According to a report from New Zealand, filming for Peter Jackson’s long awaited remake of the Dambusters is likely to begin ‘early next year’, i.e. 2009. This is a quote from a ‘spokesman’ for Jackson, which is in slight contradiction to what the maestro himself has said earlier, that shooting is still possible ‘this year’.
Plans for Jackson’s $40US million movie about the the famous assault were announced in September 2006. Jackson, who is producing the Christian Rivers-directed film, has said shooting was possible this year.
British actor and writer Stephen Fry had written the script, a remake of the 1955 film The Dam Busters, but the cast still had to be announced.
A later report in the same paper says that the producer is exercising his ‘trademark eye for detail’ by employing an astronomer to advise how the moon was positioned on the night in question. There was a full moon that night, and its light was used to give the attacking Lancasters a better view of their targets. (There was some criticism of this at the time, notably from David Maltby, who felt that the aircraft were too exposed by having to attack with the moon behind them.)
The New Zealand astronomer, Brian Carter , was impressed by the producers’ desire to establish authenticity:
‘Somebody just rang up. I didn’t realise it was for Peter Jackson until later… I think these days film-makers like to get things as right as possible. In the past there have been a few bloopers.’
Dambusters (the film’s working title) is not the only production in hand at the Peter Jackson factory of dreams. There are also a series of three TinTin movies starring Andy Serkis as Captain Haddock, as well as LOTR prequel The Hobbitt, and The Lovely Bones, which features Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Susan Sarandon and, best of all, Michael Imperioli, who played Christopher in The Sopranos.
No word yet on who is to be cast in Dambusters. James McAvoy has been tipped, but I suspect that this is because he is (a) British (b) roughly the right age and (c) looked good in a Second World War uniform in Atonement, which has brought him more attention than perhaps he wants. (He is also rumoured to be in The Hobbitt.) McAvoy is of course far too handsome to be cast as Guy Gibson. Ann Shannon, who knew Gibson well, once said that Mickey Rooney would have been the ideal choice to play him.
These reports would suggest that the earliest possible date for release of Dambusters would be 2010, which is its provisional date on IMDB. But given that The Hobbitt is unlikely to appear before 2011, it might well not be out until then.
UPDATE: This blog entry was originally posted in July 2008. For more up to date information about the remake of The Dam Busters see other postings on this blog in the category Dambusters Remake.
FURTHER UPDATE, 16 December 2009: Jackson confirms shooting starts in 2010