I have a moronic sense of humour."
On horror: "I don't take stuff seriously. I saw 'Hellraiser 3' the other day at Cannes; it's OK, it's a good film, I didn't hate it or anything. I thought it was quite good, but it was all just so serious. Some guy walking round with pins sticking out of his face. I just can't sit there and think ,'this is really scary.' If I made a 'Hellraiser' film, I'd like Pinhead to be whacked against a wall and have all the pins flattened into his face. I immediately start thinking of funny things and gags - that's just the way I am. I doubt I could ever control myself sufficiently to make a serious horror film."
[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."
'Return of the King' is the most enjoyable because in the structure of the movies, it is nothing other than pay-off, there is no more setting up to do, no more exposition, no more introducing characters. The pay-off is very character-based. It is action-orientated as well, but all of our characters have been pushed to a point where their life and death depends on what happens in the third movie. It is very emotional, and from an actors point of view it is very enjoyable to work on, because they were able to play some pretty intense drama. From my point of view it was always great, because we were heading toward an ending, a climax which we never had in the other two.
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."
I think that George Lucas's 'Star Wars' films are fantastic. What he's done, which I admire, is he has taken all the money and profit from those films and poured it into developing digital sound and surround sound, which we are using today. He got ILM started and they developed all the computer technology we use. George Lucas is incredible. He has made a huge difference to the way films are made now. And he has used his money on things that benefit every filmmaker who gets films produced. I respect that a lot.
To get an Oscar would be an incredible moment in my career, there is no doubt about that. But the 'Lord of the Rings' films are not made for Oscars, they are made for the audience.
I always trusted him. If there was a way that I had seen something and he had seen it differently, I would ... trust his vision. We were in brilliant hands. -- Elijah Wood on filming "Lord of the Rings," December 14, 2003.
We made a promise to ourselves at the beginning of the process that we weren't going to put any of our own politics, our own messages or our own themes into these movies. What we were trying to do was to analyze what was important to Tolkien and to try to honor that. In a way, we were trying to make these films for him, not for ourselves.
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.
Don't worry. Gollum isn't going to be another Jar Jar Binks.
(on the 1976 remake of King Kong): "I was 15 when that film came out. I took the day off school, went into Wellington and was first in line to see it. It was a disappointment because I wanted it to have stop-motion animation, dinosaurs and the Empire State Building. I didn't like the updating of it, and it has dated very badly. I watched it again a year or so ago. I thought Jeff Bridges was excellent, John Barry's score was very good, and Rick Baker did a sterling job in that very heavy monkey suit he was wearing. But it was kind of kitsch and it wasn't the Kong that I saw when I was nine."
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. I think that's the job of a director really, is to sort of funnel all the creative into one centralized point of view. And the marketing is sort of something that really happens with other people, it's not something that I'm at all an expert in, and I regard my job at the end of the day as to make the best possible film I can, and that's really where my job stops and marketing people take over after that.
No film has captivated my imagination more than King Kong. I'm making movies today because I saw this film when I was 9 years old. It has been my sustained dream to reinterpret this classic story for a new age.
Regarding his spat with New Line: "We have a great many friends at New Line and utmost respect for the risk they took with us and it hurts to be hit with the level of venom directed at us from individuals in that company. It's been a lot more nasty behind the scenes than what's been made public. It's just an accounting dispute at the end of the day, but it makes you wonder what they have to hide."
[on the aborted Halo movie] Well, Microsoft has a whole strategy with the Halo property, and when the rights expired with the two studios, that sort of ended my involvement with the project. That fell apart because of internal politics at Fox and Universal. It had nothing to do with the budget or anything else. In fact, we hadn't even been greenlit at all at that point.
I think that's one of the most depressing things about the film industry generally today. The writers and directors should be blamed just as much as the studios because really everything seems to be a remake or adapting a 1970s TV show that was never particularly good. Why anyone thinks that it would be a good feature film now, you know, goodness knows why. I guess it's easy to say it's security that you know a studio is only prepared to put $150 million or $200 million into something if it's a known quantity, but at the same time I'm also aware that audiences are getting fed up with the lack of original ideas and original stories. Everything in the film business tends to be cyclic and hopefully this all drains itself out in a couple years and we'll be back into original stories again.
There's one area of directing that I'd love to improve upon. I tend to get involved in big movies that take two or three years of your life and I see what Clint Eastwood does and what Ridley Scott does, and they're able to do those films and also mix it up with these in-n-out, seven- or eight-month films. I think that's a real skill and talent. I'd love to learn how to do that. So not everything took three years for one project. I'd love to reinvent the way I work, to some degree.
[on his earlier and more controversial movies] - I call them splat-stick. To me, they were a joke. We enjoyed being crazy and anarchic and upsetting the people we wanted to upset in those days. But, big puppets having sex? It's harmless, surely. The Saw movies, well... I don't want to be casting moral judgments, but I don't like those films.
[on The Lovely Bones (2009)] - It's not a murder film and I wanted kids to be able to go and see it. Film is such a powerful medium. It's like a weapon and I think you have a duty to self-censor. There are some people who might enjoy watching a 14-year-old girl getting killed, a small minority maybe, but how could you live with yourself in providing that titillation? I wouldn't want the movie defined by that.
[on The Lovely Bones (2009)] - It's a film about how love never really dies and how time heals.
When I drive to the studio, I usually feel nervous, and the day seems daunting. 100 people are about to look to me to find out what our first shot is, what lens I want to use, and how many set-ups it's going to take to get the scene finished. Some of the time I have a plan, and some of the time I wing it. It helps to rehearse with the actors, and the ideas, hopefully good ones, start flowing. It's always better once we break the ice and start shooting.
I've always been completely into genre directors: Stuart Gordon, George Romero, Sam Raimi. I like [Stanley] Kubrick - not that I could ever make a film like him. On The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), where we had an 18-month shoot, I got so exhausted and when that happens your brain stops sparking and your imagination stops fizzing the way you'd like it to. I got to a point where, on my day off, I'd put on a DVD of Goodfellas (1990) or Casino (1995) and say, 'OK, I know what I've got to try and do now.' I couldn't do it as good as [Martin] Scorsese, but it inspired and re-energized me, telling me what my job is: to come up with interesting ways to shoot scenes, interesting camera moves, and interesting ways to show the performance. I used to do that as a therapeutic thing when I was in a state of exhaustion.
The weird thing about being a director of films that have a certain popularity and a following is that you are forced to have to deal with things that you have no interest in but they become part of your life. Like you have to deal with increased security. You have to deal with privacy issues. A lot of things that really don't have anything to do with filmmaking. You have to have a team around you, assistants, and people that look after you. I never imagined that sort of filmmaking when I was young. I never thought I'd find myself in this place. There's the actual craft of directing and then there's this other baggage that comes the more successful you are as a director. Your craft is still there but all this other stuff kind of starts to build up around you.
The way I look on something like Tintin, as a period movie set in the '40s or '50s, really to a kid that's no different to a science fiction or fantasy film. If kids can watch something set on another planet or a fantasy film in some middle-age landscape, in its own way Tintin has a fantastical aspect to it - it's a world that doesn't exist today, it's a world that's outside of your experience. Escapism is all about that, taking that journey to places that are exotic and romantic. And Tintin is fantastic escapism, it has been for 75 years now.
[on filming the J.R.R. Tolkien fantasies] I am a lifelong Buster Keaton fan. I am not saying I am approaching his genius, but we are able to make things exciting and provide bits of visual humour as we do.

Salary (2)

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) $10,000,000 + gross points (this salary is for all 3 films)
King Kong (2005) $20,000,000 + 20% of the gross (to be shared with co-writer/producer Fran Walsh & co-writer Philippa Boyens)

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