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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 December 2005, 21:57 GMT
King Kong movie roars into town
By Chris Leggett
BBC News website entertainment reporter

Peter Jackson at the UK premiere of King Kong
Peter Jackson attended the UK premiere in London
Director Peter Jackson says he has fulfilled a childhood dream by remaking King Kong.

Jackson, who directed The Lord of the Rings trilogy, said the 1933 original had inspired his interest in film-making at the tender age of nine.

"I've always harboured this desire to remake it. I finally did it," he said.

Naomi Watts and Adrien Brody - stars of the $207m (116m) film - attended the UK premiere with Jackson in London on Thursday night.

'Ambitious'

Jack Black, Andy Serkis and Jamie Bell also braved cold weather to attend the screening in Leicester Square.

The director said he had set out to remake the Fay Wray original at the age of 12.

He joked: "I felt I had the necessary skills but I didn't get very far. It was a little bit ambitious.

"I switched to a remake of Monty Python's Flying Circus.

"I tried to do Kong again in 1996 but it got canned so I went sideways into Lord of the Rings."

Jackson added that he was not "a filmmaker with a message".

"I simply want to entertain people," he said.

Naomi Watts at the London premiere of King Kong
Naomi Watts, who is British-born, said it was great to be in London

The director said he planned to take a break from directing "to recharge the batteries" after 10 years working on Lord of the Rings and King Kong.

But Jackson said he had a few directorial projects in the pipeline, including a possible movie with the UK's Film Four.

"They are all very, very small," he added.

School of Rock star Jack Black plays the ambitious director who leads a group of film-makers and sailors to Kong's home on Skull Island.

He said: "I didn't ever imagine being in a fantasy-action-adventure-drama-epic but it felt very natural.

"I felt like I'd been preparing for it all my life with my imaginary adventures."

Watts, who takes on Fay Wray's character as the actress who Kong admires, said she was pleased to have actor Andy Serkis to stand in for the giant ape on the set.

It was a dream come true for me
Adrien Brody

"Using an actor to play Kong made all the sense in the world to me," she said.

Speaking at the premiere, where she wore a stunning midnight blue Christian Lacroix dress, she revealed the making of the film had taken its toll.

"It had it's challenges. The physical side of it was difficult. Every day there was something that the body had to go through and I'm a fairly slight build so I took quite a beating.

"Also, the green scene stuff had its challenges but thankfully all of the stuff between Kong and I - with me and Andy - wasn't as difficult as you may think.

She added that Jackson and his team had played sad music to help her with the more emotionally-wrought scenes.

Serkis, who played the CGI character Gollum in Lord of the Rings, also provided the "motion-capture performance" which was used as the basis for the ape animation.

But he would not be drawn on which character he preferred playing.

Naomi Watts in still from King Kong
King Kong is released in the UK on 15 December

"I loved them both. Over the last four to five years I've become particularly attached to Gollum because he's so devious and schizophrenic and represents a part of my personality.

"Kong is more honest and represents another part of my personality. They are both great characters and I don't want to be typecast."

Serkis, who also plays a member of the ship's crew in King Kong, said he spent time with gorillas to study their movements, including a female ape who developed a crush on him.

He said: "She picked me out and was very affectionate and doe eyed.

"I spent two-and-a-half months with her. We played games with each other.

"When I took my wife to meet her, the gorilla squirted this big bottle of mineral tea all over her."

'Fortunate'

Actor Brody, who plays playwright Jack Driscoll, said the film was a "very, very fulfilling experience".

"I wanted to be the guy who gets the girl and save the day but also play a sensitive, romantic lead," he said.

"It was a dream come true for me."

"There are very few wonderfully written roles available and there are too many actors vying for those roles and it's hard to find a great one. I was very fortunate in this case.

"He's heroic. It's a remarkable thing for a film to have an intellectual man to become the hero."

Among the other stars at the charity premiere were model Jerry Hall with her daughters Elizabeth, 21, and Georgia May, 14, and TV presenter Graham Norton.


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