Sir Peter Jackson is 55 years old today. He was interested in making movies since he was a boy, and for many years he lived with his parents to save money so he could spend on film equipment. He made his first film, a horror comedy called Bad Taste, on a minute budget, with many of the cast being friends of his who worked for free. A reasonably positive reception to that led to him gradually getting bigger budgets for subsequent films: Meet the Feebles, a musical black comedy with Muppet style puppets; Heavenly Creatures, a psychological thriller starring a pair of talented young actresses named Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey; and the horror comedy The Frighteners, his first film on a Hollywood-sized budget.
And then, after prolonged negotiations to secure the rights to the books and then to get backing from a studio, he began filming J. R. R. Tolkienâs The Lord of the Rings:
When the trilogy came to a conclusion, Jackson won or shared three Oscars for The Return of the KingâBest Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. Jacksonâs main subsequent efforts have been an epic-scale remake of King Kong, an adaptation of Alice Seboldâs The Lovely Bones, and the stretching of Tolkienâs The Hobbit into another trilogy by adding lots and lots of padding and filler.