The Peter Jackson-produced Mortal Engines is headed to New York Comic Con 2018 for a panel that Andy Serkis will moderate. While Serkis wasn't involved with the making of Mortal Engines, he's far from a stranger when it comes to Jackson's projects. The actor famously portrayed Gollum in both Jackson's Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies and played multiple roles (including, that of Kong himself) in Jackson's 2005 King Kong remake. Serkis further cut his teeth as a second unit director on The Hobbit movies before he started making films himself.
Mortal Engines is based on the book series by Philip Reeve, which itself takes place in a post-apocalyptic setting where cities have (literally) gone mobile and roam the earth battling other traction towns for resources and supplies. Jackson had originally planned to direct the film, but ended up passing helming duties on to his trusted (and Oscar-winning) storyboard artist and VFX guru, Christian Rivers. Nevertheless, Jackson still wrote the film with his partners Philippa Boyens and Fran Walsh and oversaw parts of the second unit production.
According to Deadline, Serkis will moderate a NYCC 2018 panel for Mortal Engines that features Rivers, Jackson, Walsh and Boyens, as well as the film's stars Hera Hilmar, Robbie Sheehan, Stephen Lang, Jihae, Leila George and Hugo Weaving. In addition to interviews with the movie's cast and crew, the Mortal Engines NYCC panel will unveil the first eight minutes from the actual film. Jackson expressed his own excitement about Serkis moderating the event with the following statement:
“I’ve always found the moderators of these panels to be very good when I’ve been part of them at Comic Con, but we just thought it would give it a slightly different vibe if it was someone in the family. Andy knows me and Christian and Philippa and Fran very well. He’s not involved in the film, so the movie’s fresh for him, but he understands the process, and how we make these films. We thought his questions might be more focused on his understanding of how we do things, rather than a moderator who comes in cold and doesn’t know a thing.”
Jackson went on to sing Serkis' praises and expressed his pride that the actor has turned to directing films of his own, including the upcoming literary adaptations Mowgli and Animal Farm (both of which are being released by Netflix). Serkis was similarly complimentary in his own statement and referred to Jackson and his collaborators as his "dear friends" - adding that "to celebrate the arrival of their feverishly anticipated, behemoth piece of character driven, world building magic... is beyond thrilling.”
Although Mortal Engines is an adaptation of fairly popular source material, it's not generated the hype that other late 2018 releases have and, thus, stands to benefit from a good showing at NYCC more than other films at the event. Jackson and his production team have a long history of being all too eager and willing to explain how they work their cinematic magic, so the Mortal Engines panel itself should be just as enlightening as it is (hopefully) entertaining. Those attending NYCC this year may want to try and find room in their schedule to check out the event (which will take place on Friday, October 5), for those same reasons.
New York Comic Con 2018 takes place next week from October 4-7.
- Mortal Engines (2018) release date: Dec 14, 2018