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'I was excited about creating something brand new': Fala Chen on Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire

Fala Chen, a Chinese-American actress, is best known for the Marvel Cinematic Universe superhero film Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and HBO miniseries Irma Vep and The Undoing

Priyanka Roy  Published 28.03.24, 12:17 PM
Fala Chen.

Fala Chen. Sourced by The Telegraph

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire storms into theatres worldwide on March 29. A sequel to the 2021 hit Godzilla vs Kong, this is the fifth film in the MonsterVerse franchise, the 38th film of the Godzilla franchise and the 13th outing in the King Kong franchise.

Directed by Adam Wingard, the film marks the return of Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry and Kaylee Hottle, with Fala Chen being one of the prominent names to join the franchise.


Fala Chen, a Chinese-American actress, is best known for the Marvel Cinematic Universe superhero film Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and HBO miniseries Irma Vep and The Undoing. In Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire, the 42-year-old actress plays the queen of the Iwi tribe, which inhabits Hollow Earth. In the film, Kong encounters more of his species in the Hollow Earth and must unite with Godzilla to stop their tyrannical leader and a powerful, climate-changing Titan from destroying the surface. t2 caught up with Fala Chen to chat on Godzilla x Kong and more.

Both Godzilla and King Kong are huge franchises. What is it about Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire and about your role that intrigued you?

Adam Wingard, the director, and Alex Garcia, the producer approached me. They had a Zoom meeting with me and they were excited about bringing back the Iwi tribe (a tribe indigenous to Skull Island who exclusively worship Kong and his species as their benevolent protectors) from the Kong Skull Island movie (2017). They wanted me to create a brand new character and create a whole new world inside Hollow Earth (an ancient subterranean ecosystem deep within the earth whose gravity inverts at a halfway point, allowing Titans to walk freely on both floor and ceiling without fear of falling from one to the other). I was excited about creating something that is brand new, something that is not human but kind of human. There was a lot of room for creativity and exploration. I immediately said ‘yes’.

How did playing this character stretch you as an actor and contribute to your skills?

This is the first time I have played a character that doesn’t speak. She communicates telepathically. I have earlier played a character that uses sign language but this is the first time that I could not even use my hands to convey things word by word. Every thought had to be so clear. Initially, I was kind of intimidated by it but after a lot of research and realising some people can actually communicate telepathically, at least partially, I felt that there are so many possibilities in this universe that we don’t know about... like aliens and other living creatures that we don’t encounter on the surface of our earth.

I did a lot of research and even practised a little bit with my castmates. I discussed with Adam how to present the idea and thought in each scene very clearly. I made sure that I relied on my castmates to give me reactions that made my thoughts very clear and the different frames of the camera also helped. It was a creative, fun experience for me. It was quite an interesting exercise. It felt almost like a theatre or like a silent film in many ways as well.

Fala Chen in Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire, releasing in cinemas this Friday

Fala Chen in Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire, releasing in cinemas this Friday Sourced by The Telegraph

What are your earliest memories of watching a Godzilla or a King Kong film or even both and what kind of an impression did it have on you?

I don’t remember the first time I watched a Godzilla film. It was a really old Godzilla film when I was a child. In terms of King Kong, the first impression I remember of was from the Naomi Watts version (King Kong, 2005) of the comic. I was quite young but I remember the humanity of King Kong and the love relationship which left an impression on my mind. Once I got the offer (for Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire), I went back to watch a lot of these films again just to help sort out the timelines.

The previous film, Godzilla vs Kong, gave me a lot of ideas and so did Kong Skull Island, which is where we meet the Iwi tribes briefly. That kind of reference to our world helped, but not entirely, because we are expanding the New Empire with the whole Hollow Earth exploration. It is a brand-new experience for the audience as well as us actors.

I also discovered a lot of things on set because many times, the set informs the story as well as the actors. The designers have a lot of information and even in the film, you will notice that the film is not just a natural light in that world... it is multi-coloured, it is constantly changing and that gives a lot of information to us actors as to how to behave.

What do you think it is about this franchise that has captivated audiences around the world for so many decades?

I think it has something to do with our imagination. The fact that we get to encounter and experience firsthand through the screen what it is like to have creatures so different from us — so much bigger, so much stronger than us and as intelligent, if not more than us, as and how we as humans reflect and see ourselves in the face of these monsters.

The word ‘monster’ has a negative connotation but that is just who they are — in terms of their world and their behaviour — but we put such a negative connotation as if we are at the centre of the universe, which is not true. It is a humbling experience and I think people can reflect on who we are as a human race and what we are doing to our planet. The fans love the big action, the big fights... it is not only great entertainment but is also a great space for reflection and imagination.

In the last few years, how have opportunities opened up for you as an actor in the West?

I consider myself very lucky that straight out of drama school, I was offered roles in big productions. I am very grateful for these opportunities and there is more and more of a global audience that we are now working for, which is a great trend. I just hope that things keep going in the right direction for me. It is diverse, it is interesting and it is universal... especially for a movie like Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire, anything goes... it is even beyond the imaginary world of human beings. I hope I will be in the next MonsterVerse movie as well.

Why are you a fan of the Godzilla/ King Kong universe?

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