Dark Horizon reports production officially gets underway on Peter Jackson's "King Kong" on Monday reported Universal in a press release late last week. A media press conference was held the other day to announce the launch of the project with stars Adrien Brody, Naomi Watts, Jack Black and a slimmed down Director Peter Jackson all turning out to answer the usual questions.
The quartetposed in front of a full-scale replica of the ship Venture berthed at a 1930s-style New York wharf, which included East River Shipping Co warehouses, all at the Miramar studios near Wellington.
In terms of the film's look, in the production press release Jackson said "I very much want to respect the iconography of the original film, because I don't believe we should try to change what worked. Our version of 'King Kong' will reflect the same sort of dramatic sensibility we employed on 'The Lord of the Rings' -- placing real characters, with real dilemmas, in the context of a truly fantastical world. I'm determined to give the film a gritty reality and to play the dramatic elements of the story for all they're worth. Our movie is set in 1933, and this is important because it means we can invest the story with the mystery and romance of a bygone era. The Thirties was a time of discovery, when we did not know the full parameters of the world and literally, anything was possible".
Jackson also revealed he briefly toyed with the idea of making this a three dimensional flick - "I thought it would be fun to shoot a film in 3-D and I thought about Kong. We explored all the latest technologies (but) we were just a bit too late". "Kong" opens worldwide on December 14th, 2005.
Black will play Carl Denham, an adventurous filmmaker and showman trying to make a name for himself in 1930s New York. Robert Armstrong played the role in the 1933 original.
Black joins Naomi Watts, who is playing Ann Darrow, an American actress who makes a living performing in Broadway song and dance shows. Fay Wray starred as Darrow in the original.
A third lead, the character of a writer, has yet to be cast.
"I've been wanting to work with Jack Black ever since I saw him in 'High Fidelity,' " said Jackson, who is writing the remake along with his "Lord of the Rings" co-screenwriters Walsh and Philippa Boyens. "He's a smart and versatile actor (who is) blessed with an abundance of energy and charm, and I'm absolutely thrilled that he is joining us on 'Kong.' I look forward to seeing Carl Denham come to life in this new version of the story, and I have no doubt Jack will make him a truly memorable character."
Adrien Brody is in negotiations with Universal Pictures for the role of Jack Driscoll, a former World War I fighter pilot who is the love interest for archaeologist Ann Darrow.
is the script any good and is it material worthy of such a remake? The answer is yes and maybe. Jackson takes the King Kong story and gives it a healthy dose of what he knows best, action and gore. Do you recall the scene in the original movie where Kong does battle with a dinosaur? Magnify that scene by a hundred and you get an idea of what Jackson has in mind. This makes for an action packed script that should translate into a movie that will have people flocking to theaters. Will critics treat it as warmly as the original? Probably not if there are no rewrites but the potential is there.
Has anyone noticed the similarities between Jackson and King Kong? Both are extremely hairy and both come from an island in the middle of nowhere. Strange, isn't it?
King Kong Rises Again?
Filmjerk reports that Universal has secretly told director Peter Jackson that they now want to make King Kong their top priority and greenlight it so it's Jackson's next project. According to Filmjerk, Uni's plan is to get Jackson to start working on the film directly after he's done with The Return of the King, the third chapter in his Lord of the Rings film series. With King set for release in theaters around the Christmas of 2003, Jackson could begin working on Kong sometime this year and possibly have it ready by 2004.
King Kong & Black Lagoon News
While promoting his next film, The Fellowship of the Ring, director Peter Jackson explained to reporters why his King Kong project stalled before it ever got off the ground. "We were developing King Kong and The Lord of the Rings at the same time and we decided to make King Kong first," the director said (and as was reported by Cinescape.)
"[Unfortunately,] Universal canned the movie after we worked on it for about six months.
"[Universalís] Dante's Peak and Fox's Volcano had sort of raced to see which was going to release first. Universal had poured millions of dollars into Dante's Peak to win that race and King Kong was looking like it was going to be the third movie in a year when Godzilla and Mighty Joe Young were due to be released. Universal just didn't have the stomach for another race to try and get Kong out before those other two films. So they decided to pull out, but we literally - because we had both films sort of there - finished Kong one day and The Lord of the Rings started the next day. We were able to switch over and all of the people that we had hired for Kong - because we had some designers and CG people working - we were able to immediately switch them on to The Lord of the Rings."
Speaking of classic remakes, Arthus A. Ross, one of the co-writers on the original 1956 Creature From the Black Lagoon will serve as one of the producers on the remake of Creature. The elder Ross is teaming up with his son Gary Ross (director of Pleasantville). A screenplay hasn't been written yet and the project doesn't have a director attached to it either.