Movie News

Quint interviews Peter Jackson about his next Fantasy Epic: Naomi Novik's TEMERAIRE series!!!

Published at: Sept. 13, 2006, 1:51 a.m. CST

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. Hollywood Reporter broke the story this morning that Peter Jackson has gotten the rights to Naomi Novik's TEMERAIRE series (HIS MAJESTY'S DRAGON, THRONE OF JADE and THE BLACK POWDER WAR being the 3 books that have been released thus far, and all were released within the last year). I've read these books and am quite a fan of them. If you haven't read them, they're all out in softcover here in the States, for pretty cheap. I think Amazon has them at under $8 a pop.

Over the weekend I conducted a lengthy exclusive interview with Peter Jackson and we talked a lot about TEMERAIRE. At the time of the interview I knew there was something he wanted to talk about besides HALO, LOVELY BONES, DAMBUSTERS and whatever else he's been connected with already, but I didn't know what that one thing is. I found out during the interview. Here is our chat about his thoughts on TEMERAIRE as a series, if he's going to direct or not and all the other nitty gritty details you could want for a project that was announced less than an hour ago! Enjoy!!!



PETER JACKSON: I'm happy to talk about whatever you want to talk about this morning. And we've got this other thing that we can talk about...

QUINT: Do you want to start with that?

PETER JACKSON: Yeah, sure. It's something we've been doing quietly over the last few months, but it's all wrapped up now. Fran (Walsh) and Philippa (Boyens) and I have acquired the option for the TEMERAIRE books by Naomi Novik.

QUINT: I love those books! I wrote a review of the first one on the site, actually.

PETER JACKSON: Yeah, I saw your review. We got the galleys sent to us, which has never happened before. I keep reading that filmmakers see the galleys of books, but we've never been sent a thing...

QUINT: Strangely enough, they handed out a little preview book at Comic-Con that I saw had a quote from my review on it... and I said something like, "This'd make a great movie!"

PETER JACKSON: (laughs) Yeah... We just... you know, we wanted something... We're doing these small movies, which is great and we're enjoying that, but we just wanted something that exciting and fantastical that we could start to think about and start to work on and develop. We read these books and thought they were really great. I'm a complete sucker for that world of history combined with the fantastical.

QUINT: It's very unique. Are you planning on adding this into your producer queue or...

PETER JACKSON: No, no... I'm not sure. I mean, I love the books and it may well be that I'm going to shoot them. I don't know. I'm just going to see... LOVELY BONES has been occupying our minds for the last few months, we haven't really dared to delve too much into (TEMERAIRE). We've only recently completed the work to secure the rights to these, anyway, so we haven't allowed ourselves to get too excited yet until it was all done.

The one thing I am going to do is I'll start the guys at WETA designing some things. We've just acquired the rights ourselves. We haven't gone in conjunction with a studio or anything else. We just bought it ourselves.

The thing we'll do is we'll develop the screenplays on spec and then we'll design it. Which is really the first thing I want to do, is have Weta do a design pass of the characters and the world. Get Gus (Hanson) and those guys to have a go at it, which we'll do at some point when the HALO stuff is mainly done. So, we'll start with that and once THE LOVELY BONES gets all tied up and in good shape we'll start to think about this series.

I don't really know yet how we'll structure it, because obviously it's more than one film, for sure, so it'll be interesting to just have a think about that. And it's the future books, too... I think Naomi is already doing her 4th book and I think she's planning a 5th and 6th book as well. We've optioned all TEMERAIRE books, including future ones.



QUINT: Strangely enough I had the galleys for the 2nd and 3rd books, too. I didn't know how I was going to react to the books since I don't read fantasy too often, but you're right. I really grabbed on to that kind of MASTER AND COMMANDER type story set in a more fantastic world. I've always loved the What If? stories... and this is very much like that. What if Napoleon and the English had air combat during the Napoleonic wars?

PETER JACKSON: I love that, too. I love it where the history is authentic 80% of the time, but we've got 20% of Fantasy in there, which is fantastic. It's not really used that much in film, either. I find it to be exciting because it mends particular genres, which in themselves have not been well-realized on film, certainly not commercially. You know, the Napoleonic Epic, Napoleonic Sea Battles plus dragons... It's a problematic area, but I think linking the two and using the great characters and the intrigue and the politics, which is what I enjoy...

You know, it's not just about the dragons and the battles, it's the other stuff in the detailed world she created. I love even just the concept of how the flying corp are looked down upon by the traditional navy. It's all about the English Class system, that's what makes it really interesting. And there are parallels to Tolkien in the sense that it is complex. It's going to be a lot of fun, actually.

QUINT: I was racking my brains trying to figure out what this big announcement was going to be...

PETER JACKSON: It's the first time it's ever happened! I actually got the jump on you, which is great! I'm also interested in exploring a sort of interactive... not video games as we know them today, but something that sort of melds a serialized interactive entertainment somehow. I just got interested in that area and I've been looking for something that'd be suitable for that. It's early days yet.

What I love about what George Lucas has done with STAR WARS, which I think is really cool, is that you have the movies and the movies, obviously, are the flagships of the saga, of the storytelling, but you have the comic books and the novels and everything that fills out what happens inbetween the films and what happens in other places while the films are occurring. I love that expansion of the world. This is, to me, has also got the same possibilities. The movies can be the epics and there can be other forms of entertainment that can be running alongside the movies, expanding the world of the books and the story.

QUINT: One thing I like about the TEMERAIRE project is that the series is really new and while it's out there, it's not a phenomenon yet. It can really be a surprise to the audience.

PETER JACKSON: Yeah. I like it because it's a story we've never seen before, it's a world that we've actually never seen. Apart from films like MASTER AND COMMANDER and (HORATIO) HORNBLOWER and a couple of things... even without the fantasy it's a world that's very rarely ever been told on the screen. It doesn't have to be dry and boring and historical and PBS. It doesn't have to be any of that stuff. It's vibrant and exciting and dynamic and thrilling. It should have a sort of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK quality to it as well.



There you have it. As a fan of this series, I'm excited at the prospect of Jackson using it as a return to Epic Fantasy. Word on the street is I'm going to be on the phone with author Naomi Novik tomorrow, so I'll be sure to dig up more information for you folks. If you haven't read the first 3 books, do yourselves a favor and head to the local bookstore or click on the links above and pick 'em up. Good reading!

Keep an eye out over the next week. I'll be posting at least once a day with a new piece of my interview with Peter Jackson. We talk at length about THE LOVELY BONES, HALO, DAMBUSTERS, THE HOBBIT and even some low budget schlockers he might sneak into his busy schedules. 'Til then, this is Quint bidding you all a fond farewell and adieu!!!

-Quint quint@aintitcool.com

Readers Talkback

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  • Sept. 12, 2006, 6:34 a.m. CST

    WELL

    by THE KNIGHT

    I haven't read the books but the thought of a new Peter Jackson Epic has me extremely excited... You better Direct this movie PJ! :)

  • Sept. 12, 2006, 8:26 a.m. CST

    Jackson transfered his physical bloat to his films

    by Behemoth

    King Kong was an abomination of terrible editing and awful (at times) special effects. The Flintstone-like "running in place for 10 minutes while a stampede of Brontosauruses chase us" segment was a particularly gas-inducing hodge-podge of crap-sagna. It's like Jackson is determined to take Lucas's path into self-absorbed artistic oblivion, but via a shortcut he discovered. "Fellowship" was about perfect. "Two Towers," with its awful "Warg" scene and dwarf tossing hinted at what was to come (though it was still great overall), and "King," as much as I loved parts of it, was unnecessarily long and featured a scene I will never forgive Jackson for: the cliche of cliches: hero hanging from cliff by A FINGER (absolutely impossible, even in Middle Earth), only to be pulled to safety at the last second. H-O-R-R-I-B-L-E decision that truly mars what could've been a much better ending. Then King Kong takes a dump for three hours in one of the most over-hyped, under-edited sasquatches of film ever released. I truly like Jackson. Seems like a good guy, and he's quite gifted. But PLEASE, for the love of Galadriel, FIND YOUR WAY OUT OF YOUR OWN ASS, YOU ONCE-BLOATED AUSSIE!!!!

  • Sept. 12, 2006, 8:40 a.m. CST

    Not said it much in the past but nice interview Quint.

    by brycemonkey

    Giving us some actual cool news. Kudos. I've never read the books but will try to pick them up. I like the idea of PJ doing a literary fantasy trilogy. Wieid, deja vu...

  • Sept. 12, 2006, 12:34 p.m. CST

    Mr. Jackson

    by Mr.Nelson

    Wait untill you read The Wall of the Crow. Now that's a story!

  • Sept. 12, 2006, 1:49 p.m. CST

    Dragonlance!

    by Darth Thoth

    PJ will always get props from me. Period. But all you people need to know is this: Dragonlance animated movie coming next year. It's on.

  • Sept. 12, 2006, 3:05 p.m. CST

    blackwood

    by Mr. Nice Gaius

    Ringb(w)earer9 is dead. He only comes out at the light of the full moon. In this case, the full moon is Peter Jackson. It's really quite comical; Ringodangdoodle only seems to post on PJ related TBs...and it's nothing but hate. I would love to see PJ chime in just to give Ringy a damn good thrashing. But I fear that would embolden him with false pride and notoriety that he doesn't deserve. (Do it anyway Pete!)

  • Sept. 12, 2006, 7:24 p.m. CST

    Can we start speculating...

    by Temeraire

    ...vis a vis who's gonna play Lawrence? How's about Hugh Jackman?

  • Sept. 12, 2006, 11:33 p.m. CST

    SICK AND TIRED!

    by Catalyst007

    I agree, i too would like to barf everytime i see these fantasy novel covers. it's always either a dragon, a sword, or a combination of the 2. F all the fantasy novels of the last 20 yrs...giggity

  • Sept. 13, 2006, 6:16 a.m. CST

    Where’s my Library Card?

    by Evil Chicken

    Forget it - for $8.00 I'll buy 'em. I’ve got to catch up on my reading. Temeraire looks like a good place to start. I love the fact that Peter Jackson has Weta doing preliminary designs. This sounds like a world I’d like to explore.

  • Sept. 14, 2006, 6:28 p.m. CST

    obviuosly a fake

    by jonboy83

    but still the accusations amuse me.

  • Sept. 15, 2006, 3:19 a.m. CST

    Peter Jackson is awesome but...

    by Trappergold

    This movie sounds kinda fucking stupid. Dragons during the Napolianic Wars? Why not just make a movie about the Napolionic Wars? That would sound a shitload cooler, or a movie about the 7 Years War or the War of Spanish Sucession or fucking World War I. I know Peter Jackson wants to eventually make a World War I epic - he's alluded to that in his LOTR DVD talk-over-the-movie-shit-that-I-can't-recall-the-right-word-for-right-now. So why not make one the way he wants to make one since studios are giving him carte blanche right now. Anyway this dragons-in-the-Napolionic-wars sounds about as cool as a movie about people riding unicorns during the American Civil War - maybe they could make a movie about how the Confederacy rode black unicorns that were enslaved while the Union rode white unicorns with red manes that drank a lot that they inported from Ireland.

  • Sept. 15, 2006, 3:20 a.m. CST

    Peter Jackson is awesome but...

    by Trappergold

    This movie sounds kinda fucking stupid. Dragons during the Napolianic Wars? Why not just make a movie about the Napolionic Wars? That would sound a shitload cooler, or a movie about the 7 Years War or the War of Spanish Sucession or fucking World War I. I know Peter Jackson wants to eventually make a World War I epic - he's alluded to that in his LOTR DVD talk-over-the-movie-shit-that-I-can't-recall-the-right-word-for-right-now. So why not make one the way he wants to make one since studios are giving him carte blanche right now. Anyway this dragons-in-the-Napolionic-wars sounds about as cool as a movie about people riding unicorns during the American Civil War - maybe they could make a movie about how the Confederacy rode black unicorns that were enslaved while the Union rode white unicorns with red manes that drank a lot that they inported from Ireland.

  • Sept. 16, 2006, 4:42 p.m. CST

    Looking Good.

    by RowanM

    I bought the first book here in lovely New Zealand (Taupo) and got through it suprisingly quickly. I'm big into the whole dragon scene. I'm always critical of how they're drawn on other book covers (Temeraire included) but the concept of having various breeds of dragon in a single movie really gets me excited. The coolest dragon design I've seen anywhere is the Reign of Fire one. Badass!!! Anyway, loved the book. It's inspired me to do some sketches when I get back to lovely Ireland...in a few weeks. Go Peter. Good call.

  • Sept. 16, 2006, 4:43 p.m. CST

    Looking Good.

    by RowanM

    I bought the first book here in lovely New Zealand (Taupo) and got through it suprisingly quickly. I'm big into the whole dragon scene. I'm always critical of how they're drawn on other book covers (Temeraire included) but the concept of having various breeds of dragon in a single movie really gets me excited. The coolest dragon design I've seen anywhere is the Reign of Fire one. Badass!!! Anyway, loved the book. It's inspired me to do some sketches when I get back to lovely Ireland...in a few weeks. Go Peter. Good call.

  • Sept. 18, 2006, 8:25 a.m. CST

    Jackson and Elvis...

    by NightArrows

    Why those two? Because near the end, it took the King about an hour just to take a shit, because his colon was so abused due to his monstrous daily intake of food (20,000 calories on average near the end).<p>How does that relate to Jackson, you might ask?<p>It's easy, Jackson's cinematic colon takes 3 hours to squeeze out a story.<p>The only difference is that Elvis knew how to flush his unneeded Kingly evidence, and Jackson doesn't.<p>I refuse to trust him anymore until I can see he knows how to edit and be succinct...

  • Sept. 18, 2006, 3:38 p.m. CST

    Interview With Naomi Novik

    by trashotron

    For those who might want to hear what the author has to say about her books, you can hear this interview: http://tinyurl.com/joaku I'm RIck Kleffel, the gent who did the interview, and it turned out quite fascinating. Before you judge the worthiness of the material, might help to familiarizxe yourself with the material. Naomi does both halves of Jackson's equation; she writes outstanding visual scenes and she creates engaging emotional arcs. -- Rickk

  • Feb. 4, 2007, 6:24 p.m. CST

    I'm pretty lukewarm on this whole idea

    by The_Jack_Sack

    But Jackson has earned the benefit of the doubt... fo now...

  • Feb. 8, 2007, 9:42 a.m. CST

    why not cms

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