Fry speaks: how Jackson took on The Dam Busters

The nation’s most loved polymath, Stephen Fry, was this week’s guest on Simon Mayo and Mark Kermode’s film review sequence on Radio 5. You can download this as a podcast from the BBC website. For about 25 minutes he discussed a number of his film projects, including a couple of references to work on the Dambusters remake. He describes how David Frost, who had bought the rights to Paul Brickhill’s book, couldn’t find anyone for the remake. When he was told that Peter Jackson had a poster for the 1955 Michael Anderson film hanging in his office, he rang him immediately and did the deal there and then. (If you don’t want to listen to the whole thing scroll to about 18.30-22.00 minutes.)
At about 33.30, he also responds to the inevitable listener’s question about the dog’s name. I don’t normally mention this tedious debate, but in this case, I’m making an exception.
[Hat tip: Nigel Parkin]

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Dambusters remake: Fry says 2010, we say 2011

UPDATE, 16 August 2014. We were even wronger! Best guess is now 2016 or 2017.

UPDATE, 24 September 2011. We were wrong! Best guess is now 2013 or 2014.

UPDATE, 16 December 2009: Jackson confirms shooting to start in 2010

While he was recently down under in New Zealand, filming a nature programme for the BBC, Stephen Fry gave an interview to the entertainment section of the Wellington newspaper, the Dominion Post. Most of this was about his travelogue, Stephen Fry in America, which was coming up on air down there, but at the end he spoke briefly about his work on the remake of The Dam Busters.
The article is not available on the interwebnet, but I managed to track it down via a library subscription, so I bring it to you here.

Interviewer: Is it true that you have rewritten The Dam Busters?
SF: Yes, well, I won’t say rewritten. The great New Zealand director, Peter Jackson, asked me if I would be interested in writing a screenplay on The Dam Busters. This was fascinating because – I yield to none my admiration to him as a film-maker; he’s astounding – I had no idea he’d be interested in this story.
It turns out, actually, that it was David Frost who had bought the rights to the Paul Brickhill book The Dam Busters and was desperate to find someone to direct it, and he was told by a friend that Peter Jackson had a huge poster of the original film on his wall in his office and David thought, ‘I’ll call him up’, and the deal was struck. Then Peter got in touch with me. Now the original film is a magnificent film – it genuinely is a masterpiece.
Interviewer: And when will we see your version?
SF: 2010.
Dominion Post, Wellington, NZ, 17 February 2009.

The great man says ‘2010’, but I still think he is being optimistic. IMDB Pro has a few people listed as working on pre-production visuals, but no one else, which would indicate that shooting is still some way away.