The King Kong franchise has been rebooted with Kong: Skull Island, which is the film that sets up both the Kong and Godzilla universe.
Ahead of the San Diego Comic-Con next week, EW shared the first picture from the film that shows Tom Hiddleston and Brie Larson exploring a boneyard. In the background is the biggest skull I’ve ever seen, and it’s not from a dinosaur…
Jordan Vogt-Roberts directed the feature that also stars John Goodman, John C. Reilly, Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Wilkinson, Jason Mitchell, Corey Hawkins, Thomas Mann and John Ortiz.
Plot details are being kept secret but the film is based on the premise of a team of explorers venturing on an island inhabited by GIANT monsters.
“From the size of the skull, you can tell that things on this island are much bigger than audiences are used to with traditional Kong lore,” says Vogt-Roberts. “Our Kong is by far the biggest Kong that you’ve seen on screen, and that translates to a lot of different things on the island.”
Vogt-Roberts has studied the earlier films closely. When asked for clarification, he starts listing size estimates. “In terms of actual size, our Kong is by far the biggest Kong,” he explains. “Peter Jackson’s Kong was around 25 feet. The ‘33 Kong ranged between 25 feet and 50 feet, I want to say he was 50-plus feet when he was on the Empire State Building. He varied in size dramatically! The ’70s Kong was somewhere between them.”
Speaking of, Kong: Skull Island is period, and takes place in the 1790’s.
“The film takes place in the ’70s,” he continued. “The ’70s was a time where it was believable that we could still be confronted with myth. And there was still unknown in the world.” At the start of the decade, NASA launched a satellite program later known as LANDSAT, which involved satellites mapping the world from space – the end of that “unknown.” In the film, “this island pops up,” leading the characters to investigate.
On Hiddleston’s role and changing the character’s arcs:
Hiddleston plays an ex-British SAS tracker; Larson is a war photographer, “who’s seen all sorts of terrible, terrible things.” Vogt-Roberts avoids any specific details about what they find on the island, but he’s adamant about what they don’t find. “We’re very explicitly not telling the beauty and the beast story,” he says. “The original is a classic, the ’70s version is great for what it is, and Peter’s version is a great retelling of the 1933 film.”
On the new mythology of King Kong and becoming a God.
Instead, ‘Skull Island’ digs into the mythos of Kong’s homeland. And a key part of that mythos is, well, size. “The thing that most interested me was, how big do you need to make [Kong], so that when someone lands on this island and doesn’t believe in the idea of myth, the idea of wonder – when we live in a world of social and civil unrest, and everything is crumbling around us, and technology and facts are taking over – how big does this creature need to be, so that when you stand on the ground and you look up at it, the only thing that can go through your mind is: ‘That’s a god.’” Pretty big, we’re guessing? “You will see when we drop a trailer,” Vogt-Roberts teases.
Kong: Skull Island opens in theaters on March 10, 2017, followed by Godzilla 2 on March 22, 2019, and Godzilla vs. Kong on May 29, 2020.