King Kong from “Kong: Skull Island” isn’t a giant gorilla.
Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts wanted a true Movie Monster (with capital Ms) for his beast, not something based in reality. That explains the upright walk.
The Creature Feature-loving director went back to the original “King Kong” for inspiration.
“For me, that Kong was not just a big ape, it was its own creature,” says Vogt-Roberts. “So a big part of it was going backward, respecting the iconography and having it be as bold as the 1933 version. I was so obsessed with giving it that same life that creature had, but having it feel real in 2017.”
Vogt-Roberts bypassed director Peter Jackson’s “King Kong,” which starred Naomi Watts and a besotted, stunningly realistic creature.
“There’s a tendency to be like, ‘Kong has to be as real and true to life as possible,’ ” says Vogt-Roberts. “The 2005 version had that element to it and was a beautiful, primal love story. But it sort of lost that movie monster quality.”
Vogt-Roberts worked with the visual effects designers at Industrial Light & Magic on a computer-generated Kong that seemed photorealistic but with exaggerated proportions and movements.
“It was a long process, getting out of the box of how a gorilla or monkey would traditionally move, saying, ‘He doesn’t move like that,’ ” says Vogt-Roberts. “He has tendencies, but he moves in his own way.”
The team explored every type of Kong design: “We had one that ended up looking way too much like a Sasquatch and ones that looked like insane berserker mutant creatures. We did the due diligence to explore how to take an icon of cinema and stay true to what it is and why people love this character.”
Even his roar is proudly anatomically incorrect: Kong bellows with his mouth and his eyes wide open. (A real ape would squint while wailing.)
“That was directly inspired by the 1933 version,” says Vogt-Roberts. “Kong did kind of have those bug eyes when he roared.”
“This Kong is really his own species, sort of his own half-man, half-gorilla on this island,” White says. “He’s very unique.”
Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY