Phillip Reeve's BBC interview on his Mortal Engines set visit

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Mortal Engines writer and Dartmoor's favourite adopted-son, Mr Philip Reeve was interviewed by David Fitzgerald of the BBC about his recent Mortal Engines film set visit in Wellington New Zealand.

Claiming to be "just the writer" Reeve was full of praise for the actors who 'acted their socks off'.

Reeve explained to DJ David how it was very strange to see the movie sets inspired by a book that had he written.

Reeve noted that given he finished writing the several books many years ago so he was able mentally leave them behind so he didn't feel too much ownership of what he saw. 

He joked that the production crew were amused that they had never worked with a living author before as the 6 Lord of the Rings movies were written by Tolkien. This made me wonder what happened with The Lovely Bones author, Alice Sebold? Turns out she was a 'friendly bystander'.

When questioned whether New Zealand's amazing scenery would be featuring in the movie, Reeve explained that most of the exteriors were being created digitally. We imagine however that director Christian Rivers has surely sent out some production units to grab some mountains from somewhere....

The interview then turned to Reeve's more current book series that starts with Railhead and continues with Black Light Express, the inspiration for those novels (he found his attempt at a story on spaceships was boring) and that trains are actually good places for thinking on!

Reeve also talked about Hugo Weaving and Patrick Malahide being in the movie which Fitzgerald seemed quite surprised about.

The interview made us wonder whether Reeves had sold the filming rights to Railhead...

 Update: Here's a transcript some very keen person made.


  1. Is there a link to the full interview? Thanks.

  2. Another link request - if anyone finds it, please post here!

    Re: "Railhead", it was optioned pre-publication and Doug Liman was announced as director and a scriptwriter later assigned. Since then it's all gone quiet. Mr Liman has a full dance card, so is probably no longer attached. I'm guessing this is drifting off into development hell.

    It's been beaten there by "Larklight", which had Shekhar Kapur ("Elizabeth") attached but seems to be dead. It's been almost a decade, so the option may well have lapsed.

    As far as I can tell, Laika are still working on their "Goblins" adaptation. As their co-founder has said they don't do sequels, one wonders if this means no "Goblins vs Dwarves" or "Goblin Quest" if it's made and turns out to be a hit.

  3. Found it!

    You'll need access to BBC iPlayer (I tried via my cable service - Virgin - and couldn't find it on their iPlayer app, but it worked via the full web browser version on my PC). Anyway, it's the 3rd August broadcast of the David Fitzgerald show on Radio Devon and you should be able to find it on The Philip Reeve interview starts at around 1.14.15 and lasts a bit over 21 minutes (with music/other gufff interspersed). Should be available until the end of the month.

    1. Yep - that sounds right. I elected to omit the link however as it expires in 25 days and didn't want to send later readers to a defunct link.

      That Doug Liman things sounds interesting....

      Thanks mate!


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