From the creators of Lord of The Rings comes another immense literary world recreated for the big screen. The screenplay adaptation of Philip Reeve’s Mortal Engines was handled by none other than Peter Jackson – alongside Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens – with directing reins handed to Jackson’s long-time collaborator and protégé Christian Rivers, here working on his first feature. Shot in New Zealand with a steampunk aesthetic and transformed with extensive visual effects, the film imagines a future post-apocalyptic reality where whole cities are humongous motorised vehicles battling against one another. The story follows masked Hester (Hera Hilmar), who is seeking revenge on Thaddeus Valentine (Hugo Weaving) for her mother’s murder, and finds herself allied with 16-year-old Tom (Robert Sheehan) after he is thrown out of his city. While on the one hand an immersive and entertaining adventure story, it’s also not difficult to see the narrative’s underlying philosophical bent as a prophecy for where we might be headed, bearing in mind our current political climate.
We were at the movie’s premiere on an incredibly wet London evening to catch a few moments with the the cast and creatives.
Icelandic actress Hera Hilmar told us how she sees her character of Hester, as well as her experience of working with heavy-weight Peter Jackson and creating a film of this ambitious scale.
The charismatic Irish Misfits star Robert Sheehan spoke to us about playing Tom Natsworthy and what is was like on set making the movie.
The excellent Hugo Weaving talked us through the world of Mortal Engines, his character Thaddeus Valentine and how it contrasts to the roles he has played in the past.
Stephen Lang gave us his perspective on the world of the film and his character of Shrike.
Jihae spoke about her character Anna Fang, a pilot and leader of the Anti-Traction League, and the brilliant range of female roles in the movie.
Director Christian Rivers stopped to talk about what drew him to the book, from the large scale of the story to the new world which it presents.
Jackson himself was also at the premiere, and he was keen to stress the importance of starting with a good script as well as the advantages to using talented, lesser-known actors.
By Sarah Bradbury. First published on The Upcoming on 28th November 2018.
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Mortal Engines is released nationwide on 14th December 2018.