Peter Jackson made a name for himself in fantasy bringing the Lord of the Rings books to life, and now he’s set to produce another visually impressive adaptation. Mortal Engines is set in a far future, where cities have become mobile and travel the world.
While the project was previously announced, Variety has now reported just who will be starring in the film. According to the outlet, Robert Sheehan (Fortitude) and Ronan Raftery (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) have been cast in the film. Sheehan will take on the lead character Tom Natsworthy while Raftery will be in a supporting role.
Jackson won’t be directing this film, as those duties have gone to The Hobbit trilogy second unit director, Christian Rivers. However, Jackson will co-write the screenplay with his usual suspects of Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens who will also produce the film. Zane Weiner (The Lord of the Ring / The Hobbit trilogies), Amanda Walker (The Hobbit), and Deborah Forte (The Golden Compass) are attached as producers as well.
Should this film be successful we can look forward to at least three more sequels (Predator’s Gold, Infernal Devices, and A Darkling Plain) that make up the quartet of novels. This being a YA series of novels there is also the possibility of the last book being split in two. Hopefully, after the disastrous release of The Divergent Series: Allegiant, that trend is being nipped in the bud. That said, the producers are the same people who thought The Hobbit could be stretched out to three films.
Hollywood has cooled on adapting YA novels into big budget films but there is enough imaginative material in Mortal Engines to work with. Instead of treating the story as YA (with all of the trappings that come with those adaptations) they should just focus on making the best PG-13 film they can. Let’s not forget that The Lord of the Rings trilogy carried that rating but no one thinks of those as YA films.
Production for Mortal Engines is slated to begin in New Zealand this spring. The film will premiere in theaters on December 14, 2018. Here’s the synopsis for the story:
Earth’s cities now roam the globe on huge wheels, devouring each other in a struggle over diminishing resources. On one of these massive Traction Cities, Tom Natsworthy has an unexpected encounter with a mysterious young woman from the Outlands, who will change the course of his life forever.