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Feature: King Kong

He's back!

Peter Jackson and the cast of his epic remake let us into the wondrous world of the all-new Kong…

It’s a surprisingly svelte Peter Jackson, normally recognizable by his beard, glasses and rather generous tummy, who turns up to answer questions on his much anticipated reworking of King Kong. So where’s all the extra weight gone? “Oh. I thought you were talking about Fran (Walsh, Jackson’s wife and the producer and screenplay writer of Kong and the Lord of the Rings films who’s not in attendance today). Uh, all the exercise and stress.” Indeed, being the driving force behind three of the biggest movies of all time and then following them up with an epic remake of a film considered to be a matchless cinema classic would burn a few pounds off even the most self-assured film-maker.

“I’ve often thought that King Kong must be responsible for starting more careers in the film business, than just about any other movie.” explains Jackson when asked about why he wanted to take on this Herculean task. “It’s something about seeing that particular movie when you’re young that has a magical effect on you. I think you relate to the adventure, you relate to the hidden island and the dinosaurs. I mean, when I was young I used to dream about finding dinosaur bones on the beach.” While he never did locate any dino fibulas, Jackson has been planning a Kong movie since he was a nipper, building his own King Kong puppet at the tender age of 12, “He’s decomposing now. He’s made of a material that my mother gave me from an old fur coat. He’s got wire inside. He was a little stop motion guy.”

Although footage does still exist of young Pete’s first attempts to animate his monkey maquette, it wasn’t until the mid ’90s that his dreams of remaking King Kong started to become a tangible reality. “We wrote the film that we were going to make in 1996, and when the thought of doing it this time around came about, we went back and looked at our old script. And we didn’t like it at all.” says Pete with characteristic candor, “We had written something that was quite shallow and flippant and the lesson that we learned on Lord of the Rings was if you’re doing something that’s fantastical, try to make as much of it real as you possibly can.”

Read the rest of this interview, and interviews with Naomi Watts, Adrien Brody, Jack Black and Andy Serkis in
Film Review (Jan)

Image © Visual Imagination Ltd, King Kong © Universal Pictures
Feature © Visual Imagination 2005. Not for reproduction

Taken from
Film Review (Jan), see below for ordering options
Film Review (Jan)
#665, January 2006
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