The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Lord of rings to king of gorillas

Wellington, Sept. 2 (Reuters): Award-winning New Zealand director Peter Jackson will relive a childhood dream when filming of his remake of the 1933 classic King Kong begins in Wellington next week.

Speaking to reporters at his Wellington studio today, Jackson, who helmed the blockbuster The Lord of The Rings trilogy, said his first attempt to film King Kong was at age 13. “It’s great to be able to finally get the film made. It’s a film which I’ve loved ever since I was a child. It really inspired me to want to become a film-maker,” the triple Academy Award-winning director said.

A screaming, vine-swinging special effects extravaganza, Jackson’s King Kong will also be a character-driven psychological study of a monster — and, of course, a love story.

Jackson says he will pay homage to the original starring Fay Wray, who died on August 8 aged 96, and retain the “mystery and romance of a bygone era”, although the characters — including Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts), Carl Denham (Jack Black) and Jack Driscoll (Adrien Brody) — will not be carbon copies of those in the original film.

“To put modern political beliefs onto something that was made in 1933 is obviously putting a spin on it that doesn’t really exist. It was a product of its time,” he said.

“We’re really just attempting to make a wonderful, mysterious adventure film ... it’s about gorillas, it’s about dinosaurs, and lost islands, and this relationship.”

Watts said she accepted the part without seeing the script, although she had already seen several versions of King Kong.

“This story is very simplistic and very human, so that’s why I’m here,” she said.

Jackson already had in mind Brody and Watts to play their characters, but decided on Black during the social whirl at the 2004 Academy Awards. Black said he had wanted to work on a Jackson film after seeing The Lord of The Rings.

Andy Serkis, who was the human model and voice of the computer generated Gollum in The Lord of the Rings, will do the same for the giant gorilla, as well as have a “live” role of a cook.

Hollywood turned down Jackson’s previous King Kong pitch before his overwhelming success with the ambitious Rings trilogy, which in March created Oscar history by winning all 11 categories it was nominated in.

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