Peter Jackson is finally moving forward with Mortal Engines, with his long-time collaborator Christian Rivers directing.

The New Zealand filmmaker is adapting Philip Reeve’s novel into a big screen production, having first gained the rights to the book years ago but never finding the “right time” to begin work on it. Jackson has penned the script with Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, with whom he worked on both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, and the movie marks Rivers’ first major directing stint.

In a lengthy Facebook post, Jackson shared the exciting news with fans.

“Hi Folks, it’s been a quiet few months, but I’m very happy to tell you that our next project is now underway. WingNut Films be producing a feature film based on Philip Reeve’s book Mortal Engines, to be directed by Christian Rivers,” he wrote. "Some of you may recall that Christian was going to direct the Dambusters (sic) a few years back."

Rivers has worked with Jackson frequently over the past two decades, including providing visual effects for the filmmaker’s 2005 film King Kong, which won Rivers an Oscar. Talk of a remake of 1955 WWII film The Dam Busters has been rife for around 10 years now and Jackson confirmed in his post that it will go ahead in the future. But for now they’re focusing on Mortal Engines, the first in a series of four books by Reeve.

“If you haven’t read the books, you should. They present a stunning look into the future, when all of Earth’s major cities are now mounted on wheels, roaming across the landscape as massive ‘Traction Cities’,” he explained, with Mortal Engines focusing on a "steampunk” version of London struggling to survive as the world runs out of resources. “The moment we read these novels, we knew what exciting movies they’d make. I literally can’t wait to see them!”

He concluded by stating MRC and Universal are financing the project, with Zane Weiner, Amanda Walker and Deborah Forte joining Jackson and Walsh as producers. Meanwhile, Jackson’s longtime manager Ken Kamins will be executive producer, with Boyens serving as co-producer.

Production begins in New Zealand in March 2017.

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