When you mention movie monsters to a cinephile, then chances are their thoughts will either go to Godzilla or to the greatest movie monster of all time – the legendary King Kong. As a character, the menacing great-ape with a knack for smashing up aircraft has appeared on television and movies 69 times. The most notable appearances of course have been in Cooper and Schoedsack’s 1933 classic King Kong and of course Peter Jackson’s epic retelling from 2005.
Now Kong returns to the big screen in Jordan Vogt-Roberts’ Kong: Skull Island a film that consists of an amazing cast including Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson, John Goodman, John C. Reilly and the man that all Marvel fans know as Loki – Tom Hiddleston.
For Hiddleston this is a chance to turn around the way that cinema lovers view him. Here he is no longer the gangly, awkward, evil… adopted bad guy and instead he is the hero that is trying to do good in this world.
When asked to describe his character Hiddleston says, “Conrad is a British SAS tracker. He is someone who is trained in military reconnaissance and recovery. He is a kind of lone warrior… a survivor and his special skill is rescuing lost soldiers. Because of his affinity with the natural world, he knows how to read the terrain and understand the jungle. He is a professional tracker, and he means… no man left behind.”
As mentioned earlier Kong has become one of cinema’s most recognisable characters, so much so that it almost now a privilege for an actor to be asked to star in a King Kong movie and that is a fact that hasn’t been lost on Hiddleston. “Kong is an icon of motion pictures,” says Hiddleston with a sense of pride in his voice. “He’s an icon of the cinema. He’s been present in people’s imaginations since 1933…. and he’s certainly been in the minds of audiences and people that love movies. I think Kong represents so many things. He is the mystery of the unknown and he’s a terrifying force of nature. He was also a sentient being with an intelligence that we don’t understand and I think that we are captivated by that. We are captivated by Kong’s power and majesty.”
Of course one of the criticism of Kong movies of the years has been that most filmmakers that tackle bringing him back to the big screen just don’t seem to know how to be creative enough with a new story. That certainly isn’t the case with Kong: Skull Island though and from the posters currently hanging in cinemas it is not hard to see that Jordan Vogt-Roberts has really used the visual aspects of past war greats such as Apocalypse Now to bring a new feeling to the Kong movie.
“Kong is being re-conceived as a myth come to life, an idea in the mind of man,” says Hiddleston as he reflects on the story at hand with Kong: Skull Island. “It’s something that really couldn’t exist, it’s an answer to a theoretical equation and he is truly monstrous in size and scale and scope. He is ninety feet tall so therefore taller than people have been used to and his power is unknown. I think the journey of Kong in Skull Island is that he goes from being a figure of terror – an Alpha predator who seems to be a destructive threat but he becomes an emblem of the natural order.”
So visually spectacular is Kong: Skull Island that it didn’t take very long for the studio behind it to decide that it should get an IMAX release. Hiddleston is quick to agree that the visuals for Kong: Skull Island are amazing. “This film will be an immersive spectacle,” says Hiddleston proudly. “I think that it will breathtakingly beautiful. There will be the most thrilling action. It will feel really rugged and raw and exciting.”
Hiddleston has every reason to be proud of Kong: Skull Island as it is the kind of film that works on all levels. There is amazing action, an original story and it looks brilliant.
Kong: Skull Island is in cinemas now.