How Video Games, Anime, And Movies Influenced 'Skull Island'

In the first part of my interview with Kong: Skull Island director Jordan Vogt-Roberts, the filmmaker discusses how video games, anime, and other films influenced his vision of a King Kong movie. Hit the jump to learn about his various Skull Island influences.

We've talked on Twitter about video games in the past and I'm wondering how did video games influence this movie?

This movie for a gamer...I mean, A, there's 900 POV shots of guns being fired. But...

Kong Skull Island ReviewAnd I love that shot with the helicopter as it's going the 360, which is kind of this omnipresent thing.

Yes, video games, that's a very video game shot to me. That shot actually was inspired by a cinematic in a Resident Evil game. The stamp on this movie of video games and anime is massive. That is my childhood. That is my DNA. And so the influences of Shadow of the Colossus on this movie are massive in terms of the feeling of these sort of like lonely, towering, lumbering gods. But I think video games rewired my brain.

I think there's a handful of directors now coming up, guys like [Dan] Trachtenberg who we were raised on video games, but also had a love of film. And so I think normally "Oh it's got video game influences" for a lot of people would be a very negative thing. But, in fact, I think one of the best things about 10 Cloverfield Lane, when you look at it, there are these very video game-inspired ways of conveying information. And moving the camera. And so the video game influences on this movie are like endless and enormous. As are the anime influences and the South Korean cinema influences. It's like it's a hodgepodge of all the nerdy things that I grew up on.

apocalypse nowDid you screen a bunch of movies to the cast and crew before this film or...?  

No. I wanted everyone to watch the South Korean movie The Host.  Just 'cause I think that movie's a masterpiece. By Bong Joon-ho. And I had everyone watch, I made some people watch the making of Apocalypse Now, [the documentary] Hearts of Darkness. Just 'cause I kept joking, I was like "I wanna go have our Apocalypse Now in the jungle and lose their fucking minds." And then there's a point where you're in the jungle losing your mind and you're like "I don't want this." But I made them watch those. I tried to get people to watch The Good, the Bad and the Weird. Another South Korean film. And then those were probably the main ones. People had seen a lot, you know, of the other reference points like Princess Mononoke and Aliens. The ones that I wouldn't have normal people watch are longer series, like Evangelion, things like that. I'm not gonna make Tom Hiddleston watch 12 hours of a brilliant anime. But no, I developed a giant look book that sort of infused and sort of condensed all of those influences. So I was able to spare them from watching a lot of those movies.

Metal Gear Solid movieAre there any funny Easter eggs that might be hidden in the movie that I might have missed?

One million.

A million?

There are so many Easter eggs in this movie. There's an Easter egg to Kings of Summer. There are specific Mononoke Easter eggs. There are Zelda Easter eggs. There are Akira Easter eggs. There are, what else we got, a Metal Gear Easter egg in the movie. There's an Alien Easter egg in the movie.  There is, I mean, it's pretty endless. It really is a hodgepodge of my childhood influences. There's Evangelion influences, there's Dragon Ball Z influences. There's a ton of like overt and very subtle things within the film.