Peter Jackson: & # 39; My existence is due to a German machine gun & # 39;

If there had been no random shot during the First World War, film director Peter Jackson might never have made his Hobbit films or won a series of prizes for his Lord of the Rings trilogy.

His grandfather William, who fought along with JRR Tolkien during the war, was seriously injured during the conflict. He returned to Britain, married wife Harriet and had five sons, including Jackson's father William. & # 39; So I know that my existence is due to a German machine gun, & # 39; he joked.

"If that German machine fighter had not touched my grandfather that day, I would not live now. It's weird. I wish I knew who he was. I would buy a bottle of Schnaps from his family. & # 39;

William Jackson, circled, fought in the First World War together with Lord of the Rings author JRR Tolkien. Jackson's grandson Peter would later transform the books into Oscar-winning films

William Jackson, circled, fought in the First World War together with Lord of the Rings author JRR Tolkien. Jackson's grandson Peter would later transform the books into Oscar-winning films

Peter Jackson, pictured, was inspired by his grandfather William to produce a state-of-the-art film about the First World War by using

Peter Jackson, pictured, was inspired by his grandfather William to produce a state-of-the-art film about the First World War by using

Peter Jackson, pictured, was inspired by his grandfather William to produce a state-of-the-art film about the First World War by using

Jackson's lifelong interest in the First World War comes from his grandfather, who became a member of the 2nd Battalion South Wales Borderers in 1910 and went on to fight in Tsingtao, Gallipoli, the Somme, Pasendale, Cambrai.

Tolkien joined the Lancashire Fusiliers in 1915, was sent to relieve the Borderers and fought in the Battle of the Somme before he was eliminated with trench foot.

Without their survival Tolkien would never have written his famous novels – and Jackson would never have filmed them.

Jackson, 52, never met his grandfather, who won a Distinguished Conduct medal in Gallipoli – the precious medal is kept in a brass box, stamped with the head of Queen Mary.

But he remembers stories about the man, whose health deteriorated before he died in 1940 at the age of 51. In fact it was up to his grandfather, who fought with the Anzacs in Gallipoli, that his father, also William, emigrated to New Zealand after the Second World War.

William Jackson, pictured on his wedding day to Peter's grandmother Harriet, center

William Jackson, pictured on his wedding day to Peter's grandmother Harriet, center

William Jackson, pictured on his wedding day to Peter's grandmother Harriet, center

When he learned about William Jackson, he showed his grandson Peter how he could investigate the conflict

When he learned about William Jackson, he showed his grandson Peter how he could investigate the conflict

When he learned about William Jackson, he showed his grandson Peter how he could investigate the conflict

"As a ten-year-old, my father had to carry him up the stairs on his back," he recently told the Sunday Times. & # 39; My father said it was because he was in the trenches for so long, up to his waist in ice-cold water, & # 39;

It was his grandfather, who inspired the Jackson & # 39; s documentary Thou Shall Not Grow Old. This film premiered at Prince William's London Film Festival last month and will be screened on BBC1 tonight to celebrate the centenary of Armistice Day.

The director, who won 17 Oscars for his Lord of the Rings trilogy, with more than £ 1.8 billion gross value, created the film with original images from the film archive and audio from the BBC archives of Imperial War Museums. He colored the footage, converted it to 3D and transformed it with modern production techniques.

I wanted to reach through the mist of time and pull these men into the modern world, "he said," so that they can regain their humanity again – rather than just as figures of the Charlie Chaplin. -type to be seen in the vintage archive film. By using our computing power to erase the technical limitations of the 100-year-old cinema, we can see and hear the Great War as they have experienced it. & # 39;

Jackson used archive footage from the First World War to bring the soldiers back to life

Jackson used archive footage from the First World War to bring the soldiers back to life

Jackson used archive footage from the First World War to bring the soldiers back to life

Jackson was interviewed by the BBC about his grandfather in a documentary behind the scenes, which followed him in the course of a year in making his film.

& # 39; My grandfather William Jackson was in the border crossings of The South Wales and he was from 1910 in the British Army & # 39 ;, he added. & # 39; He was a professional soldier in the 29th Division.

& # 39; He was in one of the first battles of the First World War in 1914, one of the first British soldiers to enter the fight. The shame for me is that they have about 40 films in the regiment and the Border Colleges of South Wales are not there. Otherwise I would see my grandfather, what I hoped for, but they did not do everything.

I went to the Borderers Museum in South Wales at the Brecon Beacons in the UK and they showed me very friendly through their photo library. I found a shot of British troops in the trenches and my grandfather stood there with a cigarette in his mouth. He has this James Dean pose and he looks really cool. & # 39;

Thou Shall Not Grow Old will be screened for BBC2 tomorrow at 9.30 pm. What do artists do all day? Peter Jackson will be broadcast on BBC4 at 7:30 PM on Monday.

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