Michael Keaton, J.K. Simmons Leave ‘Kong: Skull Island’

Michael Keaton The Founder TWC
David Livingston/Getty

Michael Keaton and J.K. Simmons have exited Legendary-Universal’s “Kong: Skull Island” due to scheduling conflicts.

The King Kong origins movie is set to open on March 10, 2017, and will be released in 3D. The studio and Legendary unveiled “Skull Island” during last year’s Comic-Con. They announced in September that Tom Hiddleston was on board to star, with Jordan Vogt-Roberts directing.

Production is expected to start later this year.

John Gatins (“Flight”) and Max Borenstein (“Godzilla”) wrote the script, about a team of explorers who venture deep inside the primordial island that is King Kong’s home. Legendary has said the story honors the foundations of the King Kong lore created in the iconic 1933 film.

Legendary’s Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni will produc with Alex Garcia and Mary Parent. Eric McLeod is exec producing.

Keaton will be seen next in Thomas McCarthy’s Catholic Church child-abuse drama “Spotlight,” due out  from Open Road in November. He is also starring in “The Founder” as McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc.

Simmons, who won an Oscar for “Whiplash,” has a part in “Terminator: Genisys,” which opens Wednesday. He’s starring in  Gavin O’Connor’s “The Accountant” and Luc Besson’s actioner “The Lake.”

Keaton is repped by ICM Partners and Anonymous Content. Simmons is repped by Gersh.

The news was first reported by Deadline.

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  1. ObserverMI says:

    ‘Scheduling conflicts’
    Yeeea…. ok, sure.

  2. Joe says:

    Both saw the script, knew that was nothing more then a monster movie with no point and exited. Good for them. KOng was always a wimp compared to the King of the Monsters, Godzilla.

  3. Both of them quitting at the same time? Sure..

  4. JE Vizzusi says:

    I expect there are more problems than scheduling. I would not think you as a lead would not split on a unique project like this. For myself… only one Kong (1933) still holds up well. And a concept for a prequel is a great idea. Lets hope they score some veterans that can pull it off!

  5. Mike S. says:

    Did they just realize who wrote the script? I’m surprised they ever signed on. Keaton should go do a Batman sequel with Tim Burton.

  6. R U KIDDING says:

    Tom, two words : BAIL. NOW. Please save yourself.

  7. Helen says:

    Damn, those guys were the main reason I was excited about this one.

  8. Brent says:

    Sad. Two of my favorite actors no longer involved. Oh well. I understand the reasoning.

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