days 'til the release of Peter Jackson's King Kong!
Site hosted by Build your free website today!

Seven Years And Still Stompin'


December | November | October | September | August | July | June | May | April | March | February | January









Peter Jackson Says He Won't Ape Original King Kong
Thu Sep 2, 7:35 AM ET
Add Movies - Reuters to My Yahoo!

By Melanie Carroll

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Reuters) - Oscar-winning director Peter Jackson will relive a childhood dream when he starts filming a remake of the 1933 classic "King Kong" in his Wellington hometown next week.


Reuters Photo

AP Photo Photo
AP Photo

Slideshow Slideshow: 'King Kong' Remake


Speaking to reporters Thursday at his studio in the New Zealand capital, the "Lord of The Rings" director said his first attempt to film "King Kong" was as a youngster. It involved a Super 8 camera and a cardboard model of the Empire State Building.
"It's great to be able to finally get the film made. It's a film which I've loved ever since I was a child. It really inspired me to want to become a film-maker," he said.

A screaming, vine-swinging special effects extravaganza, Jackson's "King Kong" will also be a character-driven psychological study of a monster -- and, of course, a love story.

Jackson says he will pay homage to the original, which starred Fay Wray, who died on Aug. 8 aged 96, and retain the "mystery and romance of a bygone era." However, the characters -- including Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts), Carl Denham (Jack Black (
news)) and Jack Driscoll (Adrien Brody (news)) -- will not be carbon copies of those in the original film.

"To put modern political beliefs onto something that was made in 1933 is obviously putting a spin on it that doesn't really exist. It was a product of its time," he said.

"We're really just attempting to make a wonderful, mysterious adventure film ... it's about gorillas, it's about dinosaurs, and lost islands, and this relationship."

Watts said she accepted the part without seeing the script.

"This story is very simplistic and very human, so that's why I'm here," she said.

Jackson already had in mind Brody and Watts to play their characters, but decided on Black during the social whirl at the Academy Awards (
news - web sites) in February, when he won three Oscars (news - web sites) for his final installment of the "Rings" trilogy, "The Return of the King."
                                      "THAT'S STUPID"

Black said he had wanted to work on a Jackson film after seeing the "Rings" films.

"I remember thinking while I was watching The Lord of The Rings: 'man, I've got to get an audition for whatever he does next'," Black said.

"Then I thought that's just stupid. Everybody's going to want to be in his next film, better to just put it out of your mind."

"Then I got the call to come in and talk with them about 'King Kong' -- you wait your whole life to get a call like that."

Andy Serkis, who was the human model and voice of the computer-generated Gollum in two of the "Rings" movies, will do the same for the giant gorilla, as well as have a "live" role of a cook.

Black, who stars in folk-rock comedy act Tenacious D, and Brody both said they planned to play a lot of music in between filming in Wellington.



Jackson, who suffers seasickness, will use a number of land-based studio lots to film scenes, including those featuring the tramp steamer Venturer, which brings the giant ape to "civilization."

Special effects will be done by New Zealand-based Weta Digital and Weta Workshops, which won Oscars for their "Lord of the Rings" creations.

Hollywood turned down Jackson's previous "King Kong" pitch before his overwhelming success with the ambitious Rings trilogy. "The Return of the King," created Oscar history by winning all 11 categories in which it was nominated.

"King Kong" is reported to be likely to cost as much as US$130 million to make. Jackson spent $300 million making the three Rings films, which have grossed about $3 billion worldwide.

Universal Studios is due to release "King Kong" worldwide on December 14, 2005.



King Kong Filming Set to Begin in September

Source: Universal Pictures
Thursday, September 2, 2004


Principal photography is set to begin September, 2004 on the dramatic adventure King Kong, with Peter Jackson ("The Lord of the Rings" trilogy) bringing his sweeping cinematic vision to the iconic story of the gigantic ape-monster captured in the wilds and brought to civilization where he meets his tragic fate. Jackson assumes directing, producing and co-screenwriting duties and surrounds himself with a list of superlative filmmaking and acting talents.

Jackson re-teams with longtime collaborators Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, co-writing the screenplay with partner Walsh and "The Lord of the Rings" co-writer, Boyens. The screenplay is based on the original story by Merian C. Cooper and Edgar Wallace, which became the classic 1933 RKO Radio Pictures film, directed by adventurers Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack. Jan Blenkin, Carolynne Cunningham, Fran Walsh and Jackson will produce the film under their WingNut Films banner, with Universal Pictures releasing
King Kong worldwide on December 14, 2005. As with his "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, Jackson will shoot King Kong on location in his native New Zealand.

Naomi Watts portrays Ann Darrow, an actress from the world of vaudeville who finds herself out of a job in Depression-era New York. Her luck changes when she meets Carl Denham, played by Jack Black -- an entrepreneur, raconteur, adventurer and filmmaker who is struggling to make a name for himself in the entertainment industry. Bold, ebullient and charismatic, Denham has a natural sense of showmanship and an appetite for greatness, which ultimately leads to catastrophe.

Adrien Brody steps into the role of Jack Driscoll, a New York playwright, who becomes an unlikely hero in a romantic adventure story which will test his physical courage and his heart.

Peter Jackson commented, "I'm thrilled to be working with Naomi -- not many actresses could step into Fay Wray's shoes and I have no doubt she will be equally as stunning in the role of Ann Darrow." Watts will be starring opposite Brody in a feisty love story which has been updated from that of the original film. "Adrien is one of the most gifted actors working today -- he is smart and charming and incredibly versatile and I think he's going to be fantastic in this role, which is unlike any he has played before."

Jackson has been wanting to work with Jack Black ever since he saw him in High Fidelity. "Jack adds a wonderful dimension to the role of Carl Denham. He's playing a maverick visionary who is undone by the monstrousness of his own ambition."

Cast members also include Andy Serkis ("The Lord of the Rings" trilogy), Thomas Kretschmann (U-571), Colin Hanks (Orange County) and Kyle Chandler (Angel's Dance, TV's Early Edition).

Andy Serkis (who served as the live-action basis behind the CGI "Rings" character of Gollum) will provide on-set reference for the title character of King Kong.

Serkis also plays the character of Lumpy the cook, in service aboard the tramp steamer Venture, bound for Skull Island, under the command of Captain Englehorn, played by Thomas Kretschmann. Colin Hanks portrays a production assistant to filmmaker Carl Denham and Kyle Chandler takes on the role of a 1930's movie star cast opposite Ann Darrow.

Jackson added, "The fun part of my job is getting to work with talented actors like Colin, Thomas, Kyle and Andy because they bring so much more to a role than what is written on the page. Colin Hanks is the perfect guy to play Denham's assistant, Preston. He is so good -- you forget that you're watching an actor -- which can be a little disconcerting."

"Thomas brings a quiet authority to the role of Captain Englehorn. His droll sense of irony is the perfect counterpoint to Denham."

Kyle Chandler is playing the role of Bruce Baxter -- a nineteen-thirties 'movie star' who appears in the film Denham is shooting. "It's a film within a film; Kyle brings enormous charm and style to this role, managing to capture the quality of some of the great legends of the era, such as Cary Grant and Clark Gable."

King Kong also marks the return of Andy Serkis to New Zealand and will reunite actor and director on another epic piece of fantasy story-telling.

"I'm really looking forward to seeing what Andy Serkis does with the character of Lumpy, the cook. This will be the first time we will actually get to shoot extended drama sequences together, in the full knowledge that Andy will not be 'painted out' after the fact -- as he was with Gollum. But Andy hasn't escaped that fate entirely. He will also provide valuable on-set reference for the character of Kong and he has spent weeks in the London Zoo and in the highlands of Rwanda researching various aspects of gorilla behavior. It is not our intention to soften Kong in an attempt to humanize him. The power of the story lies in the fact that this is a savage beast from a hostile environment and we will not compromise that."

Actors Evan Parke (Planet of the Apes), Lobo Chan and Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot) have also come onboard
King Kong as crew of the Venture, with Parke as Hayes, the first mate, a hardened ex-infantryman from WWI; Bell as the ship's lookout, Jimmy, a delinquent with a habit for getting into trouble; and Chan rounding out the crew as Choy, the ever-optimistic deckhand.

Jackson's creative team on
King Kong includes director of photography Andrew Lesnie (cinematographer for the "Rings" trilogy); editor Jamie Selkirk ("The Return of the King"); production designer Grant Major ("The Lord of the Rings" trilogy); costumer Terry Ryan (The Hard Word, Paradise Road); and unit production manager Anne Bruning, who last worked in New Zealand on The Last Samurai.

Visual effects will be again accomplished by New Zealand-based companies Weta Digital and Weta Workshop, recipients of multiple Academy Awards® for their collective work on "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy. Visual effects and miniatures will supplement practical locations in creating primordial jungles and '30s-period America.

Stacey Snider, chairman, Universal Pictures, said, "We are thrilled to be joining Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh on the heels of the landmark achievement of 'The Lord of the Rings.' Peter and his team will bring their superior filmmaking, unequalled vision and the latest in film effects to this treasured classic. With the high-voltage casting of Naomi Watts, Jack Black and Adrien Brody, Peter's brought on some of the most talented young actors in Hollywood. There is something unbelievably exciting about working with a filmmaker on his dream project, as 'King Kong' is for Peter. I really look forward to our collaboration."

Jackson noted, "I very much want to respect the iconography of the original film, because I don't believe we should try to change what worked. Our version of 'King Kong' will reflect the same sort of dramatic sensibility we employed on 'The Lord of the Rings' -- placing real characters, with real dilemmas, in the context of a truly fantastical world. I'm determined to give the film a gritty reality and to play the dramatic elements of the story for all they're worth. Our movie is set in 1933, and this is important because it means we can invest the story with the mystery and romance of a bygone era. The Thirties was a time of discovery, when we did not know the full parameters of the world and literally, anything was possible."