Since his inception in 1933, King Kong has had a semi-mythical, enduring presence in television, film and folklore, becoming a staple of the American pop-culture consciousness soon after his first appearance in the original King Kong film. The immense, ape-like monster has been revived and recreated time and time again on big and small screens alike, each portrayal differing slightly from the last, transforming the enormous gorilla from a rampaging monster to a more sympathetic, traumatized anti-hero. It’s difficult to imagine the colossal creature becoming any more epic, but that’s exactly what the director of the newest Kong revival, titled Kong: Skull Island, has sworn to do.
It’s undeniably a daunting task to attempt character growth for a figure whose cinematic history stretches back almost a century, and director Jordan Vogt-Roberts has stepped up to the challenge admirably. Vogt-Roberts sat down with Entertainment Weekly recently to discuss how this latest regeneration of the Kong tale plans to transform the classic story, as well as to discuss the magnitude and influence of the title character himself.
“In terms of actual size, our Kong is by far the biggest Kong,” Vogt-Roberts explained when prompted for details on how the new Kong promises to be the largest to date. “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.” The director has stated that the monster in his film is an astounding 100-feet tall, dwarfing his predecessors at anywhere from two to four times their size.
Evidently, both Vogt-Roberts and the production team behind Kong: Skull Island have done the research to back up their claims about the newest Kong’s size. Not only does this Kong vow to be the most monumental thus far, the 2017 adaptation aims to take audiences deeper into the great beast’s homeland: the titular Skull Island. Vogt-Roberts was adamant about the film’s goal to distance itself from its predecessors, primarily from the beauty-and-the-beast plotline featured in both the original movie and Peter Jackson’s 2005 rendition.
Instead, this version of the film dissects the complex intersection between myth, reality and technology, especially in the modern age. Vogt-Roberts commented:
The thing that most interested me was, how big do you need to make [the monster], 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.’
We’re not going to get a look at the monster himself until trailers for Kong: Skull Island emerge later this year, but we do know that Tom Hiddleston and Brie Larsen will be starring as the film’s two leads, both of whom have been exposed to the traumas of war in their pasts. However, nothing they experienced on the battlefield will be able to prepare them for what awaits on Skull Island, especially if they’re dealing with beasts with bones as large as the ones shown in the EW-exclusive advance image you can see here.