Peter Jackson speaks: December 2012 update

Jackson Hobbit
Much respect, Ali P(lumb). While every other film journalist has kept to Middle Earthy subjects in their recent questioning of Peter Jackson, Empire Magazine’s finest video interviewer slipped in a query about a much more important subject (to readers of this blog, at least).

Plumb: “What is the current state of the Dambusters project?”
Jackson: “Dambusters is on hold waiting for me to finish The Hobbit. The Hobbit wasn’t something I intended to get involved in [as much] as I did, so there was an option at one stage I’d be shooting The Dambusters while Guillermo [del Toro] was shooting The Hobbit, but as things ended up going, The Dambusters has just had to sit on the sidelines.”
“But it’s there. The Lancasters are built. We’ve got ten Lancs built for us sitting in storage. And it’s ready to go as soon as we possibly can.”

So there we have it. The one person who can decide when the Dambusters remake will proceed has given a firm commitment that it will happen. One day.
When I started this blog four and a half years ago one of my first posts predicted that we would have to wait to ‘at least 2011’ to see the remake on our screens. Foolish me! The film world has its own logic and moves at its own pace. But at least we now have it on the best authority possible — the Dambusters remake is on, and will appear some time. Exactly when? I suspect no one knows.

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45 thoughts on “Peter Jackson speaks: December 2012 update

  1. Richard Hickmott December 15, 2012 / 5:32 am

    Have to say not surprised one little bit. I was never in favour of Jackson doing a remake. Clearly he finds other projects far more stimulating… a bigger kick in the teeth to all of 617 Squadron members (and families) I cannot even start to comprehend. It’s an insult to their memory!
    This proves, if proof were needed, just how fickle the film industry is. All the guff that came from Jackson’s mouth about how important the Michael Anderson film was to him is so shallow. He’s a rich man, but talk’s cheap!
    Mr. Jackson should cull his input and hand the reigns over to someone who has a genuine zeal to see a remake completed.
    To say I’m appalled is THE understatement of the year.

    • TCinLA December 16, 2012 / 7:52 pm

      I don’t know where you get off making an a comment as ignorant and uninformed as this. “A kick in the teeth to 617 Squadron members”? How so? It happens he’s planning on making something far more factually accurate than the recycled RAF WW2 propaganda Paul Brickhill put in his book, so it will show these guys as even more heroic since it will be the true story.

      • Richard Hickmott December 17, 2012 / 2:56 am

        Quite simple: First, the Michael Anderson film is good rather than great. Yes, all the characters are “Boy’s Own” caricatures of the real aircrews. Second, I’ll be very surprised if the Jackson remake isn’t a big budget Hollywood glitzy number. Whether it’ll have a scintilla of factual evidence remains to be seen. As I said earlier, talk’s cheap. Given Jackson’s past efforts, it concerns me. Wouldn’t be surprised to see Tom Cruise playing Gibson.

        Ah, if you’re questioning my own validity, then stop: I have been an avid Wallis historian since school days, and have an association with the Wallis family. The difference between so-called ‘official’ 617 historians and me is they get paid for publishing books, TV appearances etc, whereas, for me, it’s a labour of love. I have a proper job.

    • Tony Last January 24, 2013 / 12:39 am

      What a stupid comment to make. The remake is definitely on. As Sir Peter Jackson says, the Hobbit got in the way because he was forced to make the film after the original Director pulled out. Get real mate. These things happen. The important thing is it will be made. As for your comment a kick in the teeth. Given that the film will be made. How so?

  2. Dambusting Hobbit fan December 15, 2012 / 9:33 am

    Disagree with Mr Hickmott. Peter Jackson makes films with respect & integrity!

  3. Dom December 15, 2012 / 10:47 am

    ” And it’s ready to go as soon as we possibly can. ” I cant see this being ready before the 75th Anniversary of the raid…… my prediction, the premier will be May 2018

  4. philip croft December 15, 2012 / 5:26 pm

    It was good to hear that 10 ‘Lancasters’ have been made and stored, which is not a small financial outlay / commitment, but I’m not actually sure ( forgive the ignorance), if they are scale models or even actual full size fliers. Even so, and I know some say he is a very rich man, but maybe, he has gone for the obviously huge box office moneymaker first, so as to finance the best possible ‘Dambusters’ tribute? We may ring our hands in frustation, but for people like me, who are ageing and in poor health, I’m just hoping I’m arround to see the final product. P G Croft

    • TCinLA December 16, 2012 / 7:58 pm

      The “ten Lancasters” are all non-flying full-scale mockups and “breakaways” for filming. The flying will be CGI – with the capabilities of that now, and the dedication of the people who have already taken several hours of film of the two surviving Lancasters in the air and creating “3d models”, a far more accurate film will be possible.

      What’s even better is that Stephen Frye is writing the screenplay, which will deal realistically with the “society” and “politics” of the RAF in the same way Len Deighton did in “Bomber.” And the real Guy Gibson will be portrayed, not the RAF propaganda that formed the basis for Brickhill’s description of Gibson and Richard Todd’s portrayal. If you want to know what I mean, get Max Hastings’ book “Warriors” and read the chapter on Gibson. That’s the guy the members of 617 were talking about when they were interviewed in “Secrets of the Dead” and who Johnny Johnson described in “Wing Leader.” That a guy like that could inspire people like the members of 617 to volunteer and follow him into battle is a far more interesting story than the mythology.

  5. Colin Barron December 30, 2012 / 3:40 pm

    The new “Dambusters” film is not a “Hollywood” remake, it is a UK/New Zealand co – production. Disappointing to hear about the delays in production but I am sure it will be worth the wait.

    • Richard Hickmott January 4, 2013 / 3:23 pm

      Wouldn’t hold your breath, Colin.
      Given Jackson’s history of making high budget nonsense, genuinely hope I’m wrong, the remake might have Hobbits working in the NAAFI. Sorry but I have an honest foreboding.

  6. TailendCharlie January 6, 2013 / 3:39 pm

    What a shame that the film will not be released in 2013, the 70th anniversary of the raid. At a point in time where bomber command veterans hit their 90th year or so. I hope that the finished product is a memorial to not just the raid itself , but to the bravery of the whole 125,000 Aircrew of Bomber Command. Jackson, Rivers, Fry, Weta’s had better Get It Right!
    N.B. 1}This film is Christian Rivers directorial debut. 2} There are some images of the Lancaster mockups available outside the hanger also.

    • Colin Barron January 7, 2013 / 11:35 am

      At the moment no director has been assigned to the project as Christian Rivers left some time ago reportedly frustrated at all the delays in getting the project off the ground.. Colin

      • Tailendcharlie January 9, 2013 / 10:42 am

        Insider info is that it’s still Christian Rivers! Whoever it is I can’t wait….

  7. RiaTones Robb January 9, 2013 / 4:38 am

    Will not be long,I can assure you!…It will be factual,and Mr.Hickmott need not worry!!……….However,he may have to wait just,”Awee bit longer”…Like the rest of the public,he will also have to, “line up” to purchase a ticket,I can also assure him …that.. its,well underway…BUT!..As it was way back then..its”TOP SECRET” & “FOR A FEW EYES ONLY”,at this point of time.

  8. Alex Bateman January 24, 2013 / 9:48 am

    Perhaps I can answer a few points, being not only a researcher and author, but also someone who has worked on the film.

    Mr Hickmott seems to have a bit of a bee in his bonnet, why I don’t know. The film is backed by Universal Pictures, and so yes, does have Hollywood money. However, it is not Universal who are making it. Peter Jackson is very much an aviation enthusiast, and wanting the film to be as accurate as possible is not rushing it. I have provided research material and can attest to their quest for accuracy on all fronts. 10 non flying full sized Lancasters have been made along with a Wellington. I have a number of close up photos of them, and also the very large scale models of the dams, and in fact provided copies of the original engineering drawings to help in replicating the modificatio
    Remember, as a film, it does not have huge worldwide appeal, and they have to balance the cost with the potential takings. This film is not being made for the benefit of families.

    As for Mr Hickmotts note about his validity to comment, and being connected to the Wallis family, it counts for nothing, and makes his comments no more worthy than any others. If he is a historian, where are the fruits of his efforts? I have published a book about the squadron, and am currently completing a three volume work on the dams raid. Yes I am being paid, but for me it has been a thirty year labour of love. In both cases I was invited to put the results in print. Personally, I don’t consider myself a squadron historian, but an enthusiast, and am offended by his comments.

    • Richard Hickmott January 27, 2013 / 5:03 am

      Mr. Bateman, I have the greatest respect for anyone who is honoured enough to work on film productions, regardless of budgets, locations, stories etc. etc.

      Could you please answer some questions? What films has Mr. Jackson produced that is vaguely factual? You say it has Hollywood money, right? Well, that generally equates to Hollywood influence. No-one will plough huge amounts of money into any project without having a fairly significant say in how the final cut is perceived.

      As to my validity… you are absolutely correct, I’ve not had any notable works produced, but as an amature WWII researcher – and I come from a large military family – that in itself strengthens my personal integrity, because unlike you and others working in the industry, I don’t have any ‘suits’ to answer to. There’s no need for patronising. Don’t particularly like anyone playing the oneupmanship card. Not necessary.

      As a carer for my wife I do an awful lot of work for good causes, and I teach p/t at my daughter’s school, as and when WWII projects come up.

      I have as much right to air my personal concerns about this remake as you to exonerate Mr. Jackson’s hefty delay on the film. As I mentioned in a previous reply: “Hope I am sincerely wrong”, and if my views are just cretinous notions, I’ll be the first to come on here, once the film has been digested, and apologise – and that’s in writing.

      I have great effection for the wartime generation – I want to see an accurate interpretation, but only time will reveal whether my comments have a scintilla of foundation or not.

      • Alex Bateman January 27, 2013 / 8:03 am

        Replying to your points Mr Hickmott, Mr Jackson is not known for producing ‘factual’ films in the sense that those he has made are ‘true stories’. However, the effort, time and attention to detail that he has brought to those fiction films he has made have seen him become one of the most highly respected film makers in modern cinema. Unlike yourself, who seems to have a negative bias purely for it being a remake, I am actually one of those working on the production and can attest to the high degree of accuracy Peter is working too. In addition, and perhaps more importantly, Peter is an aircraft enthusiast. Being as thorough in your researches as you hint towards, you will know that he is also behind a company that produces accurate WW1 replica flying aircraft, again, now considered to be the leaders in their field. They have just built two for the Royal Air Force Museum. In turn they have a museum dedicated to WW1 aviation, and leading on from that, there is yet another company that produces scale models, that are unsurpassed by any others. Few people who know anything about Peter would question his credentials in the world of cinema, aircraft or military history.

        I’m afraid ‘coming from a large military family’ does not strengthen your validity as a researcher. And as for playing a ‘one upmanship card’, perhaps you should re-read your own posts. Time at the coal face produces results, and credibility, not genealogical links. In my case I have been researching this subject for 30 years, and over that time have helped a large number of authors, as well as television, radio and film projects (and including the author of this website with his own book). Because of this I was approached and invited to work on the film, write my first book and now complete a trilogy of books on the subject.

        I applaud your work for good causes, which mirrors my own, most of which is voluntary.

        Of course you are entitled to air your views about the making of the film. But I would like to point out that there has been no ‘hefty delay’ as you put it. At no time has there been an official release date given, and no official filming has yet taken place, hence there is no delay. The project is one close to Peter’s heart and one he wants to execute well. But whilst many will wish for it sooner rather than later, you also have to think commercially. Film making is not a multi million pound hobby, and a remake of The Dambusters will never be a huge commercial success.

        So while you are indeed free to express your views, I hope you will also rely less on hearsay any speculation, and more on facts, both on research and the project in question, from, in this case, someone who is on the frontline.

        n. Mo

      • Colin Barron January 27, 2013 / 9:00 am

        I would agree with Alex,s comments. It is unfortunate that we won’t see the film for some years but I think it will be worth the wait. Peter Jackson is known for meticulous attention to details . Look at how he had replica Curtiss Helldivers constructed for “King Kong” when he could have used Tiger Moths and 99% of the viewing public wouldn’t have noticed the difference.

        It is also true that the new “Dambusters” is unlikely to be a great commercial success.. It will probably be the No1 film in the UK for a while but not do so well elsewhere. That is what happened to “Battle of Britain” in 1969 -1970. It was the top grossing film in the UK and also did well in West Germany but bombed everywhere else particularly in the USA and was overall regarded as a commercial flop. Unfortunately the American public aren’t really interested in British war movies. Colin

      • Alex Bateman January 27, 2013 / 9:13 am

        Thats very true Colin, although sadly I’m not sure if it would even rise that high in the UK. There would be interest in Canada and probably Australia too, but it is not likely to to appeal too much to the general public.

        Two films that have suffered have been Titantic and Pearl Harbour. Both had great attention to detail, and millions spent on sets, but to make them more appealing each had a badly researched love story woven through the middle. (U571 was another, taking the story of a British ship capturing an enigma machine and turning it into the Americans winning the war).

        Peter will stick to the factual story, which for the general viewer will have less appeal.

  9. Richard Hickmott January 27, 2013 / 1:50 pm

    Mr. Bateman, please read my post. I never said filmaking is a multi-million pound hobby. I said that if Hollywood are ploughing millions into a film they will have a hefty influence on on the final cut. Yes you did play the oneupmanship card: I’ve done this, I’ve achieved that… Are you a Tory MP? Nor did I say coming from a military family gave my reasoning validity. I just gave a brief backstory.

    We seem to be pretty much in the same age ballpark, likewise I’ve grown up with true stories from my late father, who served as a navigator with RAF Coastal Command (North Atlantic). My uncle served with REME at El alemein and another uncle was a para and taken prisoner during the Italian campaign.

    True I don’t have a broad spread of military talents, but most of my knowledge comes from real people and not books or films. My views are therefore as valid as anyones, and your entrance on site could be taken two ways: Either you’re being sincere – pray that is right – or this could be just an eloborate PR stunt. I’m afraid, until I read or see the finished article, I’ll err on the side of caution.

    Let me reiterate: Because i have no-one to answer to that loosens the manacles. Or in simple English, I’m free to vent my frustrations at in-action regards the film.

    In layman’s terms, there has been hefty delays – far too cloak ‘n’ dagger for my liking. Only time will tell.

    • Alex Bateman January 27, 2013 / 2:50 pm

      Mr Hickmott. You began the ‘oneupmanship’ debate by suggesting that you are a credible researcher because you have been interested in Barnes Wallis from schooldays, and that you have an association with the family, neither points holding much water. Likewise, listening to relatives does not make you a military historian, or a cinema goer a professional film maker. I would like to see evidence of your ‘amature’ (amateur) researches.

      No we are not in the same age bracket, I would suggest you are about a generation older. Like you, I have family who served in some of the most famous battles, within special forces, and all three services. One is mentioned in a number of books because of his work behind enemy lines. I also have an association with a Dambuster. However, none of that qualifies me as a researcher or historian

      I have researched for 30 years, by going back to basics and contacting the people involved, including relatives of the dead. Hard work. The result has been numerous invitations to work on other projects and evidence in black and white and on film. If that gives me oneupmanship, I have earnt it.

      Backers of a film project will always want commercial success only, and Peter’s efforts to attain stringent accuracy will do far more for this than smply rushing out another inaccurate version. Remember Michael Anderson’s original was based largely on two good war stories, written by Gibson and Brickhill, not facts, for a variety of reasons.

      You began the thread by stating that you are not a fan of a remake, which really sets the tone for all your arguments. While your views are valued, they are clearly based on no knowledge of either the film industry or this project in particular. Likewise, you refer to my ‘entrance’ to the site, which again, clearly shows your lack of observation. I have contributed a number of times over quite a period, but usually directly with the editor of this blog, who relays my comments.

      The comment about the PR stunt is amusing. My first book was published 4 years ago to wide acclaim, the three volume set later this year. The contributions to others over 25 years are too numerous to list here. However, if you are in the area of Southern England keep an eye on the television later this year.

      We are all a little frustrated at the length of time the film is taking, but more of us apparently welcome the attention to detail that will result, and also the complexities that Peter faces to start with. The cost of obtaining the title and rights alone were significant.

      • RiaTones Robb January 27, 2013 / 8:26 pm

        Well stated Alex…I passed Hood Aerodrome late last year…seems Mr. Jackson has got it right…those Lancasters look ok to me..Tony Robb..

      • Alex Bateman January 27, 2013 / 8:53 pm

        Tony, you should have taken a camera! I have some close up shots of an Upkeep being spun in the bomb bay of one, and them being assembled in China.

      • RiaTones Robb January 27, 2013 / 9:50 pm

        Thanks for your reply Alex…Unfortunately the Security were very strict..which I understand (No Photos at the time)…however,just observing the full size Lanc…gave me goosebumps…I understand they can do everything,but fly…I agree, the wait will be well worth it…Peter Jackson will make this one to be remembered..I think people will appreciate the effort,he,and others are putting into it..

      • Richard Hickmott January 28, 2013 / 6:08 am

        My researches are purely a hobby. And, like you, I’ve actively reseached for over 30 years, doing a school project on the Dams raid (circa 1978).

        I could give you info about the Wallis family that no book would have. If I unloaded this info onto you, your laptop would detonate within 5 mins – )

        My association with the Wallis family is via the ma-in-law. She worked with Elizabeth for 7 years at Surrey Social Services. The wife’s grandfather was aircraft fitter at Vickers Armstrong, Weybridge and knew Barnes very well. They still have a photo of the grandfather, Wallis and his design team lurking somewhere in the family archive. Thus, there’s a lot of interesting and lamentable stories, including Elizabeth’s fight with cancer… these are not made up stories. Why would they? no one benefits from it, financially, especially as I’m just an ‘ordinary Joe’…
        “The cost obtaining the title and rights” I thought that was owned by Sir David Frost. Wasn’t he apart of the early Dambuster project?

        As I’ve pointed out before on this site, I don’t class myself as a Dambuster historian, rather a Wallis fanatic. That’s Wallis the person, and not the designer.
        Yes I do live in Surrey, about 2 miles the Wallis house in Effingham, so what’s the programme I have to scan for?

        Ah, I was on TV Christmas before last, where my disabled wife, daughter and I appeared on a programme called Text Santa. Wasn’t paid for it but was treated to lovely day out at Kew Gardens.

        Bored with all this, so I’m off to delouse the pet aardvark..

      • Alex Bateman January 28, 2013 / 6:40 am

        So may I ask Mr Hickmott, what are the fruits of this 30 year active research? I am very curious to know of you have such information why you have never published or been asked to contribute to other projects. I have, by the sounds of it, similar ‘explosive’ information, but on over 170 airmen who formed the original squadron.

        Your association with Wallis is at best, extremely tenuous, although I am very intrigued to know why your wife’s grandfather, being a fitter at Vickers, should feature in a group photograph of the design team, I don’t see the link.

        You sound like you have some tidbits of information, rather than have done any in depth research that would reveal anything about the man not already in print. As for his daughter Elizabeth, I don’t see where her own story is relevant to Wallis and the dambusters.

        Being such a researcher. I’m sure you know that Sir David bought the rights, and handed them to Peter to make the film.

        I do find it very strange, that you lament the delay in seeing the film, and lambast Peter Jackson, but you are not, by your own admission, a researcher of the Squadron, raid or even a fan of Barnes Wallis as a designer. If you are able to receive Meridian TV they will be featuring some films/a programme about some of those crews local to the area, which will include an interview with me. If not, you can view ‘The Last of The Dambusters’ online, in which I am featured for about the first quarter of an hour.

        Nice to hear that you appeared on ‘Text Santa’ although, considering the result was the three of you being treated to a free day out, I would not think that being additionally paid on top would have been an option.

        I think we are all getting bored with it, but if you care to reply any time, I would be happy to answer.

  10. charlesfoster January 27, 2013 / 3:49 pm

    Gentlemen — as the editor of this blog, I welcome healthy debate, but please don’t engage in undignified name calling. Thank you.

    • Richard Hickmott January 30, 2013 / 11:50 am

      @charlesfoster
      Don’t think I’ve entered into name calling, if so then I apologise.

      @Alex Bateman

      1) Haven’t published any material because I’m rubbish at writing, even if I were a competent writer I wouldn’t progress without Liz’s consent.
      2) The Wallis knowledge isn’t tenuous – I’m another chain in the family link conveying the ‘other side of Wallis’ – if you like – to you and others on this site.
      3) AFAIK, the Grandfather picture was an ad-hoc piccie taken in Wallis’s office (circa 1949). He was a fitter on the Wellington during the war years, and was located at Weybridge for over a decade.
      4) Elizabeth’s story is immensely relevant to the Dams raid and the Wallis family as only she and Mary are still alive.
      5) No, I don’t rate myself by any means a Squadron anorak, but one can’t talk about Wallis without touching on the subject. And given I’ve worked, as a volunteer, at Brooklands Museum (records dept.), I’m privvy to certain documents and commuications… I’m still a member but due to family commitments, haven’t helped out for a couple of years.
      6) I’ve never said that Mr. Jackson is a poor or sub-standard producer/director. My only concern is how the finished cut is going to look. You say it’ll be great, but as someone who’s worked on the production, you’re not going to say anything to contrary. I’ll reserve the right to be – at best – cautious.

      I’m not bored in contributing to this site, nor am I fed-up answering your questions. What does pee me off a little is trying to justify myself, when justification isn’t needed.

      • charlesfoster January 30, 2013 / 12:04 pm

        Richard — I didn’t say that this correspondence had descended into name-calling. I was just concerned that it might do so sometime in the future.
        However, I now think that, on this item, the debate has gone on long enough. So I would be grateful if both Richard and Alex now desist. I would of course continue to welcome your comments on any other matters.

  11. Alex Bateman January 27, 2013 / 10:59 pm

    To give another idea of the effort, the film company had photos of about 70 of those taking part, and asked if I could supply the others, a similar number, which I did. Not sure if that means they will try and get actors who look like all of them, but its possible.

    Yrs security is tight. I believe they tried some test shots on 3D. As far as I know the Wellington has not been fully caught on camera yet.

    • Richard Hickmott January 30, 2013 / 3:52 pm

      1) There are publishers, editors and friends.
      2) Having in laws who worked with Wallis or members of the family generations ago does not really constitute a family link. If so, Wallis would have about 1000 additional relatives.
      3) Elizabeth, along with Mary, Barnes Jnr and Christopher were there as Wallis conducted his earliest experiments (in fact I have been corresponding with Mary lately as I have a photograph of the five of them during the experiments, in the family garden and want Mary’s permission to use it in my book). Elizabeth was also in the feature film and attended the premiere, but its hardly a significant part of the Dams story. However, mention of her fight against cancer is unnecessary, and I am certain that she would not wish it to be aired on an open forum.
      4) Its true, discussing Wallis its hard not to mention the exploit for which he is most famous. However, you were discussing the remake of the film, and not Wallis, and have stated you are not a researcher or fan of the Squadron or Wallis the designer.
      5) ‘Given Jackson’s past efforts, it concerns me…’

      ‘Given Jackson’s history of making high budget nonsense, genuinely hope I’m wrong, the remake might have Hobbits working in the NAAFI…’

      Two comments that show some distain for Peter Jackson (sorry SIR Peter, due to his contribution to film) and indicate that indeed you do think he is a poor or sub-standard producer/director. His films have won dozens of awards and he himself has been nominated for an Oscar on no less than 5 occasions. I have never said the film ‘will be great’, but that I know the attention to detail and high level of research that Peter and the company are striving to attain, having provided material, and having evidence of the results.
      The last comments I’ll make to Alex Bateman

      Clearly he looks at the Dams raid and the Wallis family as a commodity, whereas it is a privilege to me.

      The family were around when Barnes conducted all his experiements, but since Christopher and Barnes Jnr are no longer with us, it’s down to Liz and Mary to uphold the family tradition and values during that period.

      All I can say is I’ve access to the remaining family members – and could even arrange a interview with LIz if needed – and they can give a first hand account on what life was like living with the inventor. Let’s see how that stacks up with the film makers.

      I don’t claim to know more than film makers, but I could give an insight into areas of the dams raid and the family that few have.

      • Alex Bateman January 30, 2013 / 5:18 pm

        Thank you for your kind offer Mr Hickmott, but I interviewed both Barnes and Christopher in years past, and am currently in contact with Mary. My current three volumes are based largely on many thousands of pages of period personal and official documents, a more reliable source than memory.

        I have also been able to speak to the last 40 survivors (including one who has only spoken to me since the war), and the families of more than 130 others (yes, more than 170 aircrew made up the original Squadron).

        I feel sorry that you consider that I look on the veterans as a commodity, far from it. In 25 years research I spent a great deal of time and money searching and travelling the world to research. When offered to go to print, it was actually a realisation that the material collected should not fester in a drawer that made me accept.

        For those interested, and moving away from what is now a rather tedious conversation, one volume focus’ on the men, including 20 or so who joined the squadron only to leave before the raid, sometimes after days. This includes Guy Gibson’s original bomb aimer on the Squadron, a man not even noted in Gibson’s log. I hope it will interest readers.

  12. TailendCharlie January 30, 2013 / 8:33 pm

    So, when are we likely to see the Dambusters? Is it likely any Bomber Command veteran will still be with us? It sounds like this film will be a fitting tribute to all concerned parties and again highlight the sacrifice and bravery of these (all) aircrews. But what year is it released! Anyone? Please?!

    • Alex Bateman January 30, 2013 / 11:51 pm

      It won’t be for a couple of years as Peter will be making the other films on the Hobbit series. But hopefully it will stand as a tribute regardless..

  13. TailendCharlie January 31, 2013 / 8:19 pm

    Thank you Alex, I am sure this film will be worth the wait and that Mr Jackson and co. will give us an authentic cinematic spectacle of epic proportions! Sadly a few years too late for my own Father, but I am a friend of another Bomber Command veteran who turns ninety this year. It would be nice if he lived to see the remake. Like all of us ‘on’ here I have a deep passion and interest for the subject matter and long for a film maker to show events in a true light. I recently watched ‘Red Tails’ which I thought was pretty dire from any perspective. I have high hopes for Dambusters though, so I suppose all we can do for now is wait, out………….

  14. Richard Hickmott February 3, 2013 / 1:23 am

    As a cinematic experience, the flawed but fabulous Michael Anderson version will be hard to beat IMHO. I remember when Paul Hogan was interviewed about Crocodile Dundee II, he said (paraphrasing): “To make a sequal that’s as good as the original, the story and script needs to be twice the original effort.” I kinda understand his sentiments as, generally, remakes or sequals don’t tend to have the impact of the original. When you think of the sentimental and emotional baggage that has accumulated, then any remake, however good the script or actors or special effects, will tend to fall short. I certainly can’t think of any remake which has usurped the original.

    • Alex Bateman February 3, 2013 / 2:09 am

      The difference in this case, is that the film/s portray real events and people, which is rarely the case with remakes or sequels. The Anderson original was based on two books, both of which were riddled with errors, which was then compounded by technical and security restrictions of the time. Whilst good, it has led to many incidents and events to be wrongly portrayed but now accepted as fact. Add to that the fact that the original film has become familiar over almost 60 years then any remake will naturally be viewed with scepticism.
      Regardless of how good a remake or sequel is, they are always judged by the original. Who was the best Bond? Most will say Connery because he was the yardstick, the first image most had of Bond.

      Cinematic technology has advanced to such a level now that it would be possible (albeit expensive) to create actors from images of the real person, thus a film could be made showing the real Guy Gibson, talking to the real David Maltby, etc.

      At least this will be the first chance to tell the accurate story of both the men and raid, which is worth it alone.

      • Richard Hickmott February 3, 2013 / 5:14 am

        I know the Brickhill was riddled with errors. Also like many of his books, the films largely showed the main protaganists as ‘Boys Own’ characters, in addition to the secrecy at the time.
        “Regardless of how good a remake or sequel is, they are always judged by the original”… Exactly my point, hence why I quoted Mr. Hogan.
        FWIW Roger Moore was my fav Bond – I grew up watching his films.
        Given you are hyping this forthcoming film so much, hope it is a accurate interpretation and it doesn’t flop. Or it could be re-christened, if our wonderful press get hold of it, as The Dum Busters. And a certain red face…

        BTW, has Mr. Jackson chosen the actors yet?

      • Alex Bateman February 3, 2013 / 6:52 am

        Several actors have been mooted for the leading roles, but none are confirmed as far as I am aware.

        I find it surprising that as a ‘historian’, who on your own admission is not especially interested in the men, the raid or inventor, puts so much faith in the inaccurate original, while dismissing the proposed remake out of hand.

        I don’t think I will continue to respond if all your postings are just going to continue on how poor Peter Jackson is, how poor the remake ill inevitably be, and how much of an insult to the families Peters actions are. It contributes nothing to the thread as you clearly have your mind made up before the first second of film has been shot, and is becoming rather tedious to others reading this, including the site owner. You will not be satisfied, and so I suggest that you settle down and put your VHS copy of the original on, on repeat, while the rest of us embrace the proposed new version. Having seen the models, the full sized Lancasters and the research work, I for one am excited.

  15. Richard Hickmott February 3, 2013 / 7:35 am

    This is again where you’ve mis-interpreted. Never said I wasn’t interested in the men – more accurately, and being very honest, stated I wouldn’t particularly call myself a Dambuster authority… moreover, the Anderson version has a certain charm even though, as I put it earlier, it was “flawed…”

    I agree this is getting tedious, but however you care to spin this whole film malarky – yes I know you’ve worked on it, and you’re being filmed for Meridian – doesn’t mean that everyone has to agree with your views or Mr. Jackson’s approach or methods of filmaking. No, to reiterate Mr. Jackson is a fine Producer/Director but… the film first came to light around 2006, and we’re still no clearer when it’ll hit our (cinema) screens. Since then he’s made the Hobbit plus other projects, inc. a cameo appearance on ‘Hot Fuzz’ (2007). At this rate we’ll be lucky if it’s completed by the 80th anniversary of the dams raid.

    I think others maybe finding your responses equally as tiresome. And no I have a Blu-ray version DVD of the film.

    Whether you decide to stop replying to my comments or not is your prerogative, but I’ve been up all night with my daughter very unwell. At the moment my priorities are with her.

    • Alex Bateman February 3, 2013 / 9:05 am

      As you say, the film first came to light around 2006. All that has happened is that the press made a big thing of David Frost buying the rights and it went from there. At no point has anyone given a date for it to be completed or even started. Frankly, if I paid £100,000 for a story it would be nobody’s business but my own when I did anything with it or if. You see to forget where those rights came from.

      Peter Jackson was interested in possibly remaking the film as far back as the mid-1990s, but the rights had been bought by the American actor Mel Gibson, (who has a fondness for playing roles that are in conflict with English forces or the English), and was looking at himself in the starring role. With Gibson being Mr Hollywood, and for his roles in Braveheart, and others, bashing the English, and not least that back then he was about 15 years older than Guy Gibson was, this was met with extreme concern by veterans and Air Force Associations, to the point that they strongly told Gibson through the press to leave it alone. For that reason he dropped the rights and abandoned the project

      Sometime after this, Peter became aware that the rights were free again and they were purchased by David Frost direct from the Brickhill family and handed to Peter to use. Personally I am very relieved that these have now been secured and that the result will be accurate, thoughtful and impressive. I shudder to think what Mel Gibson should have done with it, although I’m sure it would have at least satisfied your desire for an early release.

      Your initial caustic comments brought rebuffs from other posters, and since you have offered little but tenuous connections and unnecessary personal sob stories that have not progressed the thread. I suggest that perhaps you now concentrate on your ill daughter, ill wife, and probably ill family, and simply await the outcome and make a comment then after your visit to the cinema, or blu-ray shop.

      • Alex Bateman February 3, 2013 / 9:15 am

        I would also add that unlike the Mel Gibson effort, Peters has the backing of Veterans and Associations alike, and has a veteran of the raid as a technical advisor.

      • Richard Hickmott February 3, 2013 / 5:37 pm

        It’s your comments that makes me so anti-film, scriptwriting… the industry has its head up its back passage. There are no sob stories, the wife isn’t ill, the daughter is slightly unwell, although had rough night.

        You’re insulting the very people who will decide whether the film is a ‘Yay’ or a ‘Nay’. You cannot abuse ‘ordinary Joes’ if you want support for the film.

        BTW, as I write the occasional blog for the hi-fi/AV Industry and I have a very high-end set-up that the whole family enjoys. So because I’m a carer, doesn’t make me a ‘downtrodden’ or a blight on society. Just privileged that I home test and have the chance to purchase hi-fi gear at reduced rates.

        If Mr. Jackson is looking for good PR for the film, you’re not it!
        (caustic? no just very honest and immensely passionate)

  16. charlesfoster February 3, 2013 / 6:07 pm

    I’m closing comments on this post!

Comments are closed.