Peter Jackson has a reputation as being one of the nicest folks in the film industry, and E.T. star Dee Wallace won’t argue with that.
As the actress emotionally recounted to Yahoo Entertainment during a 2019 interview (watch above), she was working on the 1996 horror comedy The Frighteners (which turns 25 today) in New Zealand with the future Lord of the Rings Oscar winner when her husband, actor Christopher Stone, suffered a heart attack.
“So I flew back [to the States] and they did an angioplasty, and I flew back to finish [The Frighteners], and four days later a blood clot hit his heart and he died,” Wallace explained. “So I flew back again and put his service on, picked my kid and my nanny up, and flew back to finish the film. So I was back and forth four times and it’s literally across half the world.”
The film’s production office fronted the airfare, with the understanding that Wallace would eventually reimburse the payments.
“I was like, ‘I don’t know how I’m going to pay for all of these flights. They said, ‘That’s all right, you can settle up at the end with us.’ And I thought, ‘Well, I’m going to do this movie for nothing, you know?
“And I went in at the end to settle up with the account — it makes me cry every time I tell this story, sorry — and she looked at me and she said, ‘This is Peter’s gift to you. He’s going to take care of all this, Dee.’ And that’s who he is. He’s a great director, and he’s a creative genius, but he’s just a beautiful human being.'”
Co-written by Jackson’s partner Fran Walsh, The Frighteners starred Michael J. Fox as an architect who develops psychic abilities after his wife’s murder and becomes a paranormal investigator. Though the film wasn’t a major box office hit, its strong reviews helped buoy Jackson into helming the career-changing Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Stream The Frighteners on Amazon.
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