Peter Robert Jackson (born 31 October 1961) is a New Zealand director, producer and screenwriter, best known for his hugely successful The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, adapted from the book of the same name. The final movie of the trilogy, The Return of the King, won 11 Academy Awards at the 2004 ceremony to honour films of the previous year, including Best Picture and Best Director. This made him only the fourth person to win Oscars for directing, producing and screenwriting in the same year (joining Billy Wilder, Francis Ford Coppola, and James L. Brooks; this group would be joined four years later by The Coen Brothers). He later directed a prequel trilogy to his The Lord of the Rings magnum opus, The Hobbit, to great success again (if less critical acclaim).
Prior to his work on the trilogy, he already had a cult following for his splatter comediesnote . In 1994, he received his first Oscar nomination for screenwriting for Heavenly Creatures, based on the 1954 Parker-Hulme murder, committed by two teenage girls in Christchurch, New Zealand. His first big budget movie was The Frighteners, starring Michael J. Fox. Unfortunately, the movie wasn't commercially successful. In 2005, he finally fulfilled his dream to remake the 1933 classic King Kong.
In January 2010 he became a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, officially styled Sir Peter Jackson, and later in June 2012 he became an Additional Member of the Order of New Zealand, the country's highest honour.
He owns his own production company, Wingnut Films, and is a prime mover behind the studios Weta Workshop and Weta Digital, the special effects companies responsible for the practical and digital effects in The Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, and Avatar (as well as advancing their mediums in many ways, such as Digi's Massive system for vast digital crowds). He also financed the feature film version of District 9 after being impressed by the original short.
Jackson is known for his macabre sense of humor, his attention to detail, his dedication to the job and his general playful attitude. He is also a noted perfectionist, demanding numerous takes of almost every scene. His work often features multiple camera angles and shots, as well as zooming closeups on characters' faces. He is known for enthusiastically using computer enhancement technology and digital special effects. He also likes to have cameos in his films, and others too; for example, he made an uncredited appearance in Hot Fuzz as a knife-wielding Father Christmas.
His studio has also made a fully functional mermaid's tail prosthetic for Nadia Vessey.
Some of his notable works include:
- Bad Taste (1987)
- Meet the Feebles (1989)
- Braindead (Released in the U.S. as Dead Alive) (1992)
- Heavenly Creatures (1994)
- Forgotten Silver (1995) (Co-directed with Costa Botes)
- The Frighteners (1996)
- The Lord of the Rings
- King Kong (2005)
- District 9 (2009) (Produced, not directed by him)
- The Lovely Bones (2009)
- The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn (2011) (Produced it, directed by Steven Spielberg)
- The Hobbit
- They Shall Not Grow Old (2018) (World War I documentary)
- Mortal Engines (2018) (Produced and co-wrote, but not directed by him)
- Let It Be (2019) (Recut of the footage and audio recorded for the original film)
- The Beatles: Get Back (2021) (Documentary about the making of the album Let It Be)
Tropes associated with Peter Jackson's work
- Copiously Credited Creator: While he still directs, writes and produces, his early work also had Jackson as editor, cinematographer and helping with the effects (Bad Taste also had him acting).
- Creator Cameo: Usually in all of his films, bar Bad Taste.
- Creator Couple: His wife Fran Walsh has been a co-writer and co-producer on all his films, with the exception of Bad Taste, and provided the voice of the Nazgul in Lord of the Rings.
- Creator Thumbprint
- The Morris Minor or one of its variants appears in most of the director's early films.
- He has a penchant for shooting close-ups with very wide angle lenses.
- Lots and lots of blood and guts, Played for Laughs as much as for drama.
- His productions base the creature design of creepy-crawlies and monsters on the native wildlife of his home country, New Zealand.
- Transparent Green Ghosts that look like half-mummified corpses.
- His favourite film is King Kong (1933), and he references it in his other movies.
- Cameos for himself, his children, and Jed Brophy.
- Descended Creator: In Bad Taste he's one of the primary characters, Derek, since he'd run out of people to help and figured that he knew he'd show up to film.
- Doing It for the Art: Rather than money, he's very motivated by projects that he finds interesting.
- Executive Meddling: Hes had to deal with it twice. First on The Lord of the Rings and then again on The Hobbit, which because of this trope had a Troubled Production.
- Gorn: Bad Taste and Braindead are practically dripping with blood and guts, often in a comical manner. Even his PG-13 movies are quite violent, what with all the flying body parts in Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit and people eaten alive by monsters in King Kong.
- This led to The Battle of the Five Armies Extended Edition getting slapped with an R rating.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: His films differentiate. King Kong and Meet the Feebles are more on the cynical end. The Lord of the Rings trilogy however is heavily idealistic like the books. Some of his earlier films could be somewhere in the middle.
- Uncredited Role: He had a brief uncredited cameo in Hot Fuzz as the knife-wielding Santa Claus.