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Newcomer Hera Hilmar Lands Female Lead in Peter Jackson’s ‘Mortal Engines’

Hera Hilmar has closed a deal for the female lead of Universal and MRC’s adaptation of Philip Reeve’s “Mortal Engines,” which will be written and produced by Peter Jackson.

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 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, while Boyens co-produces.

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.

This will be Hilmar’s first major role at a major studio. She recently wrapped production on “The Ottoman Lieutenant” opposite Josh Harnett and “An Ordinary Man” opposite Ben Kingsley.

The Iceland native also appeared in the Starz! series “Da Vinci’s Demons” as Vanessa.

She is repped by 42 in England, Management 360 and Bloom Hergott.

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