by BBC arts correspondent Rosie Millard
Millions of people are excitedly awaiting the release of the first Lord of the Rings movie – but few more so than its director Peter Jackson.
“I waited a long, long time for someone to make a movie of The Lord of the Rings,” says Jackson.
“Now I am delighted and extremely honoured that I was the person to make it.”
Jackson’s movie Fellowship of the Rings is an adaptation of the first book from fantasy writer J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy.
But it has long been known that Jackson made all three books into films before releasing the first.
And, he says, he had no problem finding enthusiasm for such an epic project.
“The Lord of the Rings is such a great a story and is ultimately very cinematic. It has everything that you could want in a movie,” says the director.
“But we also absolutely respect the book. It has spectacle and epic scale but it is ultimately so intimate.”
Tolkien wrote his fantasy about goblins, hobbits and dwarfs in the mid 1950s.
Some critics have suggested that, despite the popularity of Tolkien’s global best-seller, on screen its story might seem outdated.
However Jackson says he is confident he has found the right approach to adaptating Tolkien’s work.
“We haven’t gone out of our way to make this a fantasy film – just as Tolkien didn’t really think of this as fantasy,” Jackson explains.
“He made this as a mythology for Britain. He mourned the fact that unlike places such as Scandinavia, Britain didn’t really have an ancient mythology.
“We have set out to try to honour that and try to make it more an historical, rather than fantasy, film.”
Indeed, Tolkien’s epic has, by its richness, become mythological in literary history. And, undoubtedly, its popularity has also driven the hype around Jackson’s film.
Yet, says the director, the very popularity of his project has also proved curiously difficult.
“Lord of the Rings had a disadvantage for us in that everyone knew the story. But we wanted to have as many surprises as possible,” says Jackson.
“Controlling what the world knows about and sees from the film has been very important to the experience of going to see the movie in December.”
What we do know is that Fellowship of the Rings has been filmed in Jackson’s native land New Zealand.
And when the film finally hits cinema screens on 19 December it looks set to cause as big a storm as the current magical movie Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.