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While Peter Jackson didn't actually direct the new movie Mortal Engines -- that duty belonging to Christian Rivers -- he did have a huge hand in its creation. After all, he's not only credited for producing the film, but also co-wrote the script with long-time collaborators Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens. That's not all, however, as it turns out that he also made significant contributions to the production design, as I recently learned from star Robert Sheehan,
It must be said as well, a lot of the exhibits in the London museum were Peter Jackson's actual stuff. Because he's a real history buff, he collect stuff from like Bronze Age and the Iron Age. He had this like the wooden skeleton of an old World War I plane, that was just hanging there, and he was wandering around going, 'Yeah, that's mine. That's my stuff there.'
Sitting down with Mortal Engines stars Robert Sheehan and Leila George last week, one question I asked was about all of the special details in the production design that audiences may not immediately pick up on without looking for them. While discussing the expansive London Museum set featured in the movie, Sheehan revealed that a number of the items were actually on loan from Peter Jackson, who evidently has a personal collection stocked with all kinds of historical items.
In Mortal Engines, the London Museum is essentially an archive that displays all kinds of artifacts from the world that existed before the Sixty Minute War -- a human-driven cataclysmic/apocalyptic event that totally changed life on Earth and led to societies boarding giant mechanized cities. Not all of the items are properly labeled, leading to some major inaccuracies, but there is a wide range of items featured, from video game systems to Segways. And while we can't say for sure exactly which items belong to Peter Jackson, it can be a fun guessing game for fans watching the movie.
The Easter eggs apparently don't stop there, however, as the actors also pointed out a recurring aesthetic theme in Mortal Engines: the design presence of lions. According to Leila George and Robert Sheehan, they can be found all over the place in the film, just waiting to be noticed by audiences:
Leila George: The lions. There's lions everywhere. I know that they're there, but there's lions everywhere in the film. Oh, and then you've got... tell him about the lions in the museum.
Robert Sheehan: In the London museum where Tom works there's a sculpture of a lion, this beautiful... like the lions in the front of the city with a placard that says 'These majestic beasts used to roam the earth.' You know, like there's these mythological creatures. It's very despairing, you know. I hope that's not going to happen, where we kill all the lions.
Sadly that does actually sound a lot like the world we currently live in, as I pointed out during the interview, but let's not dwell on it.
You can watch my interview with Robert Sheehan and Leila George below -- just click play on the video embed!