NME Festival blog: ‘Lord Of The Rings’ director brings World War I to life in new film


Peter Jackson applied modern production techniques to 600 hours of footage

Peter Jackson has discussed the process behind his much-anticipated new documentary about the First World War, titled They Shall Not Grow Old.

The director, famous for his work on the likes of The Lord of the RingsThe Hobbit and The Lovely Bones, was given access to 600 hours of rare footage by the Imperial War Museums’ archives.

He applied colourising techniques to bring the film to life and hired lip-readers to decipher what those in the footage were saying to each other to come up with a script for actors to re-dub.

According to The Sun, the director said: “There’s been lots of documentaries made on the First World War… and I just decided for this one to strictly just use the voices of the guys that fought there.

“I wanted to reach through the fog of time and pull these men into the modern world, so they can regain their humanity once more – rather than be seen only as Charlie Chaplin-type figures in the vintage archive film.”

Jackson travelled extensively throughout the parts of Europe on which the war’s western front was fought, taking thousands of photographs of the battle sites.

The film is due to premiere at the BFI London Film Festival next week.

He said that his interest in the subject stems from stories he was told of his grandfather’s service in the conflict.

“Part of my fascination with the First World War is that it was a pointless war in that sense. Because it was a pointless war, it is all about the people who were in it. How did these people actually cope with this thing?

“Not one soldier on the Western Front, I guarantee you, not one soldier could sit down and really explain in political terms what was important about fighting the war, what was important about beating the Germans.”



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