20 facts you might not know about Peter Jackson’s ‘King Kong’ Movie

Hopefully, 20 facts you might not know about Peter Jackson’s ‘King Kong’ Movie

20 facts you might not know about Peter Jackson’s ‘King Kong’- Jackson referenced his own reference in the film, There were plans for a sequel, but it didn’t happen, It won three Oscars, Universal’s outlay paid off, It cost a ton of money and more

One of the first big special effects blockbusters was the original King Kong. The story of a giant ape on the loose in New York has captured the imagination for decades. The story was retold in the 1970s and again in the 2000s. We’re here to focus on the latter, given that it was directed by a guy fresh off of one of the biggest movie series in history and a big win at the Oscar. We are talking, of course, about Peter Jackson. The true eighth wonder of the world?

Here are the 20 trivia facts about Jackson’s King Kong.

Jackson referenced his own reference in the film

We started by saying how much Jackson loved the 1933 King Kong as a kid. In his 1992 horror comedy Braindead, the zombie plague begins on Skull Island thanks to an animal called the Sumatran rat monkey. Everything came full circle in King Kong. When Jack Driscoll is down in the animal storage area of the ship, there’s a box that reads, “Sumatran Rat Monkey – Beware the bite!”

There were plans for a sequel, but it didn’t happen

In 2013, Jackson wanted to produce a King Kong sequel called Skull Island. He even tapped Adam Wingard to direct it, having been impressed with his horror film You’re Next. However, Warner Bros. had the rights to make a King Kong movie, which complicated things. Those complications helped lead to the sequel fizzling out. Eventually, Warner Bros. rebooted the character with Kong: Skull Island. That movie got a sequel in Godzilla vs. Kong. The director of that movie? None other than Wingard.

It won three Oscars

King Kong didn’t clean up at the Academy Awards like Return of the King did, but it was successful on the technical front. The film got four Oscar nominations, including three wins. Those wins were for Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Visual Effects.

Universal’s outlay paid off

In addition to that $207 million budget, a reported $60 million was spent on marketing. That meant to turn a profit the film had to make over $267 million. No problem for Jackson. His movie made $562.3 million worldwide, finishing as the fifth-righting-grossing movie of 2005.

It cost a ton of money

Look, King Kong was never going to be cheap. The original budget was set at a robust $150 million. However, by the time production ended, the film cost $207 million. At the time, that made it the most-expensive film ever. Additionally, the film’s planned run time bloated from 135 minutes to 200 minutes. Universal was so enthused with what they were seeing, though, they signed off on all of it.

Serkis studied gorillas extensively

Serkis was a busy guy for King Kong. It took two hours per day to get him set up for his motion-capture work, and after the filming was done, he worked two extra months doing Kong’s movements for the digital animation department. On top of that, he spent time with gorillas at the London Zoo and also observed wild gorillas in Rwanda to prepare for the movie.

One cameo unfortunately didn’t happen

Fay Wray, who had played Ann in the original King Kong, was supposed to have a cameo in Jackson’s film. In fact, she was going to say the movie’s final line. Unfortunately, that didn’t come to fruition. Wray passed away during pre-production at the age of 96.

Cameos abound

Jackson and legendary makeup artist Rick Baker play the pilot and the gunner, respectively, in the plane that shoot down Kong. Director Frank Darabont plays another gunner as well. Composer Howard Shore plays the conductor of the theater that Kong is unveiled at. Interestingly, Shore had been intended to compose the score to King Kong, but had creative differences with Jackson and left the film.

Andy Serkis got to pull double duty

Naturally, Serkis played Kong. He had earned a reputation as the King of Motion-Capture Acting by playing Gollum in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. However, Serkis does live-action acting as well, and he plays Lumpy in King Kong — one of the sailors on the SS Venture.

Jackson got the actors he wanted

Perhaps using his sway from Lord of the Rings, Jackson got what he wanted for King Kong.
That includes his first-choice actors. Jackson wanted Adrien Brody, Jack Black, and Naomi Watts for the film, and all three of them ended up in the main (human) acting roles.

A couple real people served as inspiration

The character of Carl Denham was inspired, in part, by legendary filmmaker Orson Welles. Meanwhile, Jackson went as far as to option the memoir of vaudeville actor June Havoc to help flesh out the character of Ann Darrow.

The writers brought back elements from the first film

Jackson and company didn’t just work off the 1933 movie. They worked off the screenplay, credited to James Ashmore Creelman and Ruth Rose. Elements from that script that didn’t make the final film were brought back for Jackson’s version, including giant spiders eating sailors in a ravine.

They complete redid the script

Jackson and Walsh brought on Philippa Boyens, who had written on the Lord of the Rings movies, to serve as a writer on King Kong. Originally, they were going to rework the 1996 script. Shortly, though, Jackson would become completely disenchanted by his 1996 version. The trio decided to start anew, and this time, they used the script from the 1933 original as their inspiration.

Universal returned to Jackson once he was a huge success

King Kong didn’t happen, so Jackson took on another passion project of him: a trilogy based on The Lord of the Rings. Before Return of the King even hit theaters and won Best Picture, Universal wanted back in the Jackson business. Jackson signed back on, and this time things would stick.

That film production stopped down

When 1997 rolled around, Universal suddenly got cold feet. A Godzilla movie was coming. So was Mighty Joe Young, a giant ape film. While it wouldn’t be until 2001 that it actually hit screens, Planet of the Apes was happening, too. Worried about market saturation, Universal abandoned the project…for a while.

Production got really far along in the ‘90s for the film

Jackson and his wife, producing partner, and writing partner Fran Walsh got to writing a script for King Kong. They finished the film in 1996, and Universal approved of it. Jackson started thinking about actors, and even met with Kate Winslet — who had starred in his film Heavenly Creatures — to play the role of Ann Darrow. The plan was to film in 1997 and to release the movie in the summer of 1998.

Jackson did turn down another ape movie, though

Funnily enough, Universal was approaching Jackson for King Kong at the same time that 20th Century Fox was gearing up to remake Planet of the Apes. Jackson was offered a chance to direct movie as well, but he declined. Tim Burton ended up with that gig.

And yet, Jackson turned Universal down again

At first, Jackson did not accept the offer to direct King Kong. Then, he was struck with fear that somebody else would inevitably take the job of directing King Kong and make a bad version. Jackson described himself as “haunted” by this idea, so he agreed to sign on.

Universal offered Jackson another monster movie first

Jackson was making The Frighteners in 1995 for Universal, and the studio was really impressed with it. They wanted to stay in the Jackson business and offered him a chance to direct a remake of The Creature from the Black Lagoon, but Jackson turned him down. Universal then became aware of Jackson’s love for King Kong, and that character happened to have entered the public domain. This gave Universal the idea to pitch Jackson on a King Kong movie.

Jackson was a massive fan of the original ‘King Kong’

Jackson first saw the 1933 version of King Kong when he was nine. By the time he was 12, he was attempting to remake the movie at home. Jackson considered it his favorite film and a primary inspiration for why he wanted to become a director.

20 facts you might not know about Peter Jackson’s ‘King Kong’ Movie

One of the first big special effects blockbusters was the original King Kong. The story of a giant ape on the loose in New York has captured the imagination for decades. The story was retold in the 1970s and again in the 2000s. We’re here to focus on the latter, given that it was directed by a guy fresh off of one of the biggest movie series in history and a big win at the Oscar. We are talking, of course, about Peter Jackson. The true eighth wonder of the world? These 20 trivia facts about Jackson’s King Kong.

10 facts you might not know about Peter Jackson’s ‘King Kong’ [With Image]

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