Peter Jackson flies with Temeraire

After years spent making the Rings trilogy and then sticking with epic scale movies for King Kong, you might think that Peter Jackson had had enough of fantasy films to last anyone a lifetime.

Think again. While he currently plans to make his adaptation of Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones next, he hasn’t ruled fantastical adventures out completely – in fact, he’s just thrown down some money to secure the rights to a trilogy of novels by Naomi Novik.

Temeraire posits a world where the Napoleonic Wars were fought with a little help from some unusual winged air support. We meet our hero, British naval captain Will Lawrence as he’s capturing an enemy French ship. What he doesn’t expect is its cargo – an incubating dragon’s egg. Lawrence ends up having to scuttle his sea-going career as he becomes captain of the dragon he eventually names Temeraire.

There are three books published in the series so far – The Captain’s Dragon, The Throne Of Jade and The Black Powder War, so Jackson has plenty of material from which to work. He hasn’t yet decided whether he’ll shoot the film himself – though he’s leaning towards it – and won’t say if he plans more than one movie, along with computer games and other outlets.

"Temeraire is a terrific meld of two genres that I particularly love - fantasy and historical epic," Jackson told The Hollywood Reporter. "I can't wait to see Napoleonic battles fought with a squadron of dragons. That's what I go to the movies for. As I was reading these books, I could see them coming to life in my mind's eye," Jackson said. "These are beautifully written novels, not only fresh, original and fast-paced, but full of wonderful characters with real heart."

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