The Press Online
August 28, 1998

Jackson Says Academic's View Narrow
Press Reporter

WELLINGTON -- Criticism by Massey University academic Keith Beattie reflects a narrow view of how New Zealand film should be, director Peter Jackson says.

Dr Beattie said Jackson's $264 million project to make a Lord of the Rings trilogy in New Zealand was a "double-sided coin".

"On the one side is the positive spin-off financially, but on the other we risk displacing local films with Hollywood films made here," Dr Beattie said.

Hollywood had already creamed New Zealand talent in the form of directors Geoff Murphy and Lee Tamahori, he said. While Jackson remained in New Zealand, "he had to be seen today as basically the maker of 'Hollywood' films."

Jackson said a broader view was needed on New Zealand film. "I can't help but feel it's a little bit of that whole Kiwi low esteem thing that we've been renowned for," Jackson said yesterday.

"That if you're in New Zealand writing a book you shouldn't write about anything but New Zealand, or if you're painting a landscape don't paint anything but a New Zealand landscape.

"We're all grown up and live in the world and we should have a slightly broader view."

Jackson's project, which he has already been working on for 18 months, will involve largely New Zealand film crews, actors, and equipment with funding from the backers, Los Angeles-based New Line Cinema.

Jackson said that Dr Beattie was "implying a threat and I don't quite understand what the threat is."

"Lord of the Rings being made here for one is not displacing or stopping New Zealand films being made ...

"This is me being a guy who wants to make Lord of the Rings, which is not Hollywood ... it's not an American story, it's a British fairy tale based in Middle-Earth. It's not anybody's culture, it's a piece of fantasy that belongs to the entire world."