Kong Skull Island

I like that it’s a big monster movie that actually delivers on big monsters.  No offense to any other movie from the last few years, but…

No, but that would be… That’s like the fundamental thing we have to get right.

But I do feel like there’s a lot of young directors that are getting hired for these big films… Maybe it’s a nod back to Jaws or maybe it’s the worry that if they commit to  showing too much of the monsters, doing too much CG work, it will be overwhelming. But you jump headfirst into not just Kong but a ton of Skull Island monster action.

Well, I think for me my love of Kong is as much a part of my love of creature features and Harryhausen and monsters and that type of cinema. As much as it is the 1933 film itself. Because Kong’s a difficult thing to separate, because you and I probably knew who Kong was an icon and a piece of pop culture well before we ever saw the 1933 film. And when you watch that 1933 film, you’re like holy fuck, this is still incredible. You know, it’s genre filmmaking at its finest. The special effects are still like out of control incredible. It’s like it’s just every piece about that film is still captivating.  But there’s this other element of Kong as this piece of pop culture and as one of the pillars and titans of monster movies.

So I find it difficult to just think about it as a Kong story and what was interesting to me was this idea of being like okay, this is more of a Kaiju film and more like a creature feature. And to me, if you’re gonna do that, you gotta go balls out. Every time one of these big movies comes out these days, they say, a week later… They’re like “There’s only 10 minutes of Batman in this movie.” Or here’s five minutes of this thing.  Beyond me initially wanting to like put Kong in scene one, I just wanted to send a message that like this is not the movie that’s gonna string you along and hide it from you. As a nerd like you, I’m sure you wouldn’t be unreasonable for you to agree that generally less is more, with monsters, with villains, things like that.

But this was something where it was in your face. Here we go, this is the world. We’re not gonna be afraid of showing this thing. And the cat’s out of the bag in scene one. So we take our time and do our crazy stuff with our reveals and make sure those are cinematic and have weight and things like that.  But like I think people wanna see these things fight.

This is big budget CG movie.  I was wondering if there’s anything in this film that viewers might be surprised were created practically or lo-fi in some way?

Well, we tried as much as possible to shoot on locations in real places.

skull island Vietnam

It looks great by the way, the Vietnam stuff.

Thank you. The Vietnam is… I hope more people look at this movie and say, oh my God, where was that shot? And they go and discover Vietnam. It’s just one of the most special places on the planet. In terms of like effects like that, like we built part of that stick creature for a shot. You know, [the monster] that throws Toby Kebbell off of him. But no, you know, [much of it] was all practical stuff.

And for me, I think the biggest surprises in the movie beyond practical stuff is that I would like to think that people… Online right now there’s a lot of chatter of “I don’t know about this tone.” Is it serious or is it not serious? I think people are gonna be surprised at how much they fall in love with John C. Reilly and how much he’s like sort of like subversive human element to the film.

skull island john c reilly

He’s awesome.  He’s the heart of the movie.

He’s like Biaggio in Kings of Summer, where he should totally break the film. He should be saying things that like are completely out of control.  But I think he actually grounds it more. And he is the human beating heart of the movie.

I like that too. Anyways, thank you.

Dude, thank you so much. Great to see you as always.

Good to see you as well.  

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