Peter Robert Jackson (born October 31, 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 Weta Workshop, the special effects company responsible for The Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, and Avatar. 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
- The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
- The Two Towers (2002)
- The Return of the King (2003)
- 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
- Mortal Engines (2018)
Tropes associated with Peter Jackson's work
- Badass Beard: To the point where when he shaved it to play a gunner in King Kong he was so unrecognizable that his family shelved his idea of keeping it off for a little while.
- 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.
- 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.
- Determinator: Goodness gracious, yes. In addition to being a largely self-taught film-maker, the efforts he goes through for some of his films are astounding.note
- Doing It for the Art: Rather than money, he's very motivated by projects that he finds interesting.
- Executive Meddling: He’s 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.
- Genre Blind: In one occasion (to be fair, this was in the 1980's) he failed to see why a Japanese distributor would be interested in Meet the Feebles.
- 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.
- Nice Guy: As quoted by friend and fellow Bad Taste star Mike Minett; "The rest of us were into sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll, but Peter was just this nice, adorable guy who loved his mum and dad and was really into making movies."
- One of Us:
- 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.