Mortal Engines: filming finishes


Concept art from the movie

I’ve lost the will to blog lately, and don’t see it returning any time soon, but I thought it was worth marking the completion of photography on Mortal Engines. This doesn’t mean the movie is finished – post production starts now, and presumably goes on until pretty close to the release date, 14th December 2018. But it does mean that the live action has all been shot, and the cast are heading home.

I was lucky enough to be invited down to Wellington back in May to visit Stone Street Studios, where the production was based. I’ll post a full account of the trip once the movie is actually out, but I don’t think I’m giving away any secrets if I say that it was all looking very good. London was only just starting to be built when I was there, but I walked around the streets of Airhaven and Batmunkh Gompa, sat in the gondola of the Jenny Haniver, and peeked inside Mr Shrike’s house. Most of it looked very much as I’d imagined, except for the bits which looked better.

The actors were just as impressive – watching Robbie Sheehan, Hera Hilmar, Hugo Weaving and some of the other cast members at work made me realise that when actors complain that, ‘it’s SUCH hard work, dahling,’ they have a point: acting in a film like Mortal Engines means long hours and heroic feats of concentration – it can’t be easy, believably portraying intense emotions in the midst of what’s basically a busy factory, but they make it look easy. So did the director, Christian Rivers, who has the daunting job of orchestrating it all. I didnt hear any complaints, though – the cast and crew all seemed to be having a good time, which must bode well. During most of my visit a posse of aviators were busy doing their stuff in Airhaven’s top nighspot the Gasbag and Gondola. I think Anna Fang (Jihae), Captain Khora (Rege-Jean Page) and co. have a little bit more to do in the movie than they did in the book, and frankly they deserve their own spin-off movie, they’re all great.

Meanwhile, what lurked in this mysterious box in the corner of the studio? I didn’t dare to look…

Photo by Shrike (AKA Stephen Lang)



  1. The Sheehab
    Jul 19, 2017 @ 19:45:15

    Love this. Thanks for sharing what you could! Looking forward to more information when the time is right.


  2. Yodatheoak
    Jul 19, 2017 @ 21:34:41

    Blimey, What an opportunity to see some of the sets. I can’t wait to see what release later next year.


  3. Jimmy Jangles
    Jul 19, 2017 @ 22:01:57

    Cannot wait for this! Nor a trailer…


  4. William
    Jul 19, 2017 @ 22:29:40

    So happy for this and for you. Your book really made a huge mark on me and I am looking forward to the movie! It makes me happy that you are happy with it.


  5. Lisajane
    Jul 19, 2017 @ 23:20:20

    I’ve no doubt it will turn out to be wonderful
    Happy you got to visit our wee country and my favourite city
    Can you come back and do some readings Please ❤️❤️


  6. Keith Mole
    Jul 20, 2017 @ 03:36:40

    Was fortunate to be one of the extra’s working on the film. Being a huge fan of the series I was impressed to see it come to life. here’s to the other books being made!


  7. Joan
    Jul 20, 2017 @ 09:06:57

    Can’t wait!


  8. Nic Watson
    Jul 21, 2017 @ 00:51:40

    Always good to hear new things about my favourite series of all time!


  9. saqib
    Aug 06, 2017 @ 11:48:53

    Hi! Philip, amazing books you have written, Cant wait for the movie. why dont u write a book about the adventures of Anna fang?


  10. Ed Hatton
    Aug 19, 2017 @ 21:15:30

    Mortal Engines is a brilliant book (and series). Philip Reeve is a modern-day genius. Here’s hoping that the film will be just as good!


  11. Philip Reeve
    Aug 19, 2017 @ 23:18:25

    Sorry, I missed all these comments – thank you all! LisaJane, New Zealand is lovely and I really hope to come back soon…Keith, thank you for extra-ing! And Saqib, I’ve often thought about doing something about Anna Fang, so who knows…


  12. John Adams
    Dec 23, 2017 @ 00:42:31

    Very excited by this and the visuals from the recent teaser trailer. Yes please to the exotic life of Anna Fang! Plus a plea to find out whatever happened to the legendary Fever Crumb 😋


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