FILM REVS UP REEVE

Mor­tal En­gines au­thor Philip Reeve has been as­tounded watch­ing his post-apoc­a­lyp­tic world brought to life on the big screen through the vi­sion­ary scope of cel­e­brated New Zealand film­maker Peter Jack­son

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY - FIONA PURDON

For more than two decades, au­thor Philip Reeve could only draw on his own imag­i­na­tion to en­vis­age the fan­tas­ti­cal postapoc­a­lyp­tic world he writes about in his best-sell­ing Mor­tal En­gines se­ries.

Now his pri­vate world has been brought to life through the vi­sion­ary scope of film­maker Peter Jack­son ( The Lord of the Rings), who is be­hind the movie adap­ta­tion of Mor­tal En­gines, which is set to be­come one of the fes­tive sea­son’s block­busters.

“It’s ex­traor­di­nary be­cause I had seen this world in my mind’s eye for so long, and most of the film looks close to what I imag­ined, even down to the tiny de­tails. It’s amaz­ing,” he says.

Philip says he grew up want­ing to be a film­maker but turned to writ­ing be­cause his imag­i­na­tion was “too big for what I could achieve in film”.

The au­thor of the 2001 novel was on set for two weeks dur­ing last year’s film shoot in New Zealand, and he was im­pressed.

“Look­ing at the air­ships, pro­pel­lers and gen­uine an­tiques – the con­cept artists came up with ideas of their own, but in most cases, they even looked as I imag­ined,” he says.

Mor­tal En­gines takes place in the dis­tant fu­ture af­ter a 60minute war de­stroyed much of the planet in a ge­o­log­i­cal up­heaval. Now the oblit­er­ated world is oc­cu­pied by mov­able, war­ring cities.

Ma­jor mo­bile city Lon­don is co-steered by ruth­less chief his­to­rian Thad­deus Valen­tine (Hugo Weav­ing), while Tom Natswor­thy (Robert Shee­han) is a ju­nior his­to­rian.

Scarred would-be as­sas­sin Hester (Hera Hil­mar) comes on board Lon­don and tries to kill Thad­deus, only to be pre­vented by Tom, with whom she soon finds her­self in an un­likely part­ner­ship for sur­vival.

Philip re­veals he orig­i­nally wrote Mor­tal En­gines as adult science fic­tion, but when he couldn’t sell them, he turned to chil­dren’s pub­lish­ers, where they were snapped up.

He backed Jack­son’s de­ci­sion to raise the ages of Hester and Tom slightly, be­cause it ad­hered to his orig­i­nal vi­sion.

The UK writer says he is im­pressed with the movie’s cast. In fact, he was so moved by the elec­tric per­for­mance of ac­tor Ji­hae Kim as fly­ing out­law Anna Fang, he has re­leased a new novel, Night Flights, which cov­ers Anna’s back­story, in­clud­ing her child­hood.

Philip says that while Mor­tal En­gines was partly in­spired by J. R. R Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, he also wanted to write about an in­dus­tri­alised Earth.

“I wanted to write a fast­mov­ing ad­ven­ture,” he says.

“I was at this year’s New York Comic Con, and to see huge Mor­tal En­gines ban­ner posters on the build­ing was strange and hard to be­lieve … it’s some­thing you may only day­dream about when you write a book.

“You don’t ex­pect it to hap­pen.” Mor­tal En­gines is now show­ing in cin­e­mas

It has been an ex­traor­di­nary ex­pe­ri­ence for au­thor Philip Reeve to see his Mor­tal En­gines novel brought to life in a new film star­ring Hugo Weav­ing.

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