Peter JacksonImaginative New Zealand Director
Lord of the Lord of the Rings.
A staunchly DIY director/writer/producer who worked far outside of the Hollywood system for years, New Zealand auteur Peter Jackson gained a cult following in the 1980s and early ‘90s with outrageous low-budget films that celebrated crass alien invaders, drug-addled puppets, and squishy zombies (Bad Taste, Meet the Feebles, and Dead Alive, respectively). In 1994, Jackson earned a new level of respect when he unveiled the graceful-yet-foreboding indie drama Heavenly Creatures, which featured the film debut of a young Kate Winslet. The lauded picture was nominated for a Best Original Screenplay, giving Jackson (and his wife/writing partner, Fran Walsh) just a small glimpse of the Oscar attention he would receive with his triumphant adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy. Stunning cinematic achievements that found the director applying his dark aesthetic to a truly sweeping story, these three films succeeded both commercially and critically, placing Jackson in the company of A-list Hollywood directors, most notably fellow horror alum Sam Raimi.
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