King Kong (2005 film)

2005 American film directed by Peter Jackson

King Kong is a 2005 film and a remake of the 1933 classic and 1976 remake of the same name. It concerns an amoral filmmaker who, along with a beautiful vaudeville actress and the crew of a tramp steamer, seeks out a deserted, mythical island to shoot his next picture. The island proves to be far from a lush vacation in the tropics. Instead, Carl and his team are manhandled by savage natives, monstrous bugs and bats, dinosaurs, and a giant ape called Kong, who develops an attachment to the leading lady. This leads to tragedy when Kong is captured and brought to New York City, where he wreaks havoc in an effort to find her.

And lo, the beast looked upon the face of beauty, and beauty stayed his hand. And from that day forward, he was as one dead.
That's all there is. There isn't any more.
Directed by Peter Jackson. Written by Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, and Phillipa Boyens.
See also: King Kong, King Kong (1933 film), & King Kong (1976 film).

Ann Darrow edit

  • I make people laugh, that's what I do. Good luck with your picture.
  • That's all there is. There isn't any more.
  • Good things never last, Mr. Denham.
  • It's me he wants!
  • (The Ocean Hop on screen) Thanks for that.

Carl Denham edit

  • What are they going to do, sue me? They can get in line! I'm not gonna let 'em kill my film!
  • There's still some mystery left in this world, and we can all have a piece of it. For the price of an admission ticket.
  • [after escaping angry studio executives] Don't worry, Preston, I've had a lot of practice at this. I'm real good at crappin' the crappers.
  • He was a king in the world he knew, but he comes to you now a captive. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Kong, THE EIGHTH WONDER OF THE WORLD!
  • And lo, the beast looked upon the face of beauty, and beauty stayed his hand. And from that day forward, he was as one dead.
  • Goddammit, Preston, all you had to do was look her in the eye and lie!
  • Sorry, fellas, you're gonna have to do better than that. Monsters belong in B movies.
  • Defeat is always momentary.
  • Just as you go down for the third and final time, as your head disappears beneath the waves, and your lungs fill with water, do you know what happens in those last precious seconds before you drown? Your whole life passes before your eyes...and if you've lived as a true get to watch it all in color.
  • [to self] The whole world will pay to see this. [to the crew] We're millionaires, boys! I'll share it with all of you. In a few months, his name will be up in lights on Broadway! Kong: The Eighth Wonder of the World!
  • It wasn't the airplanes. It was Beauty killed the Beast.

Jack Driscoll edit

  • I'm writing it for you.
  • Why would I write a play just for you?
  • Isn't it obvious?
  •'s in subtext.
  • It not about words.
  • Stop, please! Stop! We have to turn back! They've taken Ann!
  • [noticing the disturbing effigy of Kong on Carl's map] What is that?
  • That's the thing you come to learn about Carl. His unfailing ability to destroy the things he loves.
  • Actors. They travel the world, but all they ever see is a mirror.

Captain Englehorn edit

  • [Jack has to sleep in a cage where animals have been kept] So what are you, Mr. Driscoll? A lion...or a chimpanzee?
  • We're leaving, and I want you off my ship.
  • [after saving Carl and the others from the vicious Skull Islanders] Seen enough?
  • [to Carl, whom he has just saved from a slimy demise in the insect pit] That's the thing about cockroaches. No matter how many times you flush them down the toilet, they always crawl back up the bowl.

Jimmy edit

  • [to Hayes, after being told to run if they encounter any danger] I'm not a coward. I ain't gonna run.
  • [referring to Heart of Darkness] It's not an adventure story. Is it, Mr. Hayes?
  • Adventures on a tramp steamer, just like us!

Lumpy edit

  • [at the killing ground, where the hundreds of Kong's victims have been left to rot] Christ, it's a bleedin' boneyard! They've been ripped limb from limb!
  • There's only one creature capable of leaving a footprint that size... the Abominable Snowman.
  • [Hayes does a headcount for how many sailors are injured] Injured? Four of us are DEAD!

Dialogue edit

Zelman: [upon receiving word that Carl Denham has hired a ship to get to a location for his picture] What location, Carl?! You're supposed to be shooting on the back lot!
Carl Denham: Yes, I understand that, but fellas, we're not making that film anymore. And I'll tell you why. The story has changed. The script has been rewritten. Life...intervened. I've come into possession of a map. The sole surviving record of an uncharted island. A place that was thought to exist only in myth. Until now...
Zelman: Whoa, Carl, slow down.
Sleazy Studio Guy: Is he asking for more money?
Thuggish Studio Guy: He's asking us to fund a wild goose chase.
Carl Denham: I'm talking about a primitive world, never before seen by man. The ruins of an entire civilization. The most spectacular thing you've ever seen. That's where I'll shoot my picture.
[After a moment's silence]
Sleazy Studio Guy: Will there be boobies?
Carl Denham: [incredulous] Boobies?
Sleazy Studio Guy: Jigglies. Jiblonkas. Bazooms. In my experience, people only go to these films to observe the undraped form of the native girls.
Carl Denham: What are you, an idiot? You think they asked DeMille if he would waste his time on nudie shots? No! They respected the filmmaker! They showed some class! Not that you'd know what that means, you cheap lowlife! God...
Zelman: Would you step out for a moment, Carl?
Carl Denham: [leaves the room and points to a glass of water] Gimme that!
Preston: You won't like it. It's non-alcoholic.
Carl Denham: [emptying the water into a plant pot] Preston, you have a lot to learn about the motion picture business. [he presses the glass against the door and listens intently]
Zelman: Don't get me wrong. Carl Denham's made some interesting pictures. He's had a lot of... near success.
Thuggish Studio Guy: He's a preening self-promoter. Washed up, no talent. The guy's got "loser" written all over him.
Zelman: Look, I know his project isn't working out as well as we planned, but--
Thuggish Studio Guy: This jumped-up little turd's gonna bankrupt us!
Zelman: The animal footage has value.
Sleazy Studio Guy: Sure! Universal are desperate for stock footage!
Thuggish Studio Guy: Then sell it! Scrap the picture!
Zelman: [sighs] Get him back in.
Zelman's Assistant: Mr...Denham?
[Carl and Preston have disappeared from the waiting room]

Carl Denham: Fay's a size 4.
Preston: Yes, she is, but she's doing a picture with RKO.
Carl Denham: [bitter and defeated] Cooper, huh? I might've known.

[Ann is eating from a full plate, trying to disguise her hunger. Denham walks over carrying a cup of coffee]
Carl Denham: Vaudeville, huh? I worked Vaudeville once. That is a tough audience. If you don't kill 'em fast, they kill you-
Ann Darrow: Mr. Denham. I want you to know that I'm not in the habit of accepting charity from strangers, or for that matter...taking things that don't belong to me.
Carl Denham: It was obviously a terrible misunderstanding.
Ann Darrow: It's just that I haven't been paid in a while-
Carl Denham: [mock sincerity] That's awful. Anyway, Ann. May I call you Ann? You wouldn't happen to be a size 4 by any chance? [Ann pauses mid way through a mouthful of food, her appetite suddenly draining away. She abruptly stands] No, no, no, no. Oh God, no! You've got me all wrong. Miss Darrow, please! I'm not that type of person at all!
Ann Darrow: What type of person are you?
Carl Denham: I'm someone you can trust, Ann. I'm a movie producer. [sincere] Believe me, I am on the level. No funny business. Please, sit down. Please...please. [Ann hesitates a moment before sitting down once again] Okay. [pitching the film] Ann, I want you to imagine a handsome explorer bound for the Far East.
Ann Darrow: You're filming in the Far East?
Carl Denham: [looking her in the eye and lying] Singapore. On board ship he meets a mysterious girl. She's beautiful, she's fragile. Haunted. [Ann looks up...caught by the tale Denham is weaving] And she can't escape the feeling that forces beyond her control are compelling her down a road, from which she cannot draw back. It's as if her whole life has been a prelude to this moment; this fateful meeting...that changes everything. And sure enough, against her better judgement...
Ann Darrow: She falls in love.
Carl Denham: Yes!
Ann Darrow: But she doesn't trust it. She's not even sure if she believes in love.
Carl Denham: Uh...really?
Ann Darrow: If she loves's doomed.
Carl Denham: Why is that?
Ann Darrow: Good things never last, Mr. Denham.
Carl Denham: So you're interested? [hurriedly gathering up his hat and coat] Good. That's settled then. Now, I don't wanna rush you, but we are under some time pressure.
Ann Darrow: Well, I really-
Carl Denham: Ann, I'm telling you. You're perfect - look at you! You're the saddest girl I've ever met. You're gonna make 'em weep, Ann. You're gonna break their hearts!
Ann Darrow: See, that's where you're wrong, Mr. Denham. I make people laugh, that's what I do. [suddenly stands] Good luck with your picture.
Carl Denham: [follows Ann to the door; growing desperation] Ann! Miss Darrow, please! I'm offering you money, adventure, fame, the thrill of a lifetime and a long sea voyage! You wanna read a script? Jack Driscoll's turning in a draft as we speak.
Ann Darrow: Jack Driscoll?
Carl Denham: Sure, why? Wait. You know him?
Ann Darrow: No, not personally. I've seen his plays.
Carl Denham: [sensing her in interest, starts getting excited] What a writer, huh? And let me tell you, Ann...Jack Driscoll does not want just anyone starring in this picture. He said to me, "Carl...somewhere out there is a woman born to play this role". [quiet realization] And as soon as I saw you, I knew.
Ann Darrow: [uneasy] Knew what?
Carl Denham: It was always going to be you.

Choy: This room very comfortable. Plenty dim light, fresh straw.
Jack Driscoll: What do you keep down here?
Choy: Lion, tiger, hippo, you name it.
Jack Driscoll: You sell 'em to zoos?
Choy: Zoo, circus. Skipper get big money for rare animal. [Jack steps in a steaming pile of camel dung] Careful! Camel have bad accident on floor. Stain unremovable.

[Carl is discussing the rest of the script with Jack as he is typing on a typewriter]
Carl Denham: She's standing at the railing. She doesn't know it yet...but they are sailing towards disaster. You got that?
Jack Driscoll: Okay, so she turns...the first mate is staggering towards her. There's a knife sticking out of his back.
Carl Denham: Wait a sec. We're killing off the first mate?
Jack Driscoll: That's assuming she knows who the first mate is.
Carl Denham: Come on, Jack. It was an honest mistake. Ann is nearsighted. It could have happened to anyone.
Jack Driscoll: I was joking, Carl.
Carl Denham: The point is she's horrified. She has to look away. And that's when she sees it.
Jack Driscoll: Sees what? What?
Carl Denham: [intensely] The island.
Jack Driscoll: We're filming on an island now? When did this happen?
Carl Denham: [shushing] Jack, keep your voice down. I don't want the crew getting spooked.
Jack Driscoll: Why would they get spooked? What's it called?
Carl Denham: All right. It has a local name...but I'm warning you, Jack, it doesn't sound good. [whispering] They call it Skull Island. Did you get that?
Jack Driscoll: What's wrong with this place?
Carl Denham: There's nothing officially wrong with it. Because, technically, it hasn't been discovered yet.
Jack Driscoll: [to himself] Okay. All right. So we arrive at this place. [he begins to type it out, saying the letters out loud as he does] S..K..U..L..L..Island.
[Carl turns to see Jimmy has overheard the whole thing]

Bruce Baxter: What do you think, Driscoll? Dialogue's got some flow now, huh?
Jack Driscoll: It was pure effluence.
Bruce Baxter: I beefed up the banter.
Jack Driscoll: Try to resist that impulse.
Bruce Baxter: It's just a little bit of humor, bud. What are you, a Bolshevik or something? [leaves]
Jack Driscoll: [to himself] Actors. Travel the world, but all they ever see is a mirror.

Mr. Hayes: If someone were to tell you this ship was headed for Singapore...what would you say?
Lumpy: I would say they're full of it, Mr. Hayes. Well, we turned southwest last night.
Carl Denham: Gentlemen, please. We're not looking for trouble.
Jimmy: No. You're looking for something else.
Carl Denham: Yes, we are. We're going to find Skull Island. Find it, film it, show it to the world. For 25 cents, you get to see the last blank space on the map.
Lumpy: I wouldn't be so sure of that.
Preston: What do you mean?
Lumpy: Seven years ago, me and Mr. Hayes were working our passage... on a Norwegian bark.
Mr. Hayes: We picked up a castaway. We found him in the water. He'd been drifting for days.
Lumpy: His ship had run aground on an island way west of Sumatra. An island hidden in fog. He spoke of a huge wall...built so long one knew who'd made it. A wall 100 foot strong today as it was ages ago.
Preston: Why'd they build the wall?
Lumpy: Well, the castaway, he spoke of a creature...neither beast nor man...but something monstrous, living behind that wall.
Carl Denham: [unimpressed] A lion or a tiger. A man-eater. That's how all these stories start.
Preston: What else did he say?
Lumpy: Nothing. When we found him the next morning, he'd stuck a knife through his heart.
Carl Denham: [laughing] Mmm-hmm. Sorry, fellows. You'll have to do better than that. Monsters belong in B movies.
Mr. Hayes: If you find this place...if you go ashore with your friends and your won't come back. Just as long as you understand that.

Carl Denham: [while filming a herd of Brontosaurs] Walk forward, Bruce.
Bruce Baxter: What?!
Carl Denham: You're the star of this picture, now get into character and head toward the animals!
Bruce Baxter: Are you sure about this, Denham? Don't we have a stand-in for this type of thing?
Carl Denham: I need you in the shot or people will say they're fake.
Bruce Baxter: Oh, nobody's gonna think these are fake!

Carl Denham: [after Englehorn turns the ship away from Denham's course] One more week. That's all I'm asking. Please. I haven't got a film yet. I've risked everything I have on this trip.
Captain Engelhorn: No, Denham. You've risked everything I have.
Carl Denham: What do you want? Tell me what you want, I'll give you anything!
Captain Engelhorn: I want you off my ship.

Carl Denham: [contemplating his arrest] I'm finished.
Jack Driscoll: How did you think this would end, Carl?
[In the cabin, the ship's compass spins wildly and points in all directions]
Captain Englehorn: Check our position. Use the stars.
[Hayes exits the bridge with a sextant and returns almost immediately.]
Hayes: There are no stars, captain.
Jack Driscoll: [examining the map] What is that?
Carl Denham: What?
Jack Driscoll: That, right there.
Carl Denham: [sarcastically] I don't know. What is it, a coffee stain? [looks at the map and sees the disturbing effigy of Kong]

Hayes: [recognizing Jimmy, he confiscates the gun] Jesus, Jimmy!
Jimmy: Hey, I need that!
Hayes: I'm not giving you a gun!
Jimmy: You were younger than me when they gave you one!
Hayes: I was in the army. I was trained. I had a drill sergeant!
Jimmy: I wanna help bring her back.
Hayes: [haltingly giving him the gun] Don't make me regret it.

Jack Driscoll: I always knew you were nothing like the tough guy on the screen. I just never figured you for a coward.
Bruce Baxter: Hey, pal. Hey, wake up. Heroes don't look like me, not in the real world. In the real world they got bad teeth, a bald spot and a beer gut. I'm just an actor with a gun, who's lost his motivation. Be seein' ya.

[The boat is leaving the dock, and Carl has forced Jack to accompany him because he hasn't finished the script]
Jack Driscoll: God damn it!
Carl Denham: I keep telling you, Jack. There's no money in theatre. That's why you should stick with film.
Jack Driscoll: No, Carl, it's not about the money. I love theatre.
Carl Denham: No you don't. If you really loved it, you would've jumped.

Carl Denham: I'll give you another thousand if you leave right now.
Captain Englehorn: You haven't given me the first thousand yet.
Carl Denham: I'll make it worth your while...
Captain Englehorn: There's nothing out there.
Carl Denham: Then you've nothing to lose.

Carl Denham: $2000 is the deal. Will you take a check?
Captain Englehorn: Do I have a choice?

[They pull them out of the insect pit]
Carl Denham: Thank God.
Captain Engelhorn: Don't thank God. Thank Mr. Baxter. He insisted on a rescue mission. Me? I knew you'd be okay. That's the thing about cockroaches. No matter how many times you flush them down the toilet... they always crawl back up the bowl.
Carl Denham: Hey, buddy? I'm out of the bowl. I'm dryin' off my wings and treckin' across the lid.
[They see Jack climbing out to the other side of the pit, still determined to find Ann]
Captain Engelhorn: Driscoll! Don't be a fool! Give it up. It's useless! She's dead.
Carl Denham: She's not dead. Jack's gonna bring her back...and the ape will be hard on his heals. We can still come out of this thing okay. More than okay. Think about it. You got a boat full of chloroform we could put to good use.
Captain Engelhorn: You wanna trap the ape? [laughing] I don't think so.
Carl Denham: Isn't that what you do? Live animal capture? I heard you were the best.

Carl Denham: Ladies and Gentlemen...I'm here to tell you a very strange story. The story of our which 17 of our party suffered horrible deaths...their lives pursuit of a savage beast...a monstrous aberration of nature. But even the meanest brute can be tamed. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, as you will see...the beast was no match...for the charms of a girl. A girl from New York...who melted his heart...bringing to mind that old Arabian proverb..."And lo, the beast looked upon the face of beauty...and beauty stayed his hand. And from that day forward, he was as one dead". And now ladies and gentlemen, I'm going to show you the greatest thing your eyes have ever beheld. He was a king in the world he knew, but he comes to you now a captive. Ladies and gentlemen...I give you Kong, The Eighth Wonder of the World!

Preston: He was right. About there still being some mystery left in this world...and we can all have a piece of it...for the price of an admission ticket.
Jack Driscoll: That's the thing you come to learn about Carl. His unfailing ability to destroy the things he loves.

Carl Denham: Bring the tripod and all of the film stock.
Herb: You wanna go to the six-inch lens?
Carl Denham: [considers the size of Kong, who he has just seen for the first time] Wide-angle will do just fine.

Jimmy: [Referring to "Heart of Darkness"] Why does Marlow keep going up the river? Why doesn't he turn back?
Hayes: There's a part of him that wants to Jimmy. A part deep inside himself that sounds a warning. But there's another part that needs to know. To defeat the thing which makes him afraid. "We could not understand because we were too far and could not remember because we were traveling in the night of first ages of those ages that are gone leaving hardly a sign, and no memories. We are accustomed to look upon the shackled form of a conquered monster, but there, there you could look at a thing monstrous and free".
Jimmy: It's not an adventure story, is it, Mr. Hayes?
Hayes: No, Jimmy. It's not.

[During Kong's broadway presentation and performance]
Carl Denham: Please remain calm ladies and gentlemen! We now come to the climax of this savage ritual. The sacrifice of a beautiful young girl. Behold her terror as she is offered to the Mighty Kong! Give a big hand folks, for the bravest girl I have ever met; Mrs. Ann Darrow!
[The audience applauds wildly for Ann. As the reenactment of the sacrifice begins, a prop altar rises from a trapdoor in the stage carrying a blonde girl. The miserable and homesick Kong suddenly stands bolt upright. Growing desperate and hopeful, he thinks it might Ann. However, the spotlight shines on her revealing that it's just an actress playing the role of Ann. Kong is shocked and angered]
Actress: [screams, pretending to be scared] Save me from the beast! [Kong roars in rage! Everyone in the auditorium gasps in shock. The audience wildly applauds and laughs in amazement. The music for the scene begins; acting] Help me!
Jack: [realizing this is not Ann] Where is she? Where's Ann?
Preston: I have no idea. I heard he offered her all kinds of money and she turned him down flat.
[Scene switches, revealing that the real Ann is in another theater close by, practicing a dance number with her ensemble. However, she has regret in her eyes. She can't stop thinking about Kong, enslaved and miserable. She knows she needs to help him. Back at the theater, Kong is still in a rage over the actress and everything that has happened to him since his capture. Backstage, Carl Denham and Bruce Baxter pose for a group of reporters]
Carl Denham: Here's your story boys! "Beauty...and the man who saved her from the beast!"
[The reporters begin to take pictures. Kong roars as the flashbulbs blind his eyes, frightening and enraging the mighty ape]
Jack: [Seeing Kong's mounting anger] Oh no... [Kong begins to roar louder and thrashes around on the stage, still chained up. The actress begins to genuinely scream as Kong grows more and more violent. Jack whispers to Preston] We have to get these people out of here. [talking to the some of audience members sitting down] Everyone needs to leave! Okay? Come on!
Carl Denham: [hearing Kong's roars] Let him roar! It makes a swell picture. [Laughs]
Jack: [still trying to convince people to calmly evacuate] Head for the exits!
Theater Patron: Get your own seat buddy! You're not having mine.
[Kong's roars grow louder and he begins to tug on his chains. The audience begins to grow nervous and worried]
Bruce Baxter: [seeing Kong's mounting anger, Bruce begins to calmly head towards the backstage exit through the group of reporters] Excuse me fellows. Coming through! Coming through fellas!
[Baxter leaves at the right time. On stage, Kong has reached his breaking point after all that has happened to him as flashes continue to blind his face. Furious, he tugs on his chains so hard, one of his giant wrist cuffs breaks. The audience screams! Denham and the reporters gasp in terror. A few members of the audience rise from their seats]
Actress: [genuinely screaming for help] Somebody!! SOMEBODY HELP ME!!!
[Kong lets out one of his loudest roars at the crowd. The audience screams just as loud as Kong's roars and mass panic ensues as all of the theater patrons begin to stampede for the doors]
Preston: [holds one of the doors open for the panicking patrons] GO! GO! GET OUT!!!!
[As the actors flee for their lives, Kong violently grabs the actress from the prop altar with his free arm]
Jack: [To the patrons] Go! Go!
[In blind rage Kong throws the actress clear across the theater! Denham looks on in horror at the sight. The music stops abruptly as the terrified band and conductor throw their instruments aside and flee along with the hysterical crowd. At the same time Kong rips one of his other manacled hands free! He leaps up from the stage, breaking the remaining restraints freeing himself completely. The enraged animal lands into the auditorium and begins destroying it, attacking the panicking crowd, killing several theater goers]

[Last lines]
[All of the news photographers and nearby peoples gather to see the fallen King Kong in front of the Empire State Building]
Photographer 1: Why'd he do that? Climb up there and get himself cornered? The ape must have known what was coming.
Photographer 2: He's just a dumb animal. Didn't know nothing. [Carl Denham comes barging through the crowd to see what has become of his beast] What does it matter? Airplanes got him.
Carl Denham: It wasn't the airplanes. It was Beauty killed the Beast.

About King Kong (2005 film) edit

  • Bates: All three "King Kongs"--the classic 1933 version starring Fay Wray, the campy 1976 version starring Jessica Lange and the current epic by "Lord of the Rings" director Peter Jackson--feature a big, black ape who falls in love with a willowy white woman. The unspoken fear about black-white sexual relations has been remarked on by film historians and cultural critics ever since. The 1933 original stoked anxieties about black male hypersexuality. Kong snatches Ann Darrow up and makes off with her as she screams in horror.
    And the film's supposedly African natives--who offer the heroine up to the giant ape--came from what some critics called the ooga-booga(ph) school of thespian arts. Newsday columnist Jim Pinkerton says the 2005 "Kong", starring a dewy, blond Naomi Watts, shows the story line hasn't evolved all that much.
  • Mr. Jim Pinkerton (Newsday): And for this movie to have been made in 1933 about white people going over to the Third World to capture a large, black being with a flat nose and bring him back in chains was sort of powerful then. And I was sort of surprised to see it getting remade, if anything, more politically incorrectly, in 2005.
Bates: Pinkerton is referring to the current film's depiction of the residents of Skull Island, the creepy place where the on-screen director Carl Denham, played by "School of Rock's" Jack Black, goes to shoot his movie. But filming plans are disrupted by multipierced, dark-skinned aboriginal people who are depicted as violent, eyeball-rolling, foaming-at-the-mouth attackers.
  • Bates: Moving the film's location from Africa to the south sea islands doesn't remove the stigma visited upon the native people depicted in it, says Newsday's Jim Pinkerton. He says even subliminal messages in movies are important.
  • There are astonishments to behold in Peter Jackson's new "King Kong", but one sequence, relatively subdued, holds the key to the movie's success. Kong has captured Ann Darrow and carried her to his perch high on the mountain. He puts her down, not roughly, and then begins to roar, bare his teeth and pound his chest. Ann, an unemployed vaudeville acrobat, somehow instinctively knows that the gorilla is not threatening her but trying to impress her by behaving as an alpha male -- the King of the Jungle. She doesn't know how Queen Kong would respond, but she does what she can: She goes into her stage routine, doing backflips, dancing like Chaplin, juggling three stones.
    Her instincts and empathy serve her well. Kong's eyes widen in curiosity, wonder and finally what may pass for delight. From then on, he thinks of himself as the girl's possessor and protector. She is like a tiny beautiful toy that he has been given for his very own, and before long, they are regarding the sunset together, both of them silenced by its majesty.
    The scene is crucial because it removes the element of creepiness in the gorilla/girl relationship in the two earlier "Kongs" (1933 and 1976), creating a wordless bond that allows her to trust him. When Jack Driscoll climbs the mountain to rescue her, he finds her comfortably nestled in Kong's big palm.
  • Although Naomi Watts makes a splendid heroine, there have been complaints that Jack Black and Adrien Brody are not precisely hero material. Nor should they be, in my opinion. They are a director and a writer. They do not require big muscles and square jaws. What they require are strong personalities that can be transformed under stress. Denham the director clings desperately to his camera, no matter what happens to him, and Driscoll the writer beats a strategic retreat before essentially rewriting his personal role in his own mind. Bruce Baxter (Kyle Chandler) is an actor who plays the movie's hero, and now has to decide if he can play his role for real. And Preston (Colin Hanks) is a production assistant who, as is often the case, would be a hero if anybody would give him a chance.
    The result is a surprisingly involving and rather beautiful movie -- one that will appeal strongly to the primary action audience, and also cross over to people who have no plans to see "King Kong" but will change their minds the more they hear. I think the film even has a message, and it isn't that beauty killed the beast. It's that we feel threatened by beauty, especially when it overwhelms us, and we pay a terrible price when we try to deny its essential nature and turn it into a product, or a target. This is one of the year's best films.
  • Q. I heard you actually referred back to the original's storyboards?
A. Well there's actually a story to that. Warner Bros have just released a beautifully restored version of King Kong on DVD in the US. While we were making our King Kong, we also got our visual effects technicians to build stop-motion animation spiders and crabs and octopus creatures, copying photos that we had from the original film.
We re-created the spider scene using stop-motion animation, black and white film, travelling mattes, rear projection – all the old techniques – so that we provided a speculation on what that original spider scene could be like.
So when they released this DVD about three weeks ago we had this separate little chapter that we were involved in where we recreated the 1933 spider scene which we almost did concurrently when we were filming our own one. It was a little bit insane for a while!
Q. You play up the 'Beauty & Beast' relationship in the film. Was that deliberate?
A. It was not so much deliberate going in, but the relationships between Ann Darrow in the original movie and Jessica Lange in the second film and what Naomi does now – they're actually three different relationships. It's the same story, but three different types of things going on.
Certainly with Fay and her character it was a case of an unwilling kidnap victim. She never really felt comfortable being with Kong, was always terrified of him and always screaming. There was never really a sense, in the original movie, that she really connected or understood Kong.
The Jessica Lange one was kind of a weird 70s sexual innuendo. They camped up the sexuality of it more than anything, which we didn't want to do. So we created our one with a foot in neither camp, really. To me, the most interesting thing about a story like King Kong when you're thinking about it at the beginning, writing it before anything has really happened, the most interesting doorway to go through is the reality door.
It's to say 'okay, if you were on this island and you got kidnapped by this gorilla who is intent on killing you, how would you actually respond?'. There's not a lot you can do. You're in his hand, you can't get out, your options are very few. How would you feel, and what would you do if a little window of opportunity came up where you may be able to survive – it's not even surviving, it's staying in his hand.
If you can keep him curious, if you can engage him on some level, that stops you getting squashed then you've got a little, minute opportunity of staying alive that you can work on and develop that.
Then you can flip that around, because the other interesting thing is if you're a gorilla who has lived his entire life on this island, lonely, he has no parents, they've probably been killed by the dinosaurs, his siblings have been killed, he's the last one of his species, he's never empathised with a living creature, ever. His entire instincts are to kill and survive – to be the king of this jungle and to be the dominant species, which is what gorillas naturally want to be anyway.
Then suddenly Ann Darrow comes into his life, who he's expecting to kill but doesn't, he starts to become curious. To me, the relationship develops from Kong's point of view to one where he wants to protect her. It's a dangerous relationship for anybody else – for Adrien's character or anyone else. It's like an animal protecting its child. In a way, Kong's relationship with Ann is like that.
I love the complexity of the story of Kong. We obviously come to learn a little bit about Kong's heart. He's pure, unspoilt – he doesn't operate on the same moral values as humans do. It's instinctive. He does what his heart tells him to do and he feels this empathy and this curiosity towards Ann. But if anybody comes anywhere close to taking Ann away from him he will kill them. He will kill them very quickly.
And that includes our guys that we've met and learnt are trying to save her. I love the complexity of that story. There's no villains, there's no monsters. It's actually just this quite interestingly complex story of people doing what they need to do to survive and Kong behaving in a way which is perfectly natural and normal. You can't judge him for it.
  • Perhaps as a consequence of the writers coming to this after three movies with their large Middle Earth ensemble (which included nine principal characters and plenty of supporting roles), the characters in King Kong are almost gratuitously well developed all around. The crew of the SS Venture is essentially made up of pulp archetypes, but unusually, they're all given enough screen time that they're not just Star Trek-style red shirts by the time they disembark on Skull Island.
  • Every movement in that film was about a human connecting with this huge beast who was one hundred per cent 'other'. Kong basically looks at Ann Darrow three times in that movie. It's all about the disconnect and him being this lonely, psychotic hobo who can't connect with other people.

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