News for Nov. 26, 2005

Why Kong Is King

11/26/05, 10:45 am EST - Xoanon

Long before Peter Jackson made King Kong his mission, three other visionaries brought the tragic tale to life for the first time. In 1933, in the depths of the Great Depression, codirectors Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack imagined a cinematic fantasy unlike any other, one Jackson calls “the absolute beginning of the big spectacle effects film, in which visual effects were used to create the main character, to drive the story, and to create not just spectacle but emotion.” The short, fast-talking Cooper (whose rollicking life is the subject of a new biography by Mark Cotta Vaz) and the towering, quiet Schoedsack were WWI veterans, mercenaries for just causes, and documentarians whose motto was “The Three Ds: Keep it Distant, Difficult, and Dangerous.” Their fascination with exotic cultures and creatures helped create a believable backstory for a spectacle about a giant ape from the dinosaur-infested jungle of Skull Island transplanted to the humanity-infested jungle of New York City. [More]