Set Visit: Everything you need to know about Kong: Skull Island
When it comes to film, there are few cinematic wonders as big as King Kong. From the 1933 original to Peter Jackson's iteration, King Kong has always been an event of epic proportions, and KONG: SKULL ISLAND from Warner Bros. and Legendary will be no different.
Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts is a relative newcomer in the world of feature film, having directed the 2013 Sundance hit THE KINGS OF SUMMER, along with a few other shorts. At first glance, this situation seems very similar to Colin Trevorrow taking on the reins of JURASSIC WORLD. After all, both directors proved themselves on a more intimate, character-driven story before taking on a big-budget franchise. Trevorrow's effort proved to be a box-office success, despite bringing in mixed reviews from fans. Obviously I can't speak for SKULL ISLAND'S financial outcome just yet, but in relation to Trevorrow's directorial effort, I can tell you one thing about KONG: SKULL ISLAND; the end result couldn't be more different.
First off, you'll note that Skull Island is in the actual title of the film, and that's because it has a HUGE role to play. In order for Jordan and Co. to capture something tangible to fill in for this mysterious island, production would be shooting in Hawaii, Australia and Vietnam. I was invited out to the former location in December of 2015 to see a few of the sets (and scenes being shot), check out the concept art and speak to some of the cast and crew.
You can read up on our interviews with executive producer Alex Garcia and director Jordan Vogt-Roberts HERE, as well as our interviews with cast members Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson and Tom Hiddleston HERE. For now, we're going to go over some of the bullet points of SKULL ISLAND so you know what to expect come March of 2017!
- KONG: SKULL ISLAND is not connected to any other King Kong movie.
- The prologue is set during World War II, where a US and Japanese fighter planes crash on Skull Island.
- The remainder of the film takes place in 1973 during the tail-end of the Vietnam war.
- Unlike Gareth Edwards' GODZILLA, we'll see King Kong fairly early in the movie in all of his glory.
- SKULL ISLAND'S Kong will be the largest yet, standing tall at 100 feet.
- Tom Hiddleston plays James Conrad, a former British SAS (Special Air Service) officer who's brought in by Monarch (the shadowy organization from GODZILLA) to map out Skull Island.
- Hiddleston has been attached to SKULL ISLAND for over a year and half, helping to develop the story and its characters.
- Director Vogt-Roberts and Hiddleston talked about RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK and JURASSIC PARK when discussing KONG.
- Samuel L. Jackson plays Colonel Packard, leader of one of the most illustrious squadrons out of the war whose men he brings to Skull Island for "one last hurrah."
- Brie Larson plays Weaver, a photo-journalist who convinces her way onto this secret mission, believing that there's something else going on due to the military support.
- Brie Larson actually took pictures during filming with her period-appropriate camera.
- John C. Reilly plays Marlowe, the WW2 pilot from the beginning who now lives on Skull Island with the natives.
- Some of the other soldiers on the island are played by Toby Kebbell (WARCRAFT), Thomas Mann (ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL), as well as Corey Hawkins and Jason Mitchell of STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON fame.
- John Goodman joins the team as a representative of Monarch.
- The mission begins with our heroes dropping seismic survey instruments from helicopters. The shock waves disturb the peace, prompting the sheriff of the island, Kong, to rise up and retaliate. After the confrontation, everybody is stranded.
- Conrad and Weaver lead one group to try and escape the island, while Packard leads another group in an effort to destroy Kong.
- There is no damsel in distress or "love story" as with the other Kong films.
- Skull Island will feature no dinosaurs, but new creatures that feel realistic and are "individual gods of their own domain." Miyazaki and PRINCESS MONONOKE were big references regarding the creatures and the areas in which they live.
- One such set piece involves our heroes moving through a bamboo forest, of which some are revealed to be giant spiders' legs.
- Kong will do battle with a giant squid-like creature at some point.
- There is a larger threat on Skull Island that could rise up if Kong is not there to stop it.
- As the film goes on, we'll see a bit of what the daily life of Kong is like, and some of the humans will grow to understand how important he is to the ecosystem of Skull Island.
Now that you're all caught up on the facts, check out our following two set visit reports below to read up on our interviews, get even more plot information and learn about what scenes we saw being filmed!
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