New Zealand film director Peter Jackson, tipped to win an Oscar for his "The Lord of the Rings" epic, says he would like to make "The Hobbit" prequel to the trilogy and work with some of the same actors again.
Speaking to journalists in Berlin ahead of the European premiere of the last part of the "Rings" trilogy -- "The Return of the King" -- Jackson said he was sad but also relieved that the mammoth project he has worked on for seven years was over.
"I'm glad there's not a fourth Lord of the Rings film next year," he said. "I feel very tired and exhausted."
"I've been working very hard this year. It was the hardest year of the whole seven really," he said, adding that the last part had twice as many computer-generated shots as the second, "The Two Towers", which won an Oscar for digital effects.
"It's my favourite because it has a stronger emotional depth than the other two films, it has a sense of closure," he said on Monday.
Despite his exhaustion, Jackson is not resting on his laurels and said if complex rights issues can be resolved he would like to direct "The Hobbit", J.R.R. Tolkien's prequel to the "Rings" trilogy set some 50 years earlier.
"I'd be interested in doing it because I think it would give continuity to the overall chapter," he said.
While many of the lead "Rings" characters do not appear in "The Hobbit" story, the wizard Gandalf, played by Ian McKellen, and Gollum, the cave dweller corrupted by the powerful ring, do and should make a comeback. Arwen, the elf princess played by Liv Tyler, could also feature again, Jackson said.
STAND TEST OF TIME
Jackson made movie history by filming all three parts of the "Rings" trilogy simultaneously. The first two films have earned a combined $1.8 billion and won a total of six Oscars.
Barrie Osborne, the producer of the trilogy, and Philippa Boyens, the writer, both said they hoped for more Oscars for the third instalment, especially one for Jackson's directing.
"The film is a memorable film that will stand the test of time and be around forever and ever. However winning depends on what's happening in the world, what other films are out there that you're competing with," Osborne said.
Boyens added: "Peter didn't make these films to win an Oscar...It's always been really hard for fantasy films or films perceived as fantasy to get that kind of acknowledgement."
Jackson, 42, has certainly not let fame go to his head. He met journalists in an upmarket Berlin hotel barefoot and wearing a faded shirt and threadbare shorts. While he said "Rings" was the hardest thing he would ever do, more challenges await.
"I just love making movies. I have done since I was seven years old," he said.
Jackson will take a few weeks off over Christmas and then start writing the script for his next project, a remake of the classic "King Kong" which, like the "Rings", he will also film in New Zealand, using the same team of special effects experts.
Richard Taylor, whose special effects workshop made 48,000 props for the trilogy and whose work earned two Oscars, says "King Kong" will be even better than Lord of the Rings.
"I have every aspiration to make King Kong much cooler," he said. "It's going to be a very beautiful film."