Peter Jackson I think when it was originally announced that a film trilogy was being made of ‘The Lord of the Rings’, the director was the farthest thing from our minds. The smuggest amongst us actually had an idea he might have a good go at it. ‘Heavenly Creatures’ proved he could handle actors; ‘Meet The Feebles’ showed a keen eye for puppetry and fantasy; ‘The Frighteners’ offered both. Perfect really. But I don’t think any of us knew how perfect it would actually be. Here is a man who’s taken some really great literature and spun it off into some magnificent films that appeal to a wide audience without completely ruining the spirit of the source material. By comparison, see what kind of a mess George Lucas is currently making of his own source material. Watching the documentaries which accompanied the Extended versions, two things struck which sort of explain why Jackson has made such instant classics: as well as hiring a bunch of youngsters just out of art school to design everything, he hired two artists who had been visualizing Tolkein for years; when he cast the wrong man in a key roll, rather than just making do, he took the difficult decision of recasting on the fly and made the correct choice. I mean let’s face it, on the strength of ‘A Perfect Murder’, did you think Viggo Mortenssen would be this good? [profile, interview, related]

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