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Child actress Kaylee Hottle plays Jia, a little girl who can communicate with King Kong.

By Nick Romano
March 25, 2021 at 11:38 AM EDT
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Amid the city-destroying action that comes with a face-off between Godzilla and King Kong is a touching story about Alexander Skarsgård and his costar Kayle Hottle.

Hottle, a newcomer child star and a deaf actress, portrays Jia, a young girl in Godzilla vs. Kong who can dialogue with the king of the apes through sign language. Skarsgård, playing a geologist and cartographer that works for the organization Monarch, says he learned ASL so he could communicate with Hottle on set.

"It's her first movie," Skarsgård told Australian pop culture website Junkee. "It's fascinating how comfortable she is in front of the camera and how quickly she takes notes from the director Adam [Wingard]. He'll explain something and she'll be like, 'Got it, got it.' Then she'll just do it and everyone's like, 'The f--- … how did she?'"

In Godzilla vs. Kong, the ape's protectors embark on a journey to find his true home, which puts him in the crosshairs of Godzilla. These two beats are instigated into fighting each other by unseen forces that covers a bigger mystery. Jia, an orphaned girl, has formed a special bond with Kong. She's the only one the beast will communicate with.

"She's so professional," Skarsgård continued to coo over Hottle. "There's so much going on on her face, her expression, and the subtleties of that is fascinating to watch," he added.

Godzilla vs. Kong opens in theaters and premieres on HBO Max Friday.

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