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Sean Connerry as Gandalf?
on 2 January 2007
I very rarely read biographies, but in this case I had a true respect for Peter Jackson and felt it would be worthwhile. I was not disappointed, in fact I found it so inspirational I was almost temmpted to buy my own Bolex 16mm and make my own films. It is worth mentioning that this is the official biography, so you get some major tracts of text which are directly contributed by the great man.
One thing people may be wary of is that, with the exception of the first few pages, it is very much concentrated on his work as opposed to his personal life, which is right and correct. It charts his rise, his projects from as young as 8 years old, and the single minded dedication which saw Bad Taste, essentially a home movie, recognised at Cannes festival. Then we see his development moving through 'Meet The Feebles' and 'Braindead', two more splatter movies which were in danger of seeing him stereotyped.
In countering this he tackled 'Heavenly Creatures', a true story, and 'Forgotten Silver' which was essentially a 'mockumentary' which caused outrage in New Zealand and a result of him losing his way after the loss of a dear friend and his producer. 'The Frighteners' was his next project, and first dealings with the politics of Hollywood that saw it launched at such an inappropriate time, and with such poor advertising, that it was essentially a flop.
Amazingly, the fact that his Weta company were being headhunted led to a bidding war for his services, with Fox, Miramax and Universal all involved, and some bizarre and fascinating deals. You see the first aborted attempt at KingKong and the amazing audacity of the owners of Miramax (the Weinsteins) trying to force Jackson into condensing Lord of the Rings into a single, two hour, film. The incredible tension surrounding his desperate plea to get New line to take on the project is truly inspiring stuff.
This book is truly insightful, about how this man came from nowhere to do what he has done. The machinations of Hollywood studios are truly interesting and it does not pull its punches with its criticism of Miramax and Universal. His road to stardom was so incredible for his own dedication and passion. Let this be a lesson to all the lesser people churning out there own autobiographies without achieving one millionth of what he has done.