Peter Jackson has made many movies which are stunning achievements on an emotional level (Heavenly Creatures), fun schlocky body horror level (Bad Taste, Dead Alive), in the world of documentary (They Shall Not Grow Old, Get Back), and of course on the sweeping epic and technical level (The Lord of the Rings trilogy). But there’s one piece of filmmaking that he’s proudest of – and it’s not any of these. It’s from King Kong.
In a 2013 interview with the DGA, Jackson discussed his 2005 version of King Kong; “The first run-in I had with a King Kong remake was when I was 11 years old and I did about 30 seconds of stop-motion animation using a puppet and a model of the Empire State Building made out of cardboard. But after The Lord of the Rings, Universal came to me and asked, ‘Have you still got any interest in Kong?’ When I’m invited to remake King Kong, I can’t say no.”
Jackson continued; “It was a childhood dream on one level, and I also felt that I had something to offer to the legend of Kong. A lot of young people out there were never, ever going to watch the black-and-white version. It’s such a great adventure story and so emotional, that I wanted to be the guy making Kong for a generation that will watch this version but not the other.”
There’s one section in particular of King Kong which makes Jackson proud; “I have to say, I saw a bit of my Kong about a year ago, and I actually think the last half-hour – those scenes in New York through the end of the Empire State Building sequence – is probably the piece of filmmaking of which I’m the proudest.”
Jackson’s King Kong is over three hours long; “I recall we were very rushed in post-production, and we really needed to get 15 or 20 minutes cut from the first two-thirds of the film. We needed to tighten it a bit, but we could never figure out a way to do it in the time we had. So it’s a wee bit long, but I’m still very proud of it.”
Kong is now part of the monsterverse – which includes Kong: Skull Island and Gozilla vs Kong. The next movie in the saga is currently being filmed. Check out our guide to the best monster movies.