Art and culture

Godzilla x Kong Director Talks John Carpenter Inspiration

Although Fala Chen teams up with the massive Kong to battle against a humongous hidden creature in “Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire,” a minuscule monster snuck up on her at the premiere.

“I got stung by a bee, but it’s okay,” Chen said. “I saw it on the carpet and was like ‘Oh there’s a bee, I should try to get rid of it,’ and then it stung me.”

The TCL Chinese Theater and a portion of Hollywood Boulevard was transformed into a jungle wonderland on Monday for the premiere of the film. The black carpet was surrounded by faux foliage, reminiscent of Kong’s home Skull Island.

Chen, known for her role as Jiang Li in “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” told Variety that she had a fun time playing her character Iwi Queen, who rules over the Iwi tribe that once inhabited the Hollow Earth and Skull Island and communicates telepathically: “I don’t have a lot of lines, it’s just all through like my body language. It was quite a challenge but it’s also a lot of fun to have like a different way to communicate.”

She shared that during the filming process, she practiced her nonverbal communication skills with co-star Kaylee Hottle, who is deaf and fluent in American Sign Language. Chen said Hottle helped her learn how to be more attentive and present in her own communication.

Hottle, who plays Jia, a young Iwi native who bonds with Kong, told Variety that she was grateful to work with cast members from 2021’s “Godzilla vs. Kong” again.

“Of course I felt nervous, but I was also very relieved because they’re so easy to work with and get along with,” Hottle said.

Brian Tyree Henry, who plays technician and whistleblower Bernie Hayes, said he woke up every day during filming not knowing what would be in store. With Godzilla and Kong not added until postproduction, he really had to sell just how colossal the creatures are.

“Scream as long and hard as possible,” Henry said. “Make sure that (audiences) really feel like your life is threatened and make sure that they feel the fear that’s going through you and you know, stretch your neck as much as possible.”

The film follows its precursor with an all-new adventure, where Kong and Godzilla unite against an undiscovered threat hidden within their world. “Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire” delves further into the histories of these Titans and their origins, as well as the mysteries of Skull Island and beyond, while uncovering the mythic battle that helped to forge the beings.

Dan Stevens, who plays Trapper, told Variety that Henry’s screams when they were filming in the jungle and exposed to snakes and bugs were a strong memory for him: “His shrieks of terror will stay with me for a long, long time.”

Adam Wingard at the world premiere of “Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire” held at TCL Chinese Theatre on March 25, 2024 in Los Angeles, California.
Michael Buckner for Variety

Adam Wingard, the director of the film, told Variety that he wanted to see a monster film told from the monster’s point of view since he was a kid, which inspired a large portion of the film.

He said John Carpenter’s “They Live” was another influence for him when directing: “The best scenes in that film are the heroes fighting each other. It’s not a hero versus villain fight,” he said. “It’s two heroes battling each other over sort of a misunderstanding. That was a big inspiration in terms of my approach with Godzilla and Kong because they’re both the good guys, but it’s not going to be easy to get them to get along.”

“Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire” is in theaters now.

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  • Source of information and images “variety “

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