Murphy however remains a keen observer of the business here and he doesn’t like what he sees – ‘Right now [New Zealand film] is a pretty improvished field’ — and he doesn’t think that Jackson and his vast empire in nearby Miramar has done New Zealand cinema much good.
While Murphy heaps praise on Jackson’s technical talents in A Life On Film he also makes it plain he’s not much of a fan of Jackson’s films. Murphy writes that he can’t be bothered with ‘these screeching crashing orgies of violence that pass for hits. This could be why Peter is a billionaire and I’m not’.
Part of the problem Murphy has with The Lord of the Rings is the source material – Tolkien is no Shakespeare he says – but he also views Jackson as more of an industrialist than film-maker.
‘It’s nothing to do with what I do … and it’s nothing to do with New Zealand national cinema at all. Peter Jackson is a very good film-maker – he puts them together nicely and he makes the scenes work and he’s got a very very good eye for certain camera moves and things like that.
‘My reaction to Peter Jackson is really my reaction to them sanctifying him – if he farts it makes the front page of the f***ing newspaper! I didn’t mind him being made a Sir – I objected to him being made an icon of the arts because I don’t think his film-making is art.
I thought he should have been made an icon of industry or something’ …