'Offensive' name dogs Dambusters

Last updated 05:00 06/05/2009

NAME GAME: Guy Gibson's dog could yet keep his racially offensive name in Peter Jackson's multimillion-dollar remake of The Dam Busters.

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Guy Gibson's dog could yet keep his racially offensive name in Peter Jackson's multimillion-dollar remake of The Dam Busters.

Gibson, head of the British mission that destroyed German dams in World War II, had a dog called Nigger, who featured in the 1951 book The Dam Busters and was mentioned 12 times in the 1954 film of the same name.

The book and the original film are both sources for Jackson's remake, Dambusters.

It is understood the movie will be shot in Wellington and Britain when it goes into production later this year.

Jackson has been at Hood Aerodrome in Masterton this week testing new camera technology on a full-scale replica of a Lancaster bomber.

He has faced questions over the dog's name amid speculation that its continued use would upset more politically correct modern audiences.

The film's executive producer, Sir David Frost, told the Daily Mail newspaper: "Guy sometimes used to call his dog Nigsy, so I think that's what we will call it."

But Jackson's spokespeople now say that decision has not been made.

Jackson's executive assistant, Matthew Dravitzki, told The Dominion Post this week that changing the dog's name was far from a done deal.

"A lot of people have said that the dog's name was Nigger and, to stay true to the story, you can't just change it. That name is talked about a lot, but we have not made any decisions yet. The script is still being written and that decision on whether we have Nigger or not will be made closer to the time."

When the Dambusters project was announced in 2006, Jackson said: "It is not our intention to offend people. But really you are in a no-win, damned-if-you-do-and-damned-if-you-don't scenario. If you change it, everyone's going to whinge and whine about political correctness. And if you don't change it, obviously you are offending a lot of people inadvertently."

The camera technology dummy run in Masterton came to an end last night.

Production is expected to pick up pace over the next few months, but there is still no confirmation as to who has been cast in the lead roles.

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- The Dominion Post

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