Christian Rivers is a New Zealand storyboard artist, visual effects supervisor, special effects technician and director. He first met Peter Jackson as a 17-year-old, and storyboarded all of Jackson's films since Braindead. He made his directing debut in the film adaptation of Mortal Engines, and planning a remake of The Dam Busters, both produced by Peter Jackson.
Christian Rivers started his career by storyboarding Peter Jackson's Braindead right after finishing high school. He has since then continued to work for Jackson on storyboards, special effects, visual effects and splinter unit directing on The Hobbit trilogy. On King Kong, he directed the previz of the fight between King Kong and the three T-rexes. The sequence was used as the blueprint for the final version, giving Rivers a direction credit for the scene. For his work on King Kong, he won an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects.
Rivers went on directing his first short film, Feeder, and second unit directing on the 2016 remake of Pete's Dragon.
In December 2009, it was stated that the New Zealand filmmaker Peter Jackson intended to make a movie based on Mortal Engines. On 25 October 2016, Peter Jackson announced that WingNut Films has started work on producing a feature film to be directed by Christian Rivers. The script has been written by Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens. The movie will be financed by MRC and Universal, and shooting on Mortal Engines got underway in March 2017 in New Zealand. Producers Zane Weiner and Amanda Walker, who both worked on The Hobbit, will be spearheading the NZ based team, along with Deborah Forte in the US.
The film premiered on 27 November, 2018.
The Dam Busters
Work on a remake of The Dam Busters, produced by Peter Jackson and directed by first time director Christian Rivers, began in 2008. Jackson said in the mid-1990s that he became interested in remaking the 1955 film, but found that the rights had been bought by Mel Gibson. In 2004, Jackson was contacted by his agent, who said Gibson had dropped the rights. In December 2005, the rights were purchased by David Frost, from the Brickhill family. Stephen Fry wrote the script.
In March 2007, it was announced it will be distributed by Universal Pictures, and StudioCanal. Filming was planned to commence in early 2009, on a budget of USD 40 million, although no project specific filming had begun by May 2009. The project was delayed because Jackson decided to make The Hobbit.
Weta Workshop was making the models and special effects for the film and had made 10 life size Lancaster bombers. Fry said Wing Commander Guy Gibson's dog "Nigger" will be called "Digger" in the remake so as to avoid controversy, despite the historical inaccuracy. Les Munro, a pilot in the strike team, joined the production crew in Masterton as technical advisor. Jackson was also to use newly declassified War Office documents to ensure the authenticity of the film.
After Munro died in August 2015, Phil Bonner of the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre said he still thinks Jackson will eventually make the film, citing Jackson's passion for aviation. Jackson said, "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."