Originally created 03/27/06

Q&A: Peter Jackson on 'Kong' and his latest project

NEW YORK - The box-office performance of Peter Jackson's "King Kong" wasn't as chest-thumping as many expected. But to be fair, $217 million isn't terrible, nor was the $520 million worldwide take. It was well received by critics, nominated for four Oscars and won three: visual effects, sound and sound editing.

Those three aspects of filmmaking are represented on the new two-disc special edition DVD coming out Tuesday (a single disc version also is available).

The features include post-production diaries that bookend the previously released production diaries of "Kong." They are an unusual inside look on the minutiae that goes into even the biggest of movies.

"When a documentary is being made, it usually focuses on the director or an actor," Jackson said in a recent interview, speaking from his native New Zealand. "We felt that it would be more interesting to really dissect a film down to its smallest components."

The director, who previously made the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, says he's pleased with his beast of a movie - despite any unrealized financial forecasts.


AP: Why did you want to show such an inside perspective on filmmaking on the DVD?

Jackson: As a filmmaker, I'm also a fan. I'm a film fan. I'm someone that wanted to make "Kong" since I was 9 years old - I wanted to make other movies since I was 9 years old. I love films. I am a geek, basically - a film geek and proud of it, really. So I see DVD as a wonderful way for which I can put things on that I know that I'd want to see if I was buying it. I care about wanting to give the fans value for what they're buying, because I consider myself to be a fan. I really don't consider myself a so-called professional filmmaker. I'm just a fan whose lucky enough to be able to make movies.

AP: Do you have a sense of relief at completing this long-term, personal ambition?

Jackson: Yes, I do. I do have a sense that it's something I've wanted to make for years and it's now done. I feel very proud of the film and of the way in which we created this emotional connection between Naomi (Watts) and Kong. In a sense, I felt equally strongly about the "Lord of the Rings" because that was a long-held dream of mine to make that project. It's an interesting period of time now because I've spent 10 years basically doing "Lord of the Rings" and "King Kong." So I'm now having a lot of fun in a way, creatively, because I have these two gargantuan, lifelong ambitions out of the way and now have new projects to be excited about. It's interesting; rather than it (feeling) like I've completed something and it be the end of the era, it feels like the beginning of something new and exciting.

AP: One of those projects is an adaptation of Alice Sebold's novel "The Lovely Bones." Where are you in that process now?

Jackson: We just started to work on the script. We're going through the process of discovery and imagining what the film should be, because it's a very difficult book to adapt and it's a very personal book, too.... It's one of the periods of filmmaking that I really love the most, in which Fran Walsh (Jackson's wife) and Philippa Boyens - I'm writing the script with them - and myself, we're sitting down, we're talking about what the possibilities are, what the ideas are, what the story is about, how we can show that... We're just in the middle of the really fun creative part. It's all problem solving, really.

AP: Can we assume this won't be something for which you'll have Andy Serkis (the actor who used motion capture to "play" the computer-generated characters Gollum and Kong) morph into a creature?

Jackson: I don't think so, no. This may be the one for a while that Andy doesn't have to put on the motion-capture suit for.


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