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Wednesday, 28 November, 2001, 13:22 GMT
Jackson 'delighted' to direct Rings
The Lord of the Rings: Rich in 'spectacle'
By BBC arts correspondent Rosie Millard

Millions of people are excitedly awaiting the release of the first Lord of the Rings movie - but few more so than its director Peter Jackson.

"I waited a long, long time for someone to make a movie of The Lord of the Rings," says Jackson.

"Now I am delighted and extremely honoured that I was the person to make it."

Jackson's movie Fellowship of the Rings is an adaptation of the first book from fantasy writer JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Peter Jackson
Peter Jackson: Always wanted to make the film

But it has long been known that Jackson made all three books into films before releasing the first.

And, he says, he had no problem finding enthusiasm for such an epic project.

"The Lord of the Rings is such a great a story and is ultimately very cinematic. It has everything that you could want in a movie," says the director.

"But we also absolutely respect the book. It has spectacle and epic scale but it is ultimately so intimate."

Mythology

Tolkien wrote his fantasy about goblins, hobbits and dwarfs in the 1940s, publishing it in the 1950s.

Some critics have suggested that, despite the popularity of Tolkien's global best-seller, on screen its story might seem outdated.

However Jackson says he is confident he has found the right approach to adapting Tolkien's work.

Sean Astin and Elijah Wood
Sean Astin and Elijah Wood play hobbits Sam and Frodo

"We haven't gone out of our way to make this a fantasy film - just as Tolkien didn't really think of this as fantasy," Jackson explains.

"He made this as a mythology for Britain. He mourned the fact that unlike places such as Scandinavia, Britain didn't really have an ancient mythology.

"We have set out to try to honour that and try to make it more an historical, rather than fantasy, film."

Indeed, Tolkien's epic is almost a legend in itself, or so its many fans would say. It is their excitement about Jackson's film that has put it in the "highly-anticipated" category.

New Zealand

Yet, says the director, the very popularity of his project has also proved difficult.

"Lord of the Rings had a disadvantage for us in that everyone knew the story. But we wanted to have as many surprises as possible," says Jackson.

The Lord of the Rings
The film must carry a warning for under-eights in the UK

"Controlling what the world knows about and sees from the film has been very important to the experience of going to see the movie in December."

What we do know is that Fellowship of the Rings has been filmed in Jackson's native land New Zealand.

We also know that it stars Sir Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Liv Tyler and Elijah Wood.

And when the film finally hits cinema screens on 19 December it could well be as big a hit as Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Rosie Millard
talks to Peter Jackson
See also:

16 Nov 01 | Film
Rise of the blockbuster
15 May 01 | Film
Cannes preview for Rings
16 Nov 01 | Sci/Tech
Digital effects bring Rings to life
11 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Online fans await Tolkien tale
02 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Hobbit soldiers 'not exploited'
18 Jul 01 | New Media
Lord of the Rings goes mobile
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