Director saying goodbye to Tolkien trilogy

— A shaggy-haired, wooly-bearded Kiwi filmmaker is at the end of his epic journey.

Peter Jackson has spent more than seven years developing, shooting and finishing the hugely successful trilogy of J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings."

AP: Is this a happy ending in real life? The movies are finally finished, but now it's time to say goodbye.

Jackson: We've now done what we've set out to do, which is make the trilogy of films. But it's strange. It's bittersweet. We didn't want to end the friendships. It's a moment we all dread.

AP: "Return of the King" is about 3 hours, 20 minutes long. Yet you cut a lot ... How do you decide what goes?

Jackson: The process of trimming a film down is brutal. You always end up cutting scenes that you absolutely love, cutting scenes that a few weeks earlier you said to yourself 'I'm never going to cut that!' But ultimately, every scene has to justify its existence.

AP: Why do the extended edition DVDs, which add as much as 40 minutes back into the previous movies?

Jackson: For the fans who want to see more detail and are not so concerned with the momentum. ... We're basically putting scenes back in which we know on some level are destroying the momentum of the story, making it slow right down, which is why we took them out in the first place. But DVD seems to be a medium that allows you to do a certain amount of that. You have it in your living room, you can pause it, you can make a cup of tea, you can watch it over two nights. It's a more forgiving environment to watch film in.

AP: There's curiosity now about whether anyone will film Tolkien's prequel, "The Hobbit." Are you interested in directing that someday?

Jackson: I'd be happy to. It would be strange for somebody else to do it. And I also think to do justice to "The Hobbit" it would be great to bring some of the same actors back. I think it would be a cool thing to have the continuity of the design and the look and feel of the world and use whatever actors we're able to repeat.

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