Making the Mortal Engines Movie

News, views, quotes and trivia about Philip Reeve's 'Mortal Engines' books and the Peter Jackson movie production.

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Friday, April 21, 2017

Who wrote the Mortal Engines movie script?

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If Philip Reeve wrote the book, who wrote the Mortal Engines movie script?


First up, Reeve did not write the script of the feature movie. He sold the filming rights to his works to Peter Jackson's production company, we think, in approximately 2008. Since that time he has had extremely limited involvement in the production of the movie.

So who then wrote the script for the film?

Enter the Oscar winning trio of Philippa Boyens, Fran Walsh and Peter Jackson. The threes have written the scripts collaboratively for most of Jackon's filming career since the original Lord of the Rings movie. If you also weren't aware, Jackson and Walsh are married.

Boyens has written all the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings movies with Fran and Peter and also has a credited hand in King Kong, The Lovely Bones and of course Mortal Engines.

NZ On Screen notes that "Boyens studied English and History at Auckland University, and worked in theatre as a writer, producer and script editor. She also spent time as director of the New Zealand Writer’s Guild. Boyens first became a Tolkien fan as a child. When she came onboard to help the writing team on The Lord of the Rings, she had already read the trilogy seven times."

After doing some TV work in the 1980s, Walsh met Peter Jackson in the mid-80s, while he was in the final stages of making his feature debut and kiwi classic Bad Taste. She and Jackson were among the quartet of writers on his puppet follow-up Meet the Feebles.

On the collaboration between the three, Jackson has said about the working relationship

" It's a lack of respect though, too. The worst thing when you're collaborating is when you have to be polite, when you have to say, 'Well that's a good idea!' Whereas we can just say, 'Come on, that's stupid!' As a collaboration, that makes it so much easier. You can just be honest and no one gets offended. You respect, you have trust and it leads to a lack of respect, which is also very healthy."

The New York Times once summarised what each team writing member brings to the party in "Ms. Walsh has a knack for conveying emotion, Ms. Boyens excels at structure (and line readings), and Mr. Jackson is the visual genius."

No word if Peter and the Gang will be doing the second film in the series, Predator's Gold but one can imagine that the plot lines are slowly been drawn out.

Fun fact - Mortal Engines is the first film these three have written together were Peter has not directed the movie himself. 
 

Fun fact 2: The writing team when through seven drafts of the script before it was given to the principal actors on their arrival in NZ.

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