News for Nov. 30, 2005

Pemiere Magazine Kong's Coverage

11/30/05, 5:56 pm EST - Xoanon

December/January issue hits newsstands today featuring King Kong star Naomi Watts and Director Peter Jackson on the cover. In the cover story, PremiereR17;s Tom Roston treks to New Zealand to get an inside look at the upcoming highly anticipated film, where the award-winning director lives out his fantasy- to remake King Kong, using the cutting-edge techniques he pioneered on The Lord of the Rings. Roston was able to have an intimate interview with Jackson and his partner Fran Walsh as the dynamic duo were editing the film. Premiere's December/January issue also features a review of the new DVD of the 1933 original. Please log on to premiere.com/kingkong for more information.

Highlights from the story include:

How will Jackson’s Kong vary from the original film?

Adrien Brody's Jack Driscoll is one of many elements that Jackson is updating for Kong, but there’s a far more significant change: the film’s tone. The original was pure spectacle; Jackson’s Kong is tragedy. As wonderful as it was, the original was a monster movie with a strong beauty-and-the-beast theme about men killing a scary, giant ape. Jackson's team sees the story differently. “Fran had a very strong instinct that she didn’t want this to be about this rampant alpha male [Driscoll] who saves the dame,” says cowriter Boyens. “Because then it just becomes a pissing contest over this woman.”

In 1933, a giant, marauding gorilla could easily thrill audiences, because there was very little known about the animals. Today, we know them to be intelligent, affectionate, and social creatures, and Jackson's Kong will reflect that understanding. The new Kong will start off as an old gorilla who’s psychologically damaged because he’s the only one of his kind left on a barbaric island teeming with dinosaurs. And Ann Darrow pulls him out of his shell. “I’ve always seen it a little bit more as Quasimodo and Esmeralda,” says Walsh.

Jack Black, who plays director Carl Denham in the film, comments on the differences:

The turning point in Kong’s relationship with Ann comes when, in an effort to stave off his squashing her, she does a dance number that amuses him. And instead of going for the sexual undercurrent of the 1976 version, starring Jessica Lange, the filmmakers made this Kong’s connection to Ann emotional; they’re kindred, lonely spirits. “In the second one, he was just a f…in’ horn dog. He wished he could shrink down to have awesome sex with her,” [Jack] Black says in his special way. “But this one, I was just touched by the way he’s kind of afraid of her. I’m scared of women like that, too. It was like, ‘F--k, Kong is me.’ It’s going to be pretty powerful.”

On being cast as Ann Darrow, Naomi Watts’ comments:

Jackson tapped Naomi Watts for the part of Ann Darrow, the starlet originally played by Fay Wray, who is nabbed by Skull Island natives and offered up to Kong as a sacrifice. The role calls for a good screamer, and Watts thinks her experience in that area is one reason she was cast (although being blond, beautiful, and Oscar-nominated probably didn’t hurt). On a promotional tour for The Ring, she was asked on live television to give a full-on shriek. She obliged—and cracked a floor-to-ceiling window. “I swear to you, it’s true,” she says.

Andy Serkis sums up his mandate for breathing life into the computer-animated King Kong during principal photography:

During principal photography, Serkis’s job was to “create Kong in the minds of the other people” on set, especially Naomi Watts. He often wore a gorilla muscle suit, dentures, and arm extensions, and acted out gestures from cranes, forklifts, and ladders. Particularly effective was the “Kongolizer,” a sound system that projected Serkis’s “belch vocalizations” and “pig grunts” through speakers on the set. But it wasn’t until Serkis went into a motion-capture studio for two months that “we really found Kong,” he says.