Posted on Friday, May 1st, 2009 by Brendon Connelly
Update: Entertainment Weekly have spoken to Ken Kamins, Jackson’s manager and received some kind of weak denial. He said: “It sounds like an April Fool’s joke. Peter and Fran are working diligently on The Hobbit for the foreseeable future.” Which is basically equivalent to answering the question “Will you join me for dinner tonight?” by saying “That sounds like you’re hitting me. I’ll be diligently washing my hair for the foreseeable future”. I think Fry may have gotten the wrong end of the stick here, somehow… but that it’s still just about possible there is a stick to get the wrong end of.
Here’s a story I wasn’t expecting to hear today. Even more, I wasn’t expecting to hear it from Stephen Fry.
A popular British radio show with film buffs (and some UK readers of this site, I’ve noticed from the comments) is Simon Mayo’s afternoon slot on BBC Five Live. On a Friday, he features movie reviews and often guests, and today one such guest was none other than the aforementioned Fry. When the conversation came around to the Peter Jackson/Christian Rivers Dambusters remake for which Fry has written the screenplay, he couldn’t reveal much news at all – it sounds like the picture is just in some kind of holding pattern – but he did have some brilliant incidental information about Jackson.
Apparently, there’s a currently standing, fully constructed set of Jerusalem in New Zealand. It was built by “some strange billionaire” for a now aborted religious movie with a supposed Mel Gibson influence. Now the set lies dormant, several New Zealand film makers have been coming up with potential uses. Here’s Fry on one of them:
Fran [Walsh], who is PJ’s wife and writes with him, they’ve come up with this idea called The Christ Must Die in which Nazi zombies go back in time to stop Jesus from being born.
From Fry’s telling, it sounded this is a serious idea on Jackson and Walsh’s part, a film that they will go on to write and produce. Jackson has been promising a return to his splattery roots for a long time now. Or… on the other hand, it might have been a joke that Fry quoted out of context.
Jackson and Walsh would certainly have a long way to go to make something that would outrage, shock and surprise as much as Bad Taste and Brain Dead/Dead Alive did. But combining Christianity with zombies and Nazis would probably get him off to a running start.