Jackson talks Temeraire adaptation
Peter Jackson has been talking about a film that was first discussed back in September of 2006, the adaptation of Temeraire, a series of books that see the Napoleonic Wars rewritten in an alternative universe where the warring sides used Dragons as air cavalry in huge battles.
The story sounded epic at the time, and sounds even more epic as Jackson discusses the fact that it might be too epic for the big screen and the only thing that could do it justice is a mini-series.
Naomi Novik wrote the Temeraire novels (Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com) and Peter Jackson managed to get hold of the rights some time ago, but other projects have pushed them out. He's hoping that by 2010 he'll be moving forward with some other projects after TinTin and The Hobbit work is completed, or at least complete enough for him to move forward with something else, and that something else is Temeraire.
"What I'm thinking of with Temeraire, and I'm certainly happy to share it with you... it's only really my very initial, early stages…
That's the upfront caveat that comes with what Peter Jackson said to AICN, it's early stages and he's just talking out loud at the moment without even a single deal in place, but the out loud stuff suggests something very different for him and for Naomi Novik's novels:
"She's now starting to whisper to me that she's going to be writing 9 books in the Temeraire series. I can't see any degree of common sense in trying to mount them one at a time as feature films. To me the stories, having read the first ones, already work as this continuing, on-going saga, so I'm thinking 'Is there a marketplace out there yet for a large budget mini-series?'"…
…I'm thinking is there actually a market out there that'd give us the budget to do this properly and allow us to shoot this as a 6, 7 or 8 part series where we have freedom, we have great production values and are able to tackle it as the epic saga that it deserves.
He's questioning the validity of making film after film of this series, and if it wouldn't be better suited to the television episodic format, something that would be new to him and has proven to work well with such epic stories lately.
"What I would do is I'd start developing the treatment, I'd start to break the storylines down to see if we can structure it in that way. I've already started to do designs. I've had Weta Workshop do a lot of work on designing the characters... the dragons... I've been working with Gus Hunter on the designs. We're well underway creating the visual look."
He's very clear that the work hasn't begun on the script to see if it would work as a film series or as a mini-series, or even just as one film, that work is still to come. However the question remains, would Temeraire work as a mini-series? I certainly know I'd like to see Peter Jackson make a mini-series, that's for sure.