King Kong: Peter Jackson’s film was originally supposed to be very different

When he started working on “King Kong” in the 90s, Peter Jackson wrote a script with his partner Fran Walsh. A script that he rewrote when he worked on the remake again during post-production of the third installment of “Lord of the Rings”, in particular because his first version had many points in common with a famous Hollywood blockbuster.

King Kong : a childhood dream come true

Having just completed the titanic production of the trilogy of Lord of the Rings, peter jackson embarks on the production of King Kongremake of the classic Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack, a huge cinematographic shock that he discovered during his childhood and which made him want to become a director. The project was then in the drawers for many years, since the Universal studio offered him to stage it before the release of ghosts against ghosts.

If he accepts this offer after having refused it the first time, it is becausehe doesn’t want another filmmaker to ruin the movie. Asked by theObserve and quoted in the biography Peter Jackson: From Prince of Splatter to Lord of the Rings by Ian Pryor published in 2003, he states:

The fact that this is my favorite movie comforts me a little. Because at least I’m making a remake of something close to my heart.

King Kong
King Kong ©Universal Pictures

King Kong therefore landed in cinemas in 2005. The feature film debuted in New York in 1933. Artist of music hall struggling, Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts) is offered to participate in an exciting and dangerous adventure by director Carl Denham (Jack Black): traveling to Singapore to complete an action film alongside his team and screenwriter Jack Driscoll (Adrian Brody). In reality, Denham hopes to get to ‘Skull Island’an island populated by terrifying creatures and over which reigns a gigantic gorilla, embodied by Andy Serkis. Thomas Kretschmann, colin hanks and Jamie Bell complete the cast of this blockbuster that won three Oscars: Best Visual Effects, Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing.

A first version of the script close to The Mummy

In the 90s, Peter Jackson worked on a first version of the script for King Kong. The plot differs in several respects from the one he later rewrote with Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyenshis co-writers on the trilogy of Lord of the Rings. In a documentary appearing on the Blu-Ray bonuses quoted by Colliderthe filmmaker says:

It was quite light. Very Hollywood. He had the same tone as The Mummy.

Close collaborator of the director and special effects specialist who staged Mortal Engines, Christian Rivers remember :

When I saw The MummyI asked myself: “Have they read the scenario of King Kong ?”

King Kong
King Kong ©Universal Pictures

Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh therefore begin by imagining a classic adventure film, in line with the saga IndianaJones. A version in which Jack Driscoll, the character played by Adrien Brody, was a former World War I pilot suffering from post-traumatic stress since the death of a brother-in-arms. A charismatic protagonist with many points in common with Rick O’Connell, the hero of The Mummy embodied by Brendan Fraser. In the end, he tries to protect Kong, a refugee at the top of the Empire State Building, from the other airmen.

Before becoming an artist music hallAnn Darrow was meanwhile an archaeologist carrying out excavations on the island of Sumatraas Christian Rivers explains:

Ann was a kind of high-society Englishwoman. She was the daughter of a lord who was an archaeologist. Ann, Jack and Carl Denham were in Sumatra when they learned about an ancient civilization and the idea of ​​this “monkey god”.

Finally, if he remains particularly deceitful in the 2005 feature film, Carl Denham was openly nasty here. When he starts working again on King Kong in the early 2000s, Peter Jackson retains several elements of this first scenario, including the fight between the monkey and the three T-rexbut rewrote a version more faithful to its model.

Elements present in the feature film

If Universal interrupted the development of the feature film in January 1997 after six months of work, it was because of the failure of ghosts against ghosts but also because two other monster films are in preparation: My friend Joe of Ron Underwood and Godzilla of Roland Emmerich. According to Peter Jackson, “everything went downhill in a matter of weeks” and his script stayed hot for years.

While the filmmaker is in full post-production of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the Kingsold out, Universal is relaunching King Kong. Despite the fatigue, Peter Jackson agrees to devote himself to it again, not wanting to miss his chance. Technological advances, particularly in motion capture, allow him to deliver a feature film that is both impressive and moving, thanks in part to the performance of Andy Serkis.

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