Peter Jackson developing a sci-fi movie: Mortal Engines

Peter Jackson, who has his hands full producing two films based on J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, may next turn his attention to actual sci-fi: His hometown newspaper, New Zealand's Dominion Post, reports that Jackson is secretly working to adapt the Mortal Engines novels for the screen.

The hush-hush project is understood to be in early development, with work on the first of the four books under way, industry sources say.

Weta Workshops is also believed to be working on designs for the science fiction series, which features giant mobile cities.

No one in Jackson's camp would confirm the report.

The books, by Philip Reeve, are set in a post-apocalyptic steampunk world, where cities have become giant vehicles known as Traction Cities and must consume each other to survive. Mortal Engines is the first book in the series, which is known as the Hungry City Chronicles in the United States.

Jackson also optioned the rights to the historic-fantasy Temeraire novels, which are set in an alternate-reality version of the Napoleonic Wars in which dragons are used for aerial attacks.

Jackson's The Lovely Bones is now in theaters.

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