Jordan Vogt-Roberts says his King Kong is a throwback to the 1933 version
While we've certainly seen brief glimpses of King Kong in the trailers for Jordan Vogt-Roberts' upcoming KONG: SKULL ISLAND, we didn't really get a clear look at the giant ape until this morning. Entertainment Weekly posted one of their lovely high-resolution photos which showed off Kong in all his fearsome glory and revealed that he looks much more like the 1933 version than any of the later incarnations did. Jordan Vogt-Roberts told Entertainment Weekly that while still wanted his Kong to feel unique to his film, he did go back to the 1933 version for inspiration.
We sort of went back to the 1933 version in the sense that he’s a bipedal creature that walks in an upright position, as opposed to the anthropomorphic, anatomically correct silverback gorilla that walks on all fours. Our Kong was intended to say, like, this isn’t just a big gorilla or a big monkey. This is something that is its own species. It has its own set of rules, so we can do what we want and we really wanted to pay homage to what came before…and yet do something completely different.
There’s subtle nods. [The ’33 film] was black and white, so it’s really easy to assume that the fur on the monkey is black, but there’s actually a lot of forums and things that you read and there’s some real poster artwork where Kong’s fur skews more brownish, so we actually pushed his fur in more of a brown as opposed to the traditional black. It really was trying to create this feeling so that when these humans look up at him, they hopefully have a visceral response, saying to themselves, ‘That’s a God, I’m looking at a God.’
It's been a little over a decade since the Eighth Wonder of the World last graced our screens in Peter Jackson's KING KONG, and, while the big ape and the animation which drove him were impressive, Vogt-Roberts doesn't believe that there's much similarity between Jackson's version and the new Kong of KONG: SKULL ISLAND.
That version is very much a scaled-up silverback gorilla, and ours is something that is slightly more exaggerated. A big mandate for us was, How do we make this feel like a classic movie monster? [Kong] was a movie monster, so we worked really hard to take some of the elements of the ’33 version, some of those exaggerated features, some of those cartoonish and iconic qualities, and then make them their own…We created something that to some degree served as a throwback to the inspiration for what started all of this, but then also [had] it be a fully unique and different creature that — I would like to think — is fully contained and identifiable as the 2017 version of King Kong. I think there are very modern elements to him, yet hopefully he feels very timeless at the same time.
Although KONG: SKULL ISLAND takes place in the same universe as Gareth Edwards’ GODZILLA (setting the stage for GODZILLA VS. KING KONG in 2020), it won't take nearly as much time to reveal the monster as Edwards' film did. Vogt-Roberts says that he's "sort of sick of the notion that a monster movie needs to wait an hour or 40 minutes until the creature shows up," and as a result, many of those movies tend to have a structure that's a bit of a slow burn. Something about KONG: SKULL ISLAND made the director want to "reject that and play a very, very different game." More Kong? Yes please.
KONG: SKULL ISLAND is set for a March 10, 2017 release.
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