Jackson speaks: Dambusters a ‘wonderful story’ which I will have to do.

Peter Jackson has been giving interviews to mark the end of the process of making The Hobbit trilogy, which combined with the Lord of the Rings make up a series of six films that have taken his company almost fifteen years to complete. Already the films have grossed $4.89 billion in worldwide box office takings and by the time The Battle Of The Five Armies, the finale to The Hobbit trilogy, plays out, the total may reach $6 billion. 

Now, in an interview posted on the Deadline blog, Jackson has admitted that he probably would have started on the remake of The Dam Busters four or five years ago, having handed over directorial duties on The Hobbit to Guillermo del Toro. But del Toro left this project in May 2010 and Jackson stepped back behind the camera, saying that it was important to protect Warner Bros’ investment. He admits that all the time since there has been pressure on him to say what he will be doing next:

I’ve had so many people the last five years come and ask, ‘When are you going to make The Dam Busters? When are you going to make The Dam Busters?’ Honestly, you ask me what I got out of five years of making The Hobbit? It was me feeling like I have to make The Dam Busters, because of the endless people asking, ‘When are you going to make The Dam Busters?… 
[W]e still have the rights, and it’s one in a little pot of movies. We don’t have a next movie nailed down, but certainly The Dam Busters is one of them. There is only a limited span I can abide, of people driving me nuts asking me when I’m going to do that project. So I’ll have to do it. I want to, actually, it’s one of the truly great true stories of the Second World War, a wonderful, wonderful story.

I reckon that’s as near as we have come to a real commitment from Jackson to make the film. But when will it happen? He has a pretty busy schedule: Hobbit 3 is due for worldwide release in December 2014, and then there is the small matter of the second Tintin movie, scheduled for release in 2016, which he is also due to direct. (He did a deal with Steven Spielberg.) He won’t be directing The Dam Busters, but it will surely take up quite a bit of his time so it could fit into his schedule here – before a third Tintin movie, so far untitled.
If The Dam Busters is ever going to get to the clapperboard stage, the next thing to expect would be news that the difficulties with the screenplay have been ironed out, that the director is confirmed (a role earmarked eight years ago for Jackson protegé, Christian Rivers) and, most important of all, that Universal Pictures and Studio Canal are still behind the project. 

Watch this space.


38 thoughts on “Jackson speaks: Dambusters a ‘wonderful story’ which I will have to do.

  1. Philip Croft August 16, 2014 / 10:37 pm

    My answer is this–FFFFFFFF
    ”Frankly old son, I don’t give a Dam’. He has been the most irritating and unforgivably uncaring shit. I suspect, most of the would be customers for this film, who remember the original–with great interest and affection, like myself, are running out of time. We have been led down a dark tunnel, with still no confirmed commitment, that even resembles a light at the end of it. The only redeeming factor, for spending so much time on that ridiculous series of childish junk, that he loves so much, is that it has created huge sums of money, that could probably finance TWO films of the Dam Buster’s–in 3D. I am done with his ‘promises’, either he makes it, or doesn’t. I have lost interest P G Croft Uk.

    • RiaTones Robb August 19, 2014 / 9:17 pm


    • RiaTones Robb August 23, 2014 / 12:21 pm

      Peter!..Seems to be a RECLUSE!…I doubt he has the gumption to go ahead with the project…TALK IS CHEAP…and THANKYOU FOR YOUR COMMENT…I SALUTE YOU SIR!

  2. Ian Mellows August 16, 2014 / 10:38 pm

    The Dambusters was my first visit to the cinema (taken by my dad as a young boy) It still to this day enthralls me and I eagerly await the re release of the best film I ever watched. Please don’t delay, I am approaching 70 now

    • Philip Croft August 21, 2014 / 2:39 pm

      A REAL fan are you? want to expand on that?

  3. Simon W. Atack August 17, 2014 / 1:06 am

    Sir Peter Jackson’s problem is his own status as a director that gives tangible credulity to any movie project he may be remotely interested in. If he so much as looks at a script with passing interest, there will be rumours of his filming of it, out within hours! I think he will make his ‘remake Dambusters Movie’. It depends on other factors he has no control over, such as Executive studio demands on other, more lucrative long-term projects, as the studio bosses may see it, their approvals of the story/script and financing that will ultimately decide the actual ‘When’.

  4. Colin Barron August 17, 2014 / 6:31 am

    I am sure Peter Jackson will make ‘Dambusters’ eventually particularly as a lot of time and money has been spent on pre-production e.g. the construction of ten full sized Lancaster replicas,plus a Wellington mock -up,,models of the dams and the acquisition of period vehicles and equipment. Be patient , we will see it eventually.

    • Philip Croft August 17, 2014 / 9:55 am

      ‘Be patient’ ??? jeeeeez–be alive you mean—

  5. Susan Paxton August 17, 2014 / 8:22 pm

    I hope, if he makes it, that it’s NOT a “remake Dambusters movie.” A great deal more is known now. I would like to see him take the story and tell it the way it really happened – the successes AND the failures.

    Wouldn’t Benedict Cumberbatch make a great Barnes Wallis? Hm.

  6. Nigel Favill August 18, 2014 / 9:54 am

    Can anyone please tell me the last time a film had so much speculation as to when it was going into production or even why such a delay,. I have never been happy with most of the people involved ,Jackson or Fry , I do hope that the last three Dams raid veterans will still be alive to watch this when its finished,i have always my suspicions as to the reasons for the delay and quite frankly i dont believe Jacksons at all ……..

    • Colin Barron August 19, 2014 / 10:12 am

      Apparently Richard Attenborough had to wait 20 years to make ‘Gandhi.’ There are actually a large number of war / aviation films which have been announced over the last decade but have so far failed to appear. Here are all the ones I can think of – New film about Battle of Britain produced by Robert Towns, film about early days of SAS, ‘Destroyer’ (about HMS Coventry, new film about Battle of Midway, new version of ‘The Final Countdown’,two different films about the ‘Flying Tigers,’ TV series about Castle Bromwich Spitfire factory, new TV series about 8th Air Force, Going back to the eighties two rival films plus a TV production were planned based on ‘The Last Enemy,. None were made though we did get ‘Perfect Hero,’ obviously inspired by Richard Hillary’s story. So what we are seeing with ‘Dambusters’ is nothing new.

      • Philip Croft August 19, 2014 / 10:57 am

        That’s a large list, and you have done your research but–as far as ‘Gandhi’ is concerned, I think the subject matter had an initial low interest appeal, as Attenborough confessed to, and was the reason he could not convince the money men. While it was a great spectacle and better than I expected, I have not –would not, watch it again. Whereas, aviation story’s have a more wider and enduring appeal. I am intrigued by the idea of ‘The Battle of Britain’ being remade, especially as the original Heinkle 111 are no longer available–I’m told. Maybe enough of our planes are still air worthy–but PLEASE–no CGI !

  7. Keven Rector August 19, 2014 / 1:57 pm

    I heartily endorse the sentiments of almost every single comment here especially Susan Paxton’s. She’s right on the money. As much as we all love the 1954 Canal pictures B&W Classic, it’s time for Jackson to tell the whole truth, see what DID happen at the Sorpe, see the real bombs, without the black dots covering them, and yes – even if it means they have to, deal with the massive loss of life caused by the devestation (it was war after all).

    But Philip’s right on the money too as are a lot of you that have commented. I’m hoping I don’t die of a heart attack waiting for this thing to be fimed. Jackson’s completely tested my patience. Perhaps Lucas could have made it FASTER had he not sold the rights to it.

    At any rate, if he’s going to do anything, he should get to work now so that he can finally finish all the digital and 3D post production in time to do a SUMMER release on the 75th Anniversary of the dam attack on May 16th, 2018. (Maybe that was his plan all along) (That’s a Wednesday) Hopefully we will all still be alove to see it’s premiere.

  8. Keven Rector August 20, 2014 / 5:26 pm

    So agree with everyone’s comments here… in particular Ditto to Susan’s comments about the whole story and Philip’s comments on the CGI. It could be hard in this day in age to complete the full film without some CGI but we’ll see. Left more detailed comments to this yesterday but guess they never posted successfully.

  9. Simon W. Atack August 20, 2014 / 10:48 pm

    Yes I agree, not a remake but a whole new “Clear the table and start again” refreshed telling of this epic raid with all known and declassified details included. This story is remarkable enough without having to trawl over the original script. There are a number of replica “Dambuster” Lancaster Bllls built already. These haven’t been built for nothing. So, surely, the movie may yet come to be made? It’s all a question of “When! The 75th Anniversary would do!

  10. Philip Croft August 21, 2014 / 1:47 pm

    There’s a fantastic opportunity right now, to do some filming in the UK, as we have a once only chance to see TWO Lancaster’s flying together. The Canadian Lanc–known affectionately as ‘Vera’–and I’m sure you all will know–is here to fly with the RAF ‘Battle of Britain Flight’ at various Air shows and events. After 2 months of glorious weather, what a shame August has turned to typical British summer mode, stormy, rainy, and bloody cold.

  11. Keven Rector August 21, 2014 / 1:59 pm

    Being an RCAF Air Force brat, I’ve seen Vera fly many times here in Southern Ontario where I live (CFB Trenton) Vera is based in Hamilton and she has flown regularly in memorial air shows here. When the BBMF Lanc flew over the Derwent Dam for the 70th Anniversary, I felt Jackson should have had multiple cameras rolling to capture that footage for potential use in the remake. What a sight that would be to see those 2 Lancs flying together…

    • Philip Croft August 21, 2014 / 2:34 pm

      Hi Kevin, good to read your contribution. When you were saying- ”Jackson should have had multiple cameras”–I thought you were about to say–multiple orgasms.–which of course he would/should have. I spent June in Canada , and visited several military museums, which were all excellent. Obviously, this included Hamilton. It was a real thrill to be right alongside that beauty, touching her flanks–hold on, that sounds a bit kinky. Well, you know what I mean. The Attendants ( one of which had flown in her) were right on the ball with information. Whenever I attend airs shows, historic treasures like ‘Vera’, are well away from the public, so it was surprising in a way to be able to get so close. Question, despite many attempts to find the actual truth. What has happened to the Lancaster I saw mounted on a concrete pedestal , in a Toronto Park in 1966? Someone told me it was dismantled, and is stored somewhere till the money to restore her can be found –right–or wrong? Phil Croft.

      • Susan Paxton August 21, 2014 / 2:47 pm

        According to Wikidedia:

        Lancaster B X FM104 was donated to the city of Toronto in 1964 and placed on a pedestal on Lakeshore Drive. After sitting outside for 36 years, the aircraft was removed from the pedestal and placed on loan to the Canadian Air & Space Museum,[11] in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The aircraft is now under long-term restoration to static display condition. With spare parts from the remainder of FM118, it is planned to be complete as a museum quality piece in 2015

        Link to the restoration page: http://avrolancasterfm104.com/

  12. Susan Paxton August 21, 2014 / 2:47 pm

    WIKIPEDIA ! Good Lord, I promise to learn to type reel soone.

  13. richard August 23, 2014 / 5:02 am

    I’ve been very critical of Jackson’s loyalty to this film. Some in the past, on here, have tried to discredit my views as a Wallis historian (and someone who’s met members of the Wallis family), and one particular person who, apparently, worked alongside the New Zealander. Clearly, Jackson’s comments have absolved me. To conclude, Jackson has most definitely plummeted the film way down the pecking order — or in plain ENGLISH: He doesn’t give a s###. Just wish some other director/producer with a genuine desire could make the film.

  14. Laurie Edward. August 30, 2014 / 5:42 am

    No Dambuster remake. Like Casablanca, leave the original take the limelight.

    • richard August 31, 2014 / 3:00 pm

      Yup. Jackson is the biggest let down of all time. All Mr. Nobbit cares about is filling his wallet. Proof is abundant: The project first came to light in 2006. Stephen Fry wrote the initial script, which has been tampered with Sir David Frost was apart of the project. Years of silence from Mr. Nobbit, only bits here and there have been released. *Message to Mr. Nobbit*: If this is a genuine runner, let someone else finish off the production. You’ll still have your credit and commission, but let another do it before we all die! Failing that, just go away and dump the project. The original, although not accurate, has a certain charm the remake could never achieve.

      Apologies to all, but this is getting beyond the joke.

      • Philip Croft August 31, 2014 / 4:21 pm

        Yes=–I agree with you, I’m resolved to keeping my memories of that great classic film, uppermost in my collection of favourites. We all know there are omissions and errors, and accept the limitations of film technology in the mid 1950’s. What should not be lost is, that the object of the film was to be firstly, entertaining, and not claim to be a factual documentary—all that followed in later decades .As you say, at this distance in time, we view these weaknesses as ‘charm’.

      • Ian Mellows September 1, 2014 / 10:54 pm

        I lost a relative in the Dambusters raid and as such will, in protest, never watch,buy, or even consider any Jackson produuction

  15. Chas September 12, 2014 / 10:58 am

    Anyone who has worked in the film business knows the enormous difficulty of getting even a modest film greenlit. One also has to contend with the Hollywood backers “tinkering” with the project, something that David Puttnam found to his cost on Memphis Belle which was originally supposed to be about the Lancaster and Bomber Command.

    I believe that Jackson has enough respect for the history of Operation Chastise that he wants to make sure that all his ducks are in a row, and that the film honours appropriately the memory of the 133 aircrew who flew the mission.

    Incidentally, I had the pleasure of seeing Vera flying two weeks ago, and meeting and talking with a number of veteran RCAF and RAF Lancaster pilots, as well as getting a tour inside of this remarkable aircraft, an experience I shall not soon forget.

    • richard September 14, 2014 / 10:53 pm

      “…Jackson has enough respect for the history of Operation Chastise…” Respect is one thing, taking action and producing an end product is another. That’s PR posturing. If you’re the same person I had a spat with about 3-years ago, how long can your loyalty last? I know enough people in the film industry to know that if you REALLY want to complete a project, you will. A New Zealand film producer being dictated by his Hollywood puppet masters, and a genuine Dam Buster remake? Won’t ever happen! Not all of us are that gullible.

      • Chas September 15, 2014 / 12:23 am

        It took Richard Attenborough twenty years to get Gandhi made. Stanley Kubrick, one of the very few directors to work outside the Hollywood system, spent nearly thirty years trying to bring Napoleon to the screen—and failed. The film John Carter spent seventy nine years in “development hell”. Noticing a pattern here?

        And knowing a few people in the industry is a poor substitute for actually working in it, as I used to. For every film that gets made, thousands don’t and no amount of wishful thinking will alter that fact. I would dearly love this project to come to fruition but I’m not going to lose any sleep if it doesn’t.

        Of course, you could always try raising the financing, getting a screenplay written, recruiting the performing and technical talent, securing a distribution deal and all the million and one other things that have to happen to get a major film of this magnitude to the screen yourself, and show us how it’s all done—that is, if you REALLY want to.

      • richard September 17, 2014 / 8:59 am

        I’ve no interest in producing a remake. Finances, technical people, distribution and all the other headaches that go with making a film doesn’t appeal to me (that’s why he gets paid fortunes), much less because the Kiwi hold the rights (since Sir David Frost passed away) and no doubt would want millions for a project he doesn’t give a s### about — I personally don’t care one way or the other for a remake. In addition, since 2006 he’s only progressed with a few dummy aircraft and laying a blueprint. No actors have been earmarked, Stephen’s script still not finalised blah blah blah… the bloody list of things to do is endless. As previously mentioned those puppet masters really are pulling those strings.

  16. Keven Rector September 15, 2014 / 1:14 am

    No thanks, Chas: too scary for most of us and yes -like you —- I won’t lose sleep over it either, even though I’d love to see an accurate remake as well (due respects to Ms. Edward’s and Mr. Mellow’s comments and opinions re. leaving it well enough alone. (there’s ample validity to both of their views).

    I suspect Jackson’s (or maybe yes—- Hollywood’s) struggle with the script for present day is that in a modern day re-telling – the music score can’t swell triumphantly after the line “They got the Aider Dam as well!!!” He’s facing the same struggles Clint Eastwood probably had in 2005-2006 filming “Flags of Our Fathers” which inevitably ended up with him telling the struggle from both sides of the conflict (Letters from Iwo Jima). I suspect also your blog has Jackson’s attention (or at least that of his scriptwriters). There’s a lot of educated followers here at this site who’d be armed at the ready with criticism if he failed to get it right – Maybe THAT fact is giving him just as much pause as pleasing Hollywood is…

  17. bilbo baggins December 28, 2014 / 9:34 am

    What a load of pompous people demanding and insulting Peter Jackson for making what many people considered the impossible with his middle earth epic. The dam busters is a great story and I don’t doubt his desire to make it. However the final decision will ultimately not be his. Grow up and stop throwing tantrums on the Internet. If it happens it happens if it doesn’t so what?

    • richard December 28, 2014 / 12:34 pm

      Jackson is a very good producer/director… for fantasy films. Would you be happy for Disney to remake a Anne Frank film? Nope, me neither.

  18. Steve Lawrie May 30, 2015 / 3:26 am

    Interesting note from Kermit Weeks et al at Fantasy of Flight on their FB page – https://www.facebook.com/fantasyofflight?fref=ts The link may not take you directly to the correct article. But the FoF Lanc’s Turrets are/were on loan to Peter Jackson.

  19. richard May 31, 2015 / 12:22 am

    Old Kermit has the last airworthy Sunderland flying boat – or did have. The one my father flew with. Yet another uncomfortable twist in this ludicrous saga.

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