If Middle Earth had a God it would be Peter Jackson. Certainly when it comes to the New Zealand film industry and the city of Wellington in general, Jackson himself is spoken of entirely in reverential terms. Even more than Robert Rodriguez is to Austin or George Miller is to Sydney, Jackson is so identifiably Wellington and a master of all he purveys.
That’s understandable when you consider he’s really the driving force responsible for the establishment of an entire film industry within the city. He led the charge which turned this picturesque, but remote city into a place that boasts world class studio production and post-production facilities, and with WETA a world leader in visual effects and film prop manufacturing.
In person though Jackson remains the unassuming, straightforward, confident and laid-back filmmaker he always has been. The man has always done his films the way he wants, studio demands and scheduling be damned. That probably makes him stubborn to the higher ups, especially those not used to the more sedentary and relaxed approach to filmmaking in New Zealand. On-set though, it makes for one of the most agreeable cinematic working environments around. Even well over a year into the project, Jackson is still having a ball playing in this incredible playground.
Like “The Lord of the Rings,” “The Hobbit” also explores themes of heroism and Jackson says a big draw for him with these films is exploring the unlikely heroic qualities of certain characters. Thorin, for example, he describes as “very much an anti-hero”, while the hobbits are “always the greatest heroes ’cause they’re us, they’re the unlikely hero who is thrust into this incredible danger and they have no choice but to … try to survive and get through it … I find that sort of heroism in films really interesting.”