Russell Baillie writes about movies for the Herald

Steven Spielberg reveals Peter Jackson's next movie won't be Tintin

Directors Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson. Photo / AP, NZH
Directors Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson. Photo / AP, NZH

Peter Jackson's next movie project has been revealed - by Steven Spielberg.

But the film's name and subject is still a mystery.

Talking to TimeOut, the American director-producer says Jackson is doing a film for his company Amblin Partners/Dreamworks and it will be made before the pair's next planned collaboration on a second Tintin film.

"Peter was so busy with The Hobbit that it took him away from Tintin and he's doing another film for my company now. It's a secret, nobody knows about it. Then after that he'll do Tintin."

A scene from the movie The Adventures of Tintin directed by Steven Spielberg and produced by Peter Jackson.
A scene from the movie The Adventures of Tintin directed by Steven Spielberg and produced by Peter Jackson.

A spokesman for Jackson says he would be happy to talk about the project "at the right time" but would be making no further comment.

Spielberg was a producer and Dreamworks was the studio behind Jackson's 2009 adaptation of novel The Lovely Bones, Jackson's only medium-budget non-blockbuster film since The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Last year, Jackson told Variety that he and partner Fran Walsh were adapting several true New Zealand stories that he said will be similar in tone and scope to their 1994 breakthrough, Heavenly Creatures.

Jackson has also considered making a film of As Nature Made Him, the story of Canadian man David Reimer who was raised a female after a botched circumcision when he was aged just seven months.

Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg on the set of The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn.
Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg on the set of The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn.

It has a New Zealand connection in the involvement of noted New Zealand psychologist-sexologist Dr John Money.

He recommended gender reassignment surgery to Reimer's parents, who renamed him Brenda and raised him as a girl.

At 15, Reimer transitioned to living as a male. He died at the age of 38 in 2005.

Money spent most of his professional career in the United States, though was a supporter of the arts and literature in his home country and a friend of author Janet Frame.

The Reimer story's North American setting, as well as the rise of transgender stories and characters in film and television in recent years, and a likely modest budget, would make it a possible candidate for the film with Amblin/Dreamworks backing.

New Zealand-born sexologist Dr John Money, who died in 2006. ,
New Zealand-born sexologist Dr John Money, who died in 2006. ,

The other possibility is Jackson's long-mooted remake of World War II RAF bombing raid movie The Dam Busters.

But whether an American studio would be sole backer on a New Zealand director reviving a story of British boffins and aerial derring-do is questionable.

However the film's lengthy pre-production has already involved the construction of 10 fullsize Lancaster bomber replicas by Weta Workshop.

Hollywood-backed British WWII stories aren't completely out of fashion.

The director of the Batman/Dark Knight trilogy, Christopher Nolan, is filming Dunkirk for Warner Bros.

Richard Todd as Guy Gibson and Michael Redgrave as Barnes Wallis in 1955 film The Dam Busters.
Richard Todd as Guy Gibson and Michael Redgrave as Barnes Wallis in 1955 film The Dam Busters.

Another possibility is Jackson is working as a director-for-hire on a mystery project - something he's never done before.

The future Jackson-directed Spielberg-produced second Tintin movie, Prisoners of the Sun, has no fixed release date

"We already have a screenplay, Peter's the director and I'm the producer. We made a deal to do three Tintin movies together. I would direct the first one, Peter would do the second one and then we'd have a director we can't announce yet lined up for the third one," said Spielberg.

* See the full interview with Steven Spielberg interview in today's TimeOut.

Today's TimeOut front cover.
Today's TimeOut front cover.

- NZ Herald

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