Jackson confesses:

He's no superhero comic fan

Published July 18, 2012 5:16PM (EDT)

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Peter Jackson does not expect he'll ever get into the superhero business.

The filmmaker behind "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy and the upcoming prelude "The Hobbit" said superheroes may rule in Hollywood, but he has no interest in doing a comic-book adaptation himself.

"I've never actually read a comic in my life," Jackson confided in an interview at last week's Comic-Con, the fan convention where he previewed footage of his two-part take on "The Hobbit." ''That's a lie. I did read 'The Walking Dead' in the last year or two, which I thoroughly enjoyed. But I've never read a superhero comic. I've literally never turned a single page of a single superhero comic."

In that regard, Jackson's out of step with Hollywood's current moneymakers. This summer's big films so far have been the superhero ensemble "The Avengers" and "The Amazing Spider-Man," with the Batman finale "The Dark Knight Rises" expected to debut to huge audiences.

Jackson's a master of action spectacles himself, so he's not going to knock superhero flicks. He's in favor of whatever it takes to keep people coming out to the movies at a time when technology has given them endless entertainment options.

And if right now, it's superhero movies, so be it.

"You're dealing with a situation in which the audience votes with its bums, as they say," Jackson said. "We've got to make films that get kids off their iPads and away from their home entertainment systems and back into the cinemas again. So I think anything that can stimulate a return to the cinema is a good thing, no matter what the genre is."

Still, Jackson said he wishes studios would make room for more lower- and mid-budgeted films, the sort of intimate, personal stories that were a Hollywood mainstay before the blockbuster era took hold a few decades ago.

In between his great ape tale "King Kong" and "The Hobbit," Jackson directed just such a smaller film with 2009's "The Lovely Bones," an afterlife drama centered on a murdered girl.

But Jackson said "all the really great independent cinema has gone to TV now," with such sharp, brave dramas as "Breaking Bad."

"Variety is the thing, isn't it?" Jackson said. "It would be a shame if cinema was just superheroes and nothing else. So the real problem is the lack of those mid-budget films."

Jackson wants to do something smaller again himself at some point, though he's booked for a few years with "The Hobbit" and a sequel to last year's "The Adventures of Tintin."

Steven Spielberg directed "Tintin," with Jackson producing the action tale based on Belgian writer Herge's stories of a globe-trotting young reporter. The film was created through motion-capture, with live actors providing a digital foundation for characters that were layered over with computer animation to make the finished product.

The filmmakers plan to switch roles on the next one, with Jackson directing a follow-up that he said will move Tintin "to a slightly different genre, a slightly less of a rollicking adventure and something a bit more, a little bit more of a sort of espionage type of story. So it's a slight tone shift, which I think will be good."

Jackson said he hopes to spend five or six weeks next year doing the motion-capture shoot, while he's finishing part two of "The Hobbit." The first "Hobbit" film hits theaters this December, with the second following a year later.

Spielberg and Jackson have not decided what to do with "Tintin" after the second movie.

"We have talked about us co-directing at some stage, but we have talked about the idea of bringing in a third filmmaker," Jackson said. "But then, we've said, 'You know what? If we're having so much fun, it's something we might just want to keep on doing ourselves.' So we certainly haven't put our minds quite into a third film yet."

By David Germain

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