News for Dec. 27, 2005

King Kong Official Magazine Articles

12/27/05, 10:33 pm EST - Xoanon

King Kong Official Magazine Covers

The folks from the King Kong Official Magazine sent along these scans from the magazine, in stores now, and 3 articles. Here is one with an interview with Peter Jackson.

Return of the King - Peter Jackson

He’s now known as one of the greatest modern filmmakers – and it all started with King Kong. Oscar-winner Peter Jackson explains to KING KONG MAGAZINE why he’s wanted to make his latest fantasy epic for over 35 years…

It may not be common knowledge, but this year’s chest-thumping epic marks the third time Peter Jackson has attempted to remake King Kong. At age nine, when he saw King Kong for the first time, he was captivated by the magic of seeing extinct creatures brought back to life. “I got my parents’ super 8 movie camera and immediately started to sculpt dinosaurs out of plasticine and move them around,” Jackson recalls. “It made me want to make films. The chance for me to be able to do my version of King Kong is so exciting personally, so I’m making it for me really, I’m making it for the nine year old version of me.”

In 1996, while making his first Hollywood movie, the Michael J. Fox supernatural comedy thriller The Frighteners, Jackson was approached by Universal to do a remake of King Kong. But before the film could be moved into production, the studio about-turned and shelved the project. Jackson explains: “The regime changed and Mighty Joe Young come out, which was not very successful, and Godzilla came out which wasn’t that successful. So then monster movies were deemed to not be the thing back in 1996-97. So we went on to do Lord of the Rings instead – which in hindsight was obviously good!”

So, how does the 1996 version compare with the version that is now coming back to the big screen? “The tone of the film was different. I guess the 1996 film would be characterized as being much more of an Indiana Jones, fairly lightweight sort of adventure film, and quite unrealistic – if you can call King Kong realistic in the first place.” Today’s King Kong is a very different beast from the planned 1996 movie, which Jackson now dismisses as “light, frothy stuff.” This time round he is armed with lessons learnt from making The Lord of the Rings: “What we believe now to be the best way to make everything as real and believable as you possibly can… It doesn’t matter that it’s about a 25-foot gorilla and there’s dinosaur’s and everything else. I think it is important to make sure everything is as real as it can be.”

The words ‘King Kong’ conjure up one defining image: a giant beast leaning off the Empire State Building, swatting planes away with his monstrous hands. For Jackson this scene was integral to the movie. “Anything that doesn’t have that, how can you ever call it King Kong? So Kong being on the Empire State Building being attacked by biplanes was to me just an absolute fundamental – you had to do it.”

Jackson started planning how he would shoot the Empire State Building scene even before a script was written. He was still doing post-production on The Return of the King in 2003 when he started a team at Weta Digital working on a previz animatic, an animated storyboard, for the sequence.

“It was just great to be able to do my version of the Empire State Building sequence,” reveals Jackson. Modern CGI techniques have meant that the scene can involve breathtaking camera work that would simply have been impossible in the 1930s. This promises to be one of the most exciting – and most emotional scenes in the movie. “It’s one of the reasons why I wanted to make the film.”

Jackson believes that the true magic of King Kong lies in the emotional power of the story. “There’s something about the sheer simplicity of what’s fundamentally at the heart of the story – the way in which this huge creature, who has never empathized with another living being in his life, suddenly has feelings of tenderness and empathy towards Ann. Kong has fought for survival, he’s fought for his life, and for the first time he actually cares about somebody, and the tragedy is that it proves his undoing.”

Read the complete interview and much more in KING KONG THE OFFICIAL MOVIE MAGAZINE, in stores December 14th.