Name: Peter Jackson
Date of Birth: 31/10/1961
Place of Birth: Pukerua Bay, New Zealand
Marital Status: Married to Frances Walsh
Bad Taste (1987)
Meet the Feebles (1989)
Braindead (aka Dead Alive) (1992)
Heavenly Creatures (1994)
Forgotten Silver (1995)
The Frighteners (1996)
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
Peter Jackson was born on Halloween 1961 in a small coastal town in New Zealand. His parents bought a small super 8 movie camera around Christmas 1969, which the then 8 year old Peter began filming with. His first step towards serious filmmaking came when he entered a local amateur film contest. For this he used stop motion techniques (which would feature in his early feature films) to create a monster that ruins a city - it didn't win the contest.
Peter continued making short films with friends and, with the help of a job at the Evening Post, he bought a Bolex 16 mm camera in 1983. He immediately started filming and later that year started work on a short called Roast of the Day. The ideas for the work quickly ballooned the project to feature film length and Bad Taste was born. Peter did nearly everything (direction, editing, production, special effects, script, acting...) involved with making the film and most of the budget came from his job (the New Zealand film commission helped out towards the end). The film was shot mostly at weekends over a four year period and cast and crew consisted entirely of Peter and his friends.
In 1987, the New Zealand film commission took the film to Cannes where critics and audiences alike were taken with the outlandish plot, bizarre humour and gratuitous gore. The film was immediately sold to 30 coutries and returned its costs in a few days. During the making of Bad Taste, Peter met his future wife, Frances Walsh, with whom he started to write a script about zombies. Influenced by such classics as George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead, Peter had always wanted to make a zombie movie, but realized that the budget needed to make the film he wanted to make was still not quite within his grasp. More commercial success was necessary first.
And so Peter wrote a script with his friend Danny Mulheron called Meet the Feebles. Released in 1989, I can honestly say this is the single strangest film I have ever seen. Using Muppet Show style puppets but dealing with violence, drug addiction and sexually transmitted diseases, the movie is certainly unique. Successful screenings at a few international film festivals paved the way for Peter's zombie movie to be made.
In 1991, the making of Braindead began. It was to be Peter Jackson's breakthrough film. With a fairly slow (but still hilarious) first half and a must-be-seen-to-be-believed second half (I have read, but can't confirm, that Braindead still holds the record for most fake blood used in a movie), the film was given a worldwide release (it was renamed Dead Alive (with most of the good bits cut out) in the US) and received much critical acclaim for its mix of comedy and horror. Peter Jackson had arrived as a universally respected director.
Peter's next film, Heavenly Creatures, was a big departure for him. Not a bizarre/comedy/splatter movie, it was in fact a true story about two New Zealand teenagers, whose obsessive relationship drives them to murder. Boasting Kate Winslet in the cast, the movie gave Peter his first Oscar nomination, for Best Screenplay.
In 1995, New Zealand TV screened a documentary called Forgotten Silver about a New Zealander called Colin McKenzie who had invented colour film, sound in movies and had managed to film a man flying an airplane nine months before the Wright brothers, but through sheer bad luck had never managed to hit the limelight. Taken at face value by the majority of the New Zealand population, the documentary was in fact a mockumentary made by Peter Jackson about a man who had never existed.
At this point, Peter was contacted by Robert Zemeckis and asked to write a script for a Tales from the Crypt movie. Peter and Frances finished a draft in a couple of weeks and sent it over. Zemeckis liked the script so much, he wanted to make it into a big budget 'proper' movie and so came The Frighteners. Despite Michael J. Fox as lead and good reviews, the movie really didn't do as well as expected which is a shame as it has a nice script and is very well directed.
It was about this point that Peter was approached to write a script for the remake of King Kong. One of his favourite films, he jumped at the chance and was also being given the chance to direct. Unfortunately, the film was denied a greenlight as similar remakes were in the pipeline, such as Attack of the 50-foot Woman.
Then the whole Lord of the Rings thing happened.
Peter devoted three years of his life (at least) to the Lord of the Rings project and is now seeing the results. Absolutely unanimous acclaim, four Oscars (although, disgracefully, none of the major ones) and presumably a large sack of money. The trilogy has been completed and Peter now has his eye on that King Kong remake again...
the great imdb.com