King Kong Prequel Coming

Two current projects have their roots in the work of Kong creator Merian C. Cooper. One is a long-stalled feature film originally conceived by Cooper and Ray Harryhausen, the other is a prequel to King Kong. Let's take a look at them in turn.

Variety report that War Eagles was co-developed by Cooper and Harryhausen before it was stalled by the second World War. The premise involves one of those long-lost locales full of wonderful creatures that would seem to belong to a prehistoric evolutionary niche. In this case, the lost world would be discovered by an ace fighter pilot who crashes his experimental jet in the Arctic.

The producer of both films is one Arnold Kunert who is also prepping a doc on stop-motion maestro Harryhausen named, definitively enough, Harryhausen. He says of War Eagles:

It's one of those films that a certain level of the industry is aware of. It's a combination of all the things that have worked in adventure films for the last 70 or 80 years.

Sounds like it might be 70 or 80 years late then... and what do you know, so it is. I hope it gets given a bit of a polish and some kind of fresh air and not just plopped out in arrested 1930's form. I'd hate it to seem like the tired plagiarist when, apparently, it's quite the opposite.

The Kong prequel is to be based upon Joe DeVito and Brad Strickland's book Kong: King of Skull Island which was published, unsurprisingly, when the hype around Peter Jackson's remake was flooding forth. I had no idea if there would be any marketable western humans (i.e.  movie stars) in the story or not, but it sounded unlikely as the book's story apparently details Kong's rise to dominance in his island home. Having checked the official site I found tell-tale promotional artwork, however, and you'll see the evidence of possible star roles in the image at the head of this post.

Unsurprisingly, the plan is to create the Kong film through motion capture. Seems like a fairly sensible project for the medium, I'd reckon. I'm hopefully going to publish my impassioned defense of motion/performance capture soon, so save your best barbs for then.

Both films are being scripted by Andy Briggs who also writes sci-fi adventure books for younger readers. Is there anybody out there who can vouch for him?