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PM John Keys: We have somebody who is not just world famous in New Zealand – not just world famous in our country, but right around the planet – he is a remarkable man and he is working with a lot of very small people at the moment – he is of course, Sir Peter Jackson. And I’m delighted to welcome him onto the show this afternoon – Sir Peter…
Sir Peter Jackson: Hi John how are you!
PM John Keys: I’m very well. Tell me how is it going with The Hobbits my friend?
Sir Peter Jackson: Its going good. I mean I think this is day 94 or 5, I’ve sort of lost track a bit of shooting for about 250 days so it’s a long, long shoot – but it’s going good! We’ve got 30 Goblins on the set today and 12/13 dwarves and a Hobbit – its a pretty slow day actually, we’ve got a lot of people in very claustrophobic rubber suits so they need to take their heads off and breath every few minutes, so it’s pretty slow going.
PM John Keys: I’m not going to go anywhere near Dwarves because the last time I did I heard about that got Mike Tindall in a hell of a lot of trouble in the bar in Queenstown, but let’s go the Goblins – Are they well behaved, do they behave themselves?
Sir Peter Jackson: They’re kind of well behaved, I mean sort of have to give them air – we got compressed air hoses and we stick this air down their suits every now and again to give them a breath of fresh air and then keep them going. But yeah they’re small and mischievous and rather evil.
PM John Keys: And how long do you keep filming for?
Sir Peter Jackson: We’re filming until the middle of next year…
PM John Keys: WoW…
Sir Peter Jackson: It’s a long, long trip, I have to say it’s weird because we’re taking about as long to shoot 2 movies of the Hobbit as we did to shoot 3 of the Lord of the Rings – I’m not sure quite why that is actually – but it’s a long time.
PM John Keys: Is it because it’s more complex or is it more detailed or…?
Sir Peter Jackson: Ahh… I don’t know, it’s everything is complex, its everyday is a challenge – I guess that’s the good thing about making a movie is that you don’t ever have 2 days that are the same – for instance, yesterday we spent all day in the middle of a storm. We had thunder – lightning – rain – we had Dwarves walking up a rocky path on the side of a cliff. So we spent all day with Dwarves being drenched in water, which was kind of fun… they didn’t enjoy it that much – and today we show up and we’ve got flame, fire and Goblins – so every single day is different so you cant relax, you sort of come to work each day and your right in the thick of problems and difficulties and everything else, which is well… it certainly makes it interesting.
PM John Keys: So I take it some of its on location out in the countryside and some of it’s against the Green Screen down in Miramar is it?
Sir Peter Jackson: Yeah, well we’re shooting on location in about 2 or 3 weeks we start our location sort of stint. We started shooting March and we had them film there in the studio mainly because of the winter – you know, not only do you get the bad weather but you also get short days – when you’re filming outside you want as much daylight as you can so normally we want to shoot for 12 hours which is not possible during the winter when it gets dark early. So we’ve stuck out the winter shooting in the studio and were about to go on location in Spring, so it will be nice.
PM John Keys: So are the Hobbit’s going to be some of the most expensive movies made?
Sir Peter Jackson: Probably. Probably, yeah – I mean certainly it’s a lot of money for 2 movies but individually they’re expensive but not the most expensive film.
PM John Keys: At the risk of asking you to pick between children, what’s your favourite movie you’ve made?
Sir Peter Jackson: Favourite movie I’ve ever made? Oh, I don’t know, I mean it’s difficult, I never watch my movies that’s the problem, I literally never look at them after I’ve finished them. Occasionally if I’m somewhere in a Hotel and I flick around the channels and I find one of my films on I kind of watch it for 2 or 3 minutes just out of interest (laughs) and then all the memories start coming back and I change the channel. So I don’t know – I must admit I’ve got a real yearning to watch ‘Meet The Feebles’ again, I haven’t seen ‘Meet the Feebles’ which we made in about 1989 – I haven’t seen that almost for 15 years I guess now – 15/16 years, so I wouldn’t mind seeing that again. I don’t know if its my favourite so I’ll have to wait and see.
PM John Keys: Yeah, … and pass judgement later. Do you have a favourite movie of all time? Just that anyones made?
Sir Peter Jackson: Well I like the original King Kong from 1933, and I like Buster Keaton’s ‘The General’ made in 1927. Buster Keaton is absolutely a genius Comic and Director. He was a Comedian who was ahead of his time and I’ve got an incredible soft spot for him.
PM John Keys: So what makes you look at a book and say that’s going to be a winner? I mean, what made you look at Tolkien work and say I can transform that to the Silver Screen?
Sir Peter Jackson: Well you never know if anything is going to be a winner, but you just respond to a book like anybody does, you read it and.. I mean what I find – not just with books, with even just thinking of original ideas … I kind of start to imagine a movie, I start to imagine the way I would edit it together and I can imagine the music and what it would feel like so, your imagination creates the movie. Which I think is probably true is with a lot of people when you read books when you think about it, I mean a good book does bring it to life, bring the story to life and in your imagination, so I kind of get excited and the reason why I make movies is because I end up being so excited I want to see the film myself – you start to think well this could be really cool and you realise in order to see it you’ve got to make it.
PM John Keys: So how often do you get to read a book and an idea and you say I can make this into a movie – you take it on to New Line or someone and they just say no, were not going to back it?
Sir Peter Jackson: Well not very often. We’ve been lucky. Most of the things we’ve wanted to do we’ve made. I mean sometimes there’s been doubts like we originally wanted to make a remake of King Kong, which I say, one of my favourite movies and we bid to make that with Universal before Lord of The Rings, and then we worked on that for about 8 or 9 months and then they suddenly pulled the plug on it and didn’t want to make it, and we fortunately had Lord of The Rings lined up ready to go after King Kong so we jumped onto Lord of The Rings then when the second Lord of The Rings was finished they decided they wanted to make King Kong again, so we made it. You know, we have had a few road bumps but nothing too bad. But also, we can only make a film every 2 or 3 years so I don’t really have a huge backlog of books that I want to make into movies because I haven’t got enough time to make them all. So we sort of tend to do one project at a time and we’re lucky enough at the moment to be able to do what we want to do really.
PM John Keys: We could talk to you for hours but we don’t have hours, so we need to go – but before we go, are you watching the Rugby World Cup?
Sir Peter Jackson: Yeah. I went to a game in Wellington a week or 2 ago, I went to Argentina vs Scotland.
PM John Keys: Fantastic! And I saw you at The World of Wearable Arts – not quite the Rugby World Cup, but wasn’t that a great show?
Sir Peter Jackson: That was fantastic!
PM John Keys: Peter we wish you all the very best – we’re incredibly proud of what you’ve done in the way of promotion of New Zealand and wish you and Fran and obviously Richard all the very best as you get out there and make those movies.
Sir Peter Jackson: Thank you. Thanks very much.