With the backdrop of the Vietnam War giving Kong: Skull Island an extra layer of complexity to proceedings, director Jordan Vogt-Roberts admitted that this was far from what the screenwriters had in mind. At least during the initial drafting stage. Sitting down with Cinemablend ahead of the March 10 release of the reboot, Vogt-Roberts gave an insight into how different the movie could have been if he had stuck to their interpretation.
"The first script that I had, which was a great script by Max Borenstein who is an incredible writer, it took place in 1917," he remarked. "And so when they came to me and said, 'We're making a new King Kong movie,' I said, 'Great! I love monsters. I love King Kong. But why? Why are we doing this? Why do we need a new King Kong movie?' And they sent me that script, and I read it. And I was just like this is a super cool script, but it's not for me."
Apocalypse Kong Appealed To JVR
Giving some flexibility and leeway by the studios to arrive at a time that suited his creative appeal, the director believed this was something that would be completely unique to the genre.
"Warner Brothers and Legendary being a very cool company said, 'Well, what version would you make? What version would you be interested in?'" he recalled. "And that's when I went away, and the idea of choppers in Napalm and Hendrix's playing and Kong silhouetted by a fiery sun. And somehow the idea of the mashup of Apocalypse Now and Kong came to my brain, and the idea of a Vietnam War movie with monsters came to my brain because I was like I've never seen that. That feels fresh to me."
Tumultuous 70s The Perfect Backdrop For Skull Island
Overlapping themes of sex, race, war and technology, Vogt-Roberts argued that the 1970s fitted into everything he wanted from a major blockbuster. A time that just so happened to include a giant monster on an isolated island.
"That became a jumping off point for a million thematic reasons, not just in terms of plot ideas of like 'Oh, we were putting satellites in the sky and looking down at the Earth for the first time.' It's credible that we would find a new place or a new island. But there were so many thematic things that went along with that about the black mirror that is our society now to then with racial riots and sexual revolutions and losing wars and distrust of the government. And I love the idea of taking characters, much like they are in our current world, caught between the old guard and the new guard and taking these characters who are disillusioned by the war and what was happening at the time and thrusting them into this world."