Hera Hilmar has been set as the lead female role in Mortal Engines, the Christian Rivers-directed movie adaptation of the book series by British author Philip Reeve. Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh (The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies) are producing the film adaptation. Hilmar’s recent credits include The Ottoman Lieutenant and The Oath, and she spent three seasons on the Starz series Da Vinci’s Demons.
Mortal Engines is set in a world many thousands of years in the future. Earth’s cities now roam the globe on huge wheels, devouring each other in a struggle for ever-diminishing resources. On one of these massive Traction Cities, Tom Natsworthy has an unexpected encounter with a mysterious young woman from the Outlands who will change the course of his life forever.
Jackson and Walsh have been involved with the project for several years, having optioned the rights from Scholastic. They co-wrote the screenplay with their LOTR and Hobbit collaborator Philippa Boyens. MRC and Universal are co-financing the film, Universal also will serve as worldwide distributor. Production is slated to begin in New Zealand in the spring, and the film is set to be released December 14, 2018.
Rivers, an Oscar winner for his VFX work on the Jackson-directed King Kong, makes his feature directorial debut after spending the majority of his 25-year career working closely with Jackson. He began as a storyboard artist, later moving into supervising visual effects and finally serving as splinter unit director on The Hobbit trilogies. Rivers was second unit director on the remake of Pete’s Dragon.
Zane Weiner, Amanda Walker and Deborah Forte will produce with Walsh and Jackson. Ken Kamins will be executive producer and Boyens will co-produce. Hilmar is represented by 42 in the UK, Management 360 and Bloom Hergott.