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Hugo Weaving Reteams With Peter Jackson on ‘Mortal Engines’ (EXCLUSIVE)

After tackling the realm of Middle Earth, Hugo Weaving looks to enter another fantasy world, reteaming with his “Lord of the Rings” director.

Sources tell Variety that Weaving has joined the cast of Universal and MRC’s adaptation of “Mortal Engines,” which Peter Jackson is writing and producing.

Hera Hilmar, Robbie Sheehan, Ronan Rafterty, and Stephen Lang are also on board.

Jackson, Fran Walsh, and Philippa Boyens will co-write the film with Christian Rivers directing. MRC and Universal are co-financing the movie, with Universal also serving as worldwide distributor.

Jackson and Walsh have been involved with the project for several years, having optioned the rights of the Philip Reeves book from Scholastic in 2001. Ken Kamins — Jackson, Walsh, and Boyens’ longtime manager — brought the project to MRC.

Zane Weiner (“The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” trilogies), Amanda Walker (“The Hobbit”), and Deborah Forte (“The Golden Compass”) are serving as producers, along with Walsh and Jackson. Kamins (“The Hobbit” trilogy, “District 9”) will executive produce along with Boyens.

The book is set thousands of years in the future. Earth’s cities now roam the globe on huge wheels, devouring each other in a struggle over diminishing resources. On one of these massive Traction Cities, Tom Natsworthy has an unexpected encounter with a mysterious young woman from the Outlands, who will change the course of his life forever.Production is slated to begin in New Zealand this spring, and the film is set to bow on Dec. 14, 2018.

The sci-fi/fantasy movie is the first in a planned series of films based on Reeve’s novels. The series is comprised of four books: “Mortal Engines,” “Predator’s Gold,” “Infernal Devices,” and “A Darkling Plain.”

The “Mortal Engines” novels have won several awards, including the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, the Los Angeles Times Book Award, the Smarties Gold Award, and Blue Peter Book of the Year.

Weaving and Jackson have a long history dating back to the “Lord of the Rings” franchise where Weaving played the elf Elrond in the first three films and also reprised the role in Jackson’s “The Hobbit” series.Best known for his role as the villainous Agent Smith in “The Matrix” franchise, Weaving most recently appeared as Andrew Garfield’s father in Mel Gibson’s “Hacksaw Ridge.”

He is repped by CAA and Shanahan Management in Australia, and Sloane, Offer, Weber and Dern.

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