Blog | 12 November 2012 | Has Peter Jackson Changed?

Has Peter Jackson changed since The Lord of the Rings?

It's a fair enough question to ask about a director who has been so fêted and honoured since he delivered the LOTR trilogy to millions of grateful film-goers a decade ago.  But the basic answer is No: he's still the same Kiwi, who loves nothing more than making films in his native country, surrounded by faithful colleagues whom he trusts and admires. It says a lot, for instance, that Andrew Lesnie, the brilliant cinematographer who shared in the Oscar bounty for LOTR, has since worked with Peter on King Kong and The Lovely Bones and is now back for The Hobbit adventure.  I've never seen a director and cinematographer so in synch, with never any disagreement on set.

Hollywood hasn't manage to lure PJ away from home, though there must have been offers galore. Why would he want to abandon the comfort and convenience of his own newly furbished studios and workshops so close to his family home on the Wellington Bay?  In New Zealand, he is a a national hero - indeed "Sir" Peter, now knighthoods have been restored by the current government.  Locals point out his achievements and purchases: "That's the church, that's the theatre, that's the house that Sir Peter has just saved from demolition.  That's where he keeps his collection of World War One aeroplanes and that's where his personal jet is stored."  Where he keeps all the Middle-earth remnants of the trilogy, I don't know: but I hope they'll eventually be seen on display in a permanent exhibition, if the Tolkien estate ever allows it.

Oh, one surprising change I have noticed.  Shoes are optional in New Zealand and most days Peter shot LOTR barefoot as a hobbit.  But on The Hobbit filming he was always well shod, padding through the leaf mould and rubble of the sets in regular footwear.

 — Ian McKellen, London, 12 November 2012

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Photos: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)

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