Universal Pictures has pulled back the curtains on Mortal Engines, a steampunk fantasy film presented by Peter Jackson. Jackson is also responsible for the film’s screenplay alongside writing partners Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, the trio behind The Lord of the Rings.
Mortal Engines promises to be one of the biggest special effects spectacles of the year, and ahead of the release, we chatted with director Christian Rivers about the challenges of creating the movie's villain, the hero's facial scars and the mobile cities. Watch the video interview down below after learning more about the YA adaptation.
Here's everything we know about Mortal Engines:
What’s the movie about?
Based on Philip Reeve’s series of the same name, Mortal Engines has one of the craziest concepts I’ve heard of in some time. Here’s the official synopsis: "Many years after the ‘Sixty Minute War,' cities survive a now desolate Earth by moving around on giant wheels attacking and devouring smaller towns to replenish their resources."
Yeah, you read that right. Metropolises are driving around the post-apocalyptic neighborhood gobbling up villages! This insane feat has already led some to describe it as Howl’s Moving Castle meets Mad Max: Fury Road. Um, yes please! It also reminds me of Snowpiercer, a story wherein the survivors of a climate-change experiment are all passengers on a train that travels around the frozen world. Big ideas can be realized on the big screen with the right team.
Who is in the movie?
Icelandic actress Hera Hilmar (pictured above) plays Hester Shaw, a resident of a small mining town called Salthook. You may have seen Hilmar in Joe Wright’s Anna Karenina or the TV series Da Vinci’s Demons. A starring role in Mortal Engines could be just the trick to catapult her career to new heights.
Hugo Weaving, Stephen Lang, Robert Sheehan and JiHAE co-star. Weaving plays a ruthless leader who wields far too much power for his own good, or for the benefit of anyone else, as heroic assassin Hera Hilmar and lower-class historian Robert Sheehan quickly discover to their dismay.
Who is directing?
Christian Rivers. He is a fellow Kiwi and longtime collaborator with Peter Jackson. Rivers has storyboarded all of Jackson’s live-action films since Dead Alive, including both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. Additionally, he has worked on the visual effects for many of Jackson’s films. Mortal Engines is River’s feature-length directorial debut. His unique background has undoubtedly prepared him for imagining a sci-fi fantasy film of this magnitude.
When does it come out?
Mortal Engines rolls into theaters on December 14, 2018.
What were some of the movie's visual effects challenges?
Watch Rivers discuss three major tasks the movie's VFX artists had to achieve:
Can we see a trailer?
A few trailers have been released for Mortal Engines. This is the latest, an action-packed spot that teases an epic scope for the movie:
The previous trailer, released in June, revealed Hugo Weaving to be playing a very evil character:
Finally, here is the movie's original teaser from last December. This spot showcases the crazy premise and why this is the right team for this cinematic adventure.