Though he stridently denied his interest in a remake just a few months ago, Peter Jackson has a long-standing love for 1954's The Dam Busters, a British film about a real-life secret squadron created to to destroy three crucial German dams during World War II. And, according to an exclusive interview he gave Screen Daily yesterday, Jackson is, in fact, producing that non-existent remake.* He actually inquired about the rights to the film years ago, before work on the The Lord of the Rings series had even begun. At that time he was told the rights were held by Icon, and that Mel Gibson was considering a remake, but they recently became available again, and Jackson snatched them up.

The film -- retitled Dambusters for our slick, streamlined times -- will be directed by long-time Jackson collaborator Christian Rivers, and the pair have already done extensive research for the project, including trips to England to interview the squadron's surviving pilots, and Germany to visit the rebuilt dams. Though Jackson told Screen Daily that he hopes to begin shooting by the middle of next year with a budget between $30 and $40 million, he and Rivers have yet to hire a screenwriter.

*There's no word yet on whether the offensively named dog will make it into the 21st century version or not.