Co-written and produced by Peter Jackson, Mortal Engines is the directorial debut of Jackson’s longtime collaborator Christian Rivers, who served as a visual effects supervisor and splinter unit director on many of the Lord of the Rings filmmaker’s projects. The film is based on Philip Reeve’s 2001 novel of the same name, which spawned three sequels.
The film is set thousands of years after much of the world was destroyed in an apocalyptic event (known as the “Sixty Minute War” in the novels), during a period in which most of humanity now lives in cities built atop massive engines. The cities are driven around the various continents in search of dwindling resources, and larger cities chase down and consume the smaller cities they encounter.
Misfits actor Robert Sheehan plays a resident of London, one of the most gigantic “traction cities” in existence, whose life is forever changed when he crosses paths with a dangerous fugitive played by Da Vinci’s Demons actress Hera Hilmar. The supporting cast includes Lord of the Rings actor Hugo Weaving, as well as South Korean singer and actress Jihae, Stephen Lang (Avatar), Ronan Raftery (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them), Leila George (Mother, May I Sleep With Danger?), and Patrick Malahide (Game of Thrones).
Although Mortal Engines will be Rivers’ feature directorial debut, the talented filmmaker already has an Academy Award for his visual effects work on Jackson’s 2005 remake of King Kong. The script for the film was co-written by Lord of the Rings screenwriters Jackson, Philippa Boyens, and Fran Walsh.
First published in 2001, Mortal Engines went on to win the prestigious Nestlé Smarties Book Prize and was on the shortlist for the 2002 Whitbread Award. The book was followed by the sequels Predator’s Gold in 2003, Infernal Devices in 2005, and A Darkling Plain in 2006. The series is collectively known as the “Predator Cities Quartet” by fans, but Reeve has indicated that this isn’t his official name for the series.
Mortal Engines is scheduled to hit theaters December 14, 2018.
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