'Interview' with Peter Jackson - A Funny Look Back over the Last Year


The Man, the Myth, the Legend: Peter Jackson!
The following 'interview' was posted to the Messageboard. I hope it makes you smile as much as it did to the rest of us.

The following 'interview' was 'conducted' by Whistler.

The following is a satire, which means that a certain amount of freedom was made with the facts at hand.

ME:
Well, Mr. Jackson, I must say that it's a real treat to be able to chat with you. When I answered the knock on my door this morning, you're the last person I expected to see! And thanks for the fruitcake.

PJ:
Call me PJ. Maybe we just met, but I consider us friends. I consider myself a friend to everyone who loves Middle earth. And I have more fruitcake, if you want it.

ME:
No, that's okay. Hey, where are my leaves? Did you rake my leaves?

PJ:
Yes. Can I wash your car now? Really, I'd love to wash your car. I'd love to wash ALL the cars of ALL the people who love Middle-earth. As a way of showing my respect, I mean. You people are my heroes. I'm honored by the chance to please you, all of you.

ME:
Well, the leaves did need raking.

PJ:
I’m having your names tattooed on my back. The names of the message board people, I mean. But I don’t have yours yet, because I’m having them done alphabetically. I’m up to...Hama, I think. I can come back when yours is done, if you like. So you can see it and tell me if it looks okay. If it doesn’t look okay, I can have it surgically removed and try again. It’s your call.

ME:
Well, that's very nice. But I'd like to discuss the movie now.

PJ:
Fire away! Wait...do you want more ice? Your drink doesn't have enough ice.

ME:
It's okay, really! Tell me about the story changes. Orc pods and such.

PJ:
Are there any orc pods in the book?

ME:
No.

PJ:
Well, then! Of course there are none in the movie. What kind of arrogant, text-raping director would I be, if I thought I could improve on Tolkien? Any director who altered the story would be, in my opinion, guilty of crimes against humanity. It makes me sick to think of it. Please...do you have any medicine for nausea?

ME:
Um...I'll check.

PJ:
No, no...I'm okay now. It's just that I can't bear the thought of defiling the work of the master. Please continue.

ME:
I'm guessing, then, that there won't be a Saruman-kabob?

PJ:
Oh! Medicine! Get it, quick!

(brief pause while I find and administer a large dose of nausea medicine to PJ)

ME:
There, that should do it. But please don't lay down on the floor like that. I have a nice couch.

PJ:
Oh! How kind! And what a lovely couch it is! Did I mention that you have exquisite taste? Because you do.

ME:
Let's just talk about the movie, shall we? What about all the reports of story changes? If they're only rumors, how do you explain them?

(takes another dose of medicine)

PJ:
All right. Here goes. It was all a publicity scheme. A horrible, vulgar, shameful, wicked scheme! New Line has no decency. Hollywood has no decency. How I despise the amoral, boorish monsters who populate the boardrooms of the entertainment industry! They made me play along...they said that a little controversy would be good for the movies. They said...they said...

(pause; sobs uncontrollably)

...they said they'd break my legs if I didn't pretend to be trashing the story. They wanted a scandal. Hollywood always wants a scandal. There is no bad publicity, they said. But at last I couldn't take it any more, and I told them I wouldn't play along. So they broke my legs. And I laughed in their faces while they broke 'em! I laughed, I tell you!

ME:
Good heavens! You're wearing leg braces! They really broke your legs! Holy smoke, PJ! You're a hero, that's what you are!

PJ:
Pooh! Who among us wouldn't endure a little excruciating pain for the sake of artistic integrity?

ME:
Well, I can think of a few of us who wouldn't. Darn, this is impressive!

PJ:
Anyway, New Line said “uncle!” when they saw they couldn't beat me. So now the truth is out. The movie will be perfect. Perfect!

ME:
Wow! But seriously, even the most ardent purist understands that SOME changes are necessary, if only to keep the story at a manageable length. It can't run for twelve hours, so how can it be perfect?

PJ:
Easy. Surely you know that Tolkien was dissatisfied with those early, unproduced film treatments of the story...?

ME:
Yes, all of us know about that. The Zimmerman script and all.

PJ:
Well, here's something you DON'T know. Tolkien knew they'd make a movie someday, so he wrote a compressed synopsis of the storyline for use by dramatists. We're following that synopsis to the letter. So even the "changes" aren't changes at all, since all of them originated with Tolkien himself. Want some fruitcake now?

ME:
No! Do you realize how incredible this is? Did Bakshi make use of this synopsis?

PJ:
Oh, no! Bakshi felt that Tolkien didn't understand the story, so he made his own changes. Or that's what I'm told...I haven't seen his version.

ME:
You haven't? He thinks you've been screening it every day!

PJ:
Why would I do that? Fruitcake?

ME:
He certainly is! Oh...no, thanks!

PJ:
Anyway, JRR's compressed storyline approach is only for the theatrical release. For the DVD release, we go strictly by the book.

ME:
Really? Then perhaps it'll run for twelve hours, after all?

PJ:
Actually, it'll run roughly eighteen hours. Or maybe thirty. Who knows? And who cares, as long as the book is properly served? Sometimes I...ouch! Excuse me, time for my aspirin. The pain in my legs, you know!

(gulps a handful of pills)

Any more questions?

ME:
Yes, a few thousand! Did you write the script for the DVD release?

PJ:
Well, we don't actually have a script. We have the book. We open the book, and we do what it says. Instead of filming scenes, we film pages. And if we need advice or additional material, Christopher is always close at hand.

ME:
Christopher Tolkien? He's actually on the set?

PJ:
Of course! We're almost joined at the hip, Christopher and me. And he has such a lovely family! When I can, I like to wash their cars. They have lovely cars.

ME:
The whole Tolkien family is there? Doing what?

PJ:
Whatever they please, of course! They have complete control over everything. If anyone named Tolkien says that Frodo doesn't have enough butter on his bread, then Frodo spreads more butter. If anyone named Tolkien doesn't like somebody's nose, then the person must submit to plastic surgery. They are infallible, as far as I'm concerned. Like the pope. Did I tell you that I wash their cars, whenever they let me?

ME:
Yes, you did. Could I have nine or ten of those aspirins?

PJ:
Certainly! But I hope I haven't said anything to disturb you...?

ME:
No! It's entirely the opposite. I'm suffering from enthusiasm overload. A fellow can handle only so much good news!

PJ:
But surely you still have SOME concerns I can address? My purpose in coming here, you know, has been to bring comfort and pleasure to the online Tolkien community.

ME:
Well, I think you're achieving that. But, let's see...well, people are still a bit concerned about Liv.

PJ:
Oh! Do they think she's a vacuous Valley Girl who speaks in monosyllables and belongs in Middle-earth like JRR belongs at an Aerosmith concert?

ME:
Well, yes. The popular impression is that serious thespians are not, as a rule, people who photocopy their butts.

PJ:
Well, that's not true at all! Ms. Blanchett did the same. See?

(hands over a photocopy)

ME:
Oh! Oh! Can I keep this?

PJ:
Sure, I have hundreds of copies.

ME:
Wait...is that a Tolkien tattoo on her left cheek? What’s this thing you have with tattoos?

PJ:
Ah, you noticed! Yes, each of the actors was required to have Tolkien’s face tattooed on his or her butt, as a gesture of love and devotion. Robert DeNiro refused, and so did Bruce Willis. Lots of others, too. So I knew they weren’t true-blue fans, and I refused to hire them. What jerks! Can you imagine people being so unreasonable?

ME:
I can’t imagine anything I’ve heard yet!

PJ:
Here’s an odd fact: Madonna already HAD a Tolkien tattoo! But of course I wouldn’t hire a trashy creature like Madonna, even if she IS a Tolkien fan. I agreed to wash her car, but that was it.

ME:
Liv and Madonna. What’s the difference, trash-wise?

PJ:
Night and day! Sadly, Ms. Tyler has had to cultivate a foul mouthed, bimbo persona in order to appeal to the youth market. But now she's a star, and a grownup. And now she has shed that image and intends to embark upon a career in legitimate theater. True, the stage doesn't pay as well as film. But she is a true artist who cares only for her craft. McKellen has recommended her to the Royal Shakespeare Company.

ME:
Wait...is that WILLIAM Shakespeare?

PJ:
Of course. Her Lady Macbeth has been called the definitive interpretation of the role. The only bad news is that she'll only be onscreen for fifteen minutes. But of course that's how Tolkien would have wanted it. Tolkien didn't think a woman had to wave a sword to prove her mettle, and neither do I. Political correctness be damned! Damned, I say!

ME:
Fifteen minutes. Only fifteen minutes? I'm hyperventilating now.

PJ:
Ah, but there are no small parts! Fifteen minutes is all she'll need. Trust me, Liv's next boyfriend will be named...Oscar!

ME:
Okay, I think it's time for fruitcake. Tell me about Tom Bombadil. I assume he's in the DVD release?

PJ:
Yes, five of him.

ME:
Five?

PJ:
Well, he's a difficult character, filled with nuance and contradiction. So we've cast five actors in the role, and viewers will be able to select whichever actor they prefer. Or they can skip past Bombadil entirely. Same thing with Sauron. You want a Red Eye? We've got him. You want a shapeless shadow? We've got him. Or you can select No Sauron At All, which is my personal preference. Less is more, I think.

ME:
Well, this is very accommodating, to say the least!

PJ:
It's the only way of approaching CFS.

ME:
CFS?

PJ:
“Complete Fan Satisfaction.” That's our goal. But of course people do see things differently, and the only way of pleasing them all is to give them a variety of choices in certain controversial areas. Balrog wings, for example.

ME:
So the Balrog has wings AND no wings?

PJ:
Of course. We aim to please. Look, where is your car? Could I just look at it? I wouldn't have to wash it right away.

ME:
Later. Gee, my head is spinning.

PJ:
Too much rum in the fruitcake?

ME:
No, it's just that you've wiped away virtually EVERY concern that's been expressed on the boards. Is there anything we OUGHT to be worried about? Is there anything that may NOT be satisfactory?

PJ:
Hm....no. Oh, wait! Yes. Yes, there's one button too many on Pippin's coat. But we'll fix it in post production, or die in the attempt.

ME:
In light of everything else, I think I can speak for everyone in saying that you should NOT die for the sake of Pippin's buttons. We will forgive you. Even Kelannar will forgive you.

PJ:
That's very kind. But as much as I wish to please the fans, I have a higher calling. That calling is to please the good professor. I believe that he is watching us from Heaven. And I will NOT disappoint him! No, not even in the matter of Pippin's buttons, or the color of Beren's hair.

ME:
Beren's hair? Beren isn't in this story!

PJ:
Oops! Forget I mentioned Beren.

ME:
How can I forget a thing like that? Either you've made a significant change, after all, or...or you're planning to film The Silmarillion! Is that what you're planning to do? Tell me!

PJ:
No! I'm not! Not yet. I mean, not until we finish The Hobbit.

ME:
The Hobbit! Hooray!

PJ:
Yes, and Farmer Giles. And Niggle. And everything else by Tolkien. But next, it's The Travels of Sam and Rosie!

ME:
The Travels of Sam and Rosie? What's that? I haven't read that story!

PJ:
Nobody has. And it isn't exactly a story. It's an original screenplay.

ME:
Well, I don't think the fans will accept original Middle-earth stories by anyone but JRR himself.

PJ:
Ugh! What an awful thought! No, this is an original screenplay by JRR Tolkien, recently discovered and still unpublished. They found it under his desk, I think.

ME:
Incredible! I can't wait to see it!

PJ:
See it? You'll do more than that!

ME:
Pardon me?

PJ:
Well, I'm not supposed to reveal this yet, but...what the heck? I have arranged for everyone from the message boards to be flown to New Zealand to appear in the entire series of Tolkien films. Won't that be fun? First-class flight, deluxe rooms, plenty of food and drink at New Line's expense! Party, party, party. Limousines. Maybe some surfing. I'm guessing an eight-month shoot for Sam and Rosie. The rest of the series will take...oh, eight to ten years. All of you will have to quit your jobs and reside, full time, in Middle-earth. Are you prepared to make this sacrifice?

ME:
Yes, I am certain that the entire online Tolkien community is up to that challenge!

PJ:
You’ll need tattoos, of course.

ME:
No problem.

PJ:
Wonderful! Oh, and listen! Each of you will be supplied, if you like, with a very attractive member of the opposite sex...to serve as your interpreter, you see!

ME:
Interpreter? Don't you speak English in New Zealand?

PJ:
Why, yes! I believe we do! Well, so much the better!

(significant pause)

ME:
Okay. My car is the cream-colored SUV. I think it needs vacuuming, too.

PJ:
Yippee! I just LOVE you guys!

(end of interview)


OK, so that wasn't a real interview, but if you enjoyed the above, head on over to the messageboard and see what you have been missing.

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