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Peter Jackson ready for 'King Kong'

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Hollywood Reporter) -- New Zealander Peter Jackson has gone from making movies as a hobby to making movies about hobbits -- films that have helped him forge a filmmaking empire in New Zealand and build a reputation in Hollywood for pulling off the impossible.

On the eve of maybe landing his most precious prize yet -- an Oscar for directing "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King," the last film in the "Rings" trilogy -- Jackson spoke with The Hollywood Reporter.

THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: Will making a single movie like "King Kong" seem anticlimactic after "The Lord of the Rings"?

PETER JACKSON: From a logistical point of view, a single movie is much easier, but the main creative challenge of writing a good script and making a good movie remains as difficult as ever. I do think that having the experience of three huge films back-to-back behind us has given the "LOTR" crew and craftspeople a confidence that we can take on any project.

THR: What key challenges does its filming present?

JACKSON: Writing the script is always the most critical and difficult job. The actual filming shouldn't be too tricky once we assemble a great cast. Creating a strong emotional presence of Kong himself will be a challenge since he obviously won't be joining us on set.

THR: How will your "King Kong" differ from the original and the first remake?

JACKSON: It's based on the 1933 movie, and we will follow that basic plot and narrative structure. We will obviously be writing much more depth into the characters -- approaching it as a drama rather than fantasy. We pretend the 1976 version doesn't exist.

THR: Did you ever think "Rings" would become the phenomenon it is, and what has surprised you about its success?

JACKSON: No. Even dreaming of this kind of success is something you just don't do during production. It would jinx it! We were all hoping New Line would get its money back, and we worked very hard to try and achieve that. If that happened, we would hopefully get to make other films.

I have been surprised by how many non-Tolkien readers we have now converted. Having young kids plow their way through his rather difficult books is something I'm proud to have inspired.

THR: What do you most regret you couldn't achieve with "Rings"?

JACKSON: I don't have regrets -- only a rather stunned disbelief at what has transpired. Ask me in five years.



Copyright 2004 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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