On the publicity circuit for his new film The Lovely Bones (released Boxing Day) blockbuster director Peter Jackson, best known for his acclaimed Lord of the Rings adaptations, discussed entering the war picture genre with his own take on Gallipoli, to be released in time for the infamous WWI campaign’s 100th anniversary.
“We are rapidly steamrolling towards the 100th anniversary of Gallipoli. It’s coming on us quicker than you think. So I am starting to definitely think about (it),” he told ABC’s Kerry O’Brien on The 7:30 Report last Friday.
Any new film about Gallipoli will inevitably be compared to Peter Weir’s 1981 classic, which helped kick-start the overseas career of Mel Gibson and permanently etched its final, harrowing scene into the minds of everyone who watched it.
Says Jackson: “Peter Weir obviously made a great movie, but Peter’s movie was set around events of August 7th, August 8th, 1915. I mean, you know, the Gallipoli was a seven or eight-month-long campaign. And that story is yet to be told on film. So I’d like to do that.”
The Oscar-winning New Zealand filmmaker also talked about telling the story from a combined Australian-New Zealand point of view (this of course makes sense given the ANZACS were Aussie and Kiwi).
Jackson’s take on Gallipoli would be interesting. We can assume he wouldn’t resist long and graphic recreation scenes, especially given his penchant for large scale battle sequences. Not many action scenes are as long and spectacular as the hellzapoppin finale to Return of the King – indeed, you would be struggling to find worthy contenders. A well staged battle scene does not of course a good movie maketh, but Jackson has remained an interesting and unpredictable director even as his films have become a great deal more populist, erring ever more away from the brilliance of his fiercely inventive early work exhibited in Bad Taste (1987), Meet the Feebles (1989), Braindead (1992) and Heavenly Creatures (1994).