"I would build, animate, click frame and movie it. It was a totally solitary activity and yet, I was making a film," recalled the director. Despite his love for film, his parents – while extremely supportive of Jackson – harbored a secret wish for him to become an architect as they thought "it was a good solid career," according to the director.
His inspirations, on the other hand, were the BBC TV series "Monty Python's Flying Circus" – "I was 10 or 11 years old and it was the funniest thing I had ever seen in my life" -- and George A. Romero's zombie movies. The latter influenced Jackson's gory horror "Braindead" (1992), which was released as "Dead Alive" in the U.S.
Ronan and Jackson also have in common their love for New York. "I was born in New York, so I'm a tiny bit American," said the Irish actress, "but I moved back when I was 3. When I come back to New York, I feel like I'm at home."
Jackson, on the other hand, likes New York because "it's got the Empire State Building that King Kong climbed." Jackson's childhood fascination with the 1933 movie resulted in his directing the blockbuster remake of "King Kong" in 2005 starring Naomi Watts, Jack Black and Adrien Brody.
They also both chose a certain scene in "The Lovely Bones" as their favorite. Before Suzie Salmon died, she had a crush on a boy in her school and was looking forward to their first kiss, which her murder pre-empted. In the movie, she is given a choice to either experience that moment before she goes to heaven or to see her family. "The way it plays out is heartbreaking and makes me cry when I see it," admitted Jackson.
Like all great directors, movies are intensely personal experiences. For Jackson, it's something which he hopes to impart to his audience. "There is nothing more pleasing than having someone say, 'I saw your film and haven't been able to get it out of my head.' It doesn't happen that often. I'm always happy when I hear that," he said.
Like another famous director, Alfred Hitchcock, Jackson makes cameos in his movies. His Wikipedia page has a section devoted to them. "The Lovely Bones" is no exception. "I do a little cameo because we made a 1970s mall and in it there was a camera shop, which props outfitted. I noticed one of the cameras was one I had as a 12-year-old in 1973 so I did a cameo as a buyer."
Jackson's upcoming projects include making two prequels to "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, both based on J. R. R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit," which will be released in 2011 and 2012. Guillermo del Toro, the director of "Pan's Labyrinth" and the "Hellboy" franchise, will take the helm while Jackson is co-writing the script.
"I had the opportunity to direct it but what I fear as a filmmaker is repetition and doing something when I'm not pushing myself. I thought with "The Hobbit," I had done three "Lord of the Rings" movies and nearly killed myself doing them, and competing against yourself is not much fun," explained Jackson. "I do like script writing and so we (as a team) are writing the script for "The Hobbit." I'm looking forward to it handing it over to Guillermo and see what he'll do with it."
"The Lovely Bones" will be in theaters Dec. 11, 2009.