Sarah McIntyre (jabberworks) wrote,
Sarah McIntyre

2016 news flash: mortal engines, the film, is really happening!

I’ve been running about on stage at various book festivals and wearing flamboyant costumes with my co-author Philip Reeve for several years now. We talk about our books together, but if we invite the audience to ask questions, there’s often one that pops up: ‘Is there any news about Peter Jackson turning Mortal Engines into a film?’

But ten years since the film was first discussed, Reeve has a new answer: YES. Peter Jackson IS going to make a Mortal Engines film!

Photo by Sarah Reeve

You can read Philip's new blog post about it here. Cue mega-excitement among long-time fans! And Scholastic UK’s decision to reissue David Frankland’s original covers for an anniversary edition really starts to make sense. From what I understand, it will be shot in New Zealand, with a script by Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh. Christian Rivers will be directing, and it's first film but he was an assistant director on The Lord of the Rings and King Kong, so he'll know his stuff.

mortal engines
Covers by David Frankland

Some links to breaking news, starting with Peter Jackson's Facebook page, follewed by:


I couldn’t be more pleased; those books are so amazing that when I read them, and got to know about Philip and his understanding of illustration, I knew I had to work with this guy. I started by reading the three Mortal Engines prequel books: Fever Crumb, A Web of Air, and Scrivener’s Moon.

fever crumb trilogy

And like everyone who loves these books, I knew they’d make terrific film material. I'm very curious to find out who they'll cast as Hester Shaw. She's not your standard Hollywood ingenue, but horribly disfigured from a childhood attack, with one eye and no nose. I wonder if the film will be able to be true to that disfigurement or if the film team will feel they need to make her more traditionally pretty for audiences to warm to her.

It’s been 15 years since Mortal Engines was published, and nearly twenty five years since Philip started writing them. He's written a lot of strong books since then, including Here Lies Arthur, which won the Carnegie Medal. Many of his books touch on a similar theme, large inhabited things that move from place to place: the planets of Larklight, the Rambling Isles of Oliver and the Seawigs, the ship full of sleeping colonists in Cakes in Space, and now his most recent books, Railhead and Black Light Express, have marvellous trains that travel from world to world.


One of the characters readers grow most fond of in the Mortal Engines books is a robotically reanimated corpse named Shrike (or Grike in the USA). That doesn't sound very cuddly, but Philip has a knack for making his robots remarkably sympathetic outsiders. In the Railhead books, my favourite characters are an android named Nova and the sentient trains, with their own voices that travel the full scale of highly amusing to heart-wrenching.

Railhead artwork by Ian McQue

One of the good things about Mortal Engines being around for fifteen years without a movie adaptation is that a lot of concept artists and illustration students have been able to use it as an inspiration, producing some magnificent work. Check out Philip's blog for some gorgeous images.

Mortal Engines fan art by Jaguar Lee

You can follow Philip Reeve’s news on his website and blog
Twitter: @philipreeve1 (hashtag #MortalEngines)
Philip Reeve's Facebook Author Page
Reeve & McIntyre's Facebook page
Tags: reeve

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