Last August, it was reported that British actor Toby Kebbell, who won rave reviews for portraying the nefarious ape Koba in the 2014 blockbuster Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, had signed on for a role in Warner Bros.’ Kong: Skull Island. Speculation began almost immediately that the actor was cast to portray King Kong himself through motion capture, but that was never confirmed nor denied by the studio. As it turns out, the rumor was actually half-true, with the actor shedding new light on his role while promoting his upcoming video game adaptation Warcraft.
During an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Toby Kebbell revealed that his primary role in the film is playing Chapman, an Air Force major who is largely seen working alongside Samuel L. Jackson‘s character. However, the actor did admit in this interview that he provided some “facial references” for King Kong, who will primarily be played by Terry Notary, an actor, stunt coordinator, and motion capture expert who worked with Kebbell on Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Here’s what Toby Kebbell had to say in this new interview about playing the giant ape.
“I gave some facial reference – certain subtleties, certain looks. Terry and I worked on stuff together and created what Kong needed. I think it’s just an assumption because I’ve done motion capture. I think people kept pitching [the rumors] out as well, so that someone has to come forward. I was just there as backup for pieces that Terry really wanted to get details on. It’s a real honor to be asked by someone who’s a great performer, to come and help support their performance. It becomes a symbiotic thing, and it’s more like buddies asking each other to help. If we were mechanics and he was having a problem with his sprocket set, it’s more like he borrowed my sprocket set than me playing King Kong.”
Just a month after Toby Kebbell was cast, it was confirmed that Kong: Skull Island will actually help set up an even bigger movie that brings two franchise heavyweights together in Godzilla Vs Kong. Warner Bros. recently set a May 29, 2020 release date for this highly-anticipated movie, with Godzilla 2 set to hit theaters on March 22, 2019. Very little is known about Godzilla vs Kong at this point, or if any of the Kong: Skull Island cast members such as Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson, John Goodman, Tian Jing, Corey Antonio Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, John Ortiz or Shea Whigham will come aboard for this project.
Jordan Vogt-Roberts is directing Kong: Skull Island from a script by John Gatins (Real Steel), with Gareth Edwards directing Godzilla 2 from a script by Derek Connolly (Jurassic World). It isn’t known if any of these filmmakers will collaborate on Godzilla vs. King Kong, or if Warner Bros. plans on bringing new filmmakers in. We’ll continue to keep you posted on Kong: Skull Island, Godzilla vs. Kong and Godzilla 2 as soon as we have more updates.