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
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.