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Kong: Skull Island director promises 'the biggest Kong that you've seen on screen'

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Chuck Zlotnick

Beloved mega-ape King Kong has a cinematic history stretching back 83 years. But director Jordan Vogt-Roberts, who’s helming next year’s reboot Kong: Skull Island, promises bigger things ahead for the character. In an exclusive image from the film shared with EW, stars Tom Hiddleston and Brie Larson find themselves in a boneyard, standing amidst the ruins of a massive creature.

“From the size of the skull, you can tell that things on this island are much bigger than audiences are used to with traditional Kong lore,” says Vogt-Roberts. “Our Kong is by far the biggest Kong that you’ve seen on screen, and that translates to a lot of different things on the island.”

Vogt-Roberts has studied the earlier films closely. When asked for clarification, he starts listing size estimates. “In terms of actual size, our Kong is by far the biggest Kong,” he explains. “Peter Jackson’s Kong was around 25 feet. The ’33 Kong ranged between 25 feet and 50 feet, I want to say he was 50-plus feet when he was on the Empire State Building. He varied in size dramatically! The ’70s Kong was somewhere between them.”

The new Kong is “much larger,” which Vogt-Roberts says cuts to the core of the new film. “The film takes place in the ’70s,” he explains. “The ’70s was a time where it was believable that we could still be confronted with myth. And there was still unknown in the world.” At the start of the decade, NASA launched a satellite program later known as LANDSAT, which involved satellites mapping the world from space – the end of that “unknown.” In the film, “this island pops up,” leading the characters to investigate.

Hiddleston plays an ex-British SAS tracker; Larson is a war photographer, “who’s seen all sorts of terrible, terrible things.” Vogt-Roberts avoids any specific details about what they find on the island, but he’s adamant about what they don’t find. “We’re very explicitly not telling the beauty and the beast story,” he says. “The original is a classic, the ’70s version is great for what it is, and Peter’s version is a great retelling of the 1933 film.”

Instead, Skull Island digs into the mythos of Kong’s homeland. And a key part of that mythos is, well, size. “The thing that most interested me was, how big do you need to make [Kong], so that when someone lands on this island and doesn’t believe in the idea of myth, the idea of wonder — when we live in a world of social and civil unrest, and everything is crumbling around us, and technology and facts are taking over — how big does this creature need to be, so that when you stand on the ground and you look up at it, the only thing that can go through your mind is: ‘That’s a god.'” Pretty big, we’re guessing? “You will see when we drop a trailer,” Vogt-Roberts teases.

Expect more Skull Island details soon: The cast will be at Comic-Con next week.

RELATED VIDEO: Tom Hiddleston says Kong: Skull Island is a ‘reconception of the mythology’

 

A version of this story appears in issue #1423/1424 of Entertainment Weekly, on newsstands now, or buy it here — and subscribe now for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.

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