Jackson, Peter


Jackson, Peter
▪ 2004

      During 2003 Peter Jackson joined a very exclusive group, the so-called 20/20 club. For producing, directing, and writing a remake of King Kong, he and his team would be paid $20 million against 20% of gross receipts—a deal usually associated only with A-list movie stars. Jackson had wanted to film his interpretation of the classic story ever since he first saw the 1933 version when he was nine years old, and his tremendous critical and financial success with The Lord of the Rings trilogy—which both pleased devotees of the Middle Earth saga and provided quality entertainment for those unfamiliar with J.R.R. Tolkien's epic fantasy tale and in so doing grossed billions of dollars—paved the way for him to realize this dream. King Kong was to be filmed in 2004 and released in 2005.

      Jackson was born on Oct. 31, 1961, in Pukerua Bay, North Island, N.Z. When he was eight years old, his parents bought an 8-mm movie camera, and he began making short films, using his own inventiveness to create the special effects. At 17 he began working as a photoengraver. When he had saved enough money, he bought a used 16-mm camera and, with his friends, began work on what started out to be another short film. It kept growing, however, and, with the aid of a grant from the New Zealand Film Commission, was finally completed in 1987. Bad Taste won acclaim at the Cannes Film Festival and went on to become a cult horror classic. Jackson followed up with Meet the Freebles (1989), which featured puppets and people in animal suits engaging in the seamier aspects of human behaviour, and the zombie film Braindead (1992; U.S. title, Dead Alive), which won numerous international science-fiction awards and was said by some to be the goriest film ever made. He then turned to a real-life incident for Heavenly Creatures (1994), about two teenage girls who kill one girl's mother. Its screenplay garnered Academy Award nominations for Jackson and Frances Walsh, his partner and the mother of his two children. The mock documentary Forgotten Silver (1995) and the ghost story The Frighteners (1996) followed.

      For The Lord of the Rings, Jackson took the unprecedented step of shooting all three installments simultaneously, over a 15-month period in New Zealand, the location of all his movies. The first of the three, The Fellowship of the Ring, was released in December 2001; the second, The Two Towers, followed in December 2002; and the third, The Return of the King, opened in December 2003.

Barbara Whitney

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▪ Australian boxer
born July 3, 1861, St. Croix, Virgin Islands
died July 13, 1901, Roma, Queensland, Australia

      an outstanding professional boxer. A victim of racial discrimination (Jackson was black), he was denied a chance to fight for the world heavyweight championship while in his prime.

      Jackson won the Australian heavyweight championship in 1886 and the British Empire title in 1892. On May 21, 1891, in San Francisco, he fought a 61-round draw with Gentleman Jim Corbett (Corbett, James J.), who would later, in 1892, win the world heavyweight title from John L. Sullivan (Sullivan, John L.). On March 22, 1898, Jackson, who was 36 years old and had not fought for six years except for a few exhibition matches, was knocked out in three rounds by James Jackson Jeffries (Jeffries, James Jackson). As a consequence of this victory and his subsequent knockout of Bob Fitzsimmons (Fitzsimmons, Robert) (June 9, 1899), Jeffries is retrospectively considered by many to have been the first true world heavyweight champion under the Queensberry (Marquess of Queensberry rules) rules.

▪ New Zealand director
born Oct. 31, 1961, Pukerua Bay, North Island, N.Z
 
 New Zealand director, perhaps best known for his film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien (Tolkien, J.R.R.)'s The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

      When Jackson was eight years old, his parents bought an 8-mm movie camera, and he began making short films. He later purchased a used 16-mm camera and, with his friends, began work on what started out to be another short film. It kept growing, however, and, with the aid of a grant from the New Zealand Film Commission, Bad Taste was released in 1987. The movie won acclaim at the Cannes film festival and went on to become a cult horror classic.

      Jackson followed up with Meet the Feebles (1989), which features puppets and people in animal suits engaging in the seamier aspects of human behaviour, and the zombie film Braindead (1992; U.S. title, Dead Alive), which won numerous international science fiction awards and was said by some to be the goriest film ever made. He then turned to a real-life incident for Heavenly Creatures (1994), about two teenage girls who kill one girl's mother. Its screenplay garnered Academy Award nominations for Jackson and Frances Walsh, his partner. The mock documentary Forgotten Silver (1995) and the ghost story The Frighteners (1996) followed.

 For The Lord of the Rings, Jackson took the unprecedented step of shooting all three installments simultaneously, over a 15-month period in New Zealand, the location of all his movies. In addition to directing the films, he also cowrote the screenplays. The three movies—The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Two Towers (2002), and The Return of the King (2003)—were both critically and commercially successful. Jackson received Academy Awards for best director and for best adapted screenplay (which he shared with Walsh and Philippa Boyens) for The Return of the King, which won a total of 11 Oscars, including best picture. He next directed and cowrote a remake of King Kong (2005).
 

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Universalium. 2010.

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