Black joins Watts for ‘King Kong’

Thesp cast to bring great ape to New York

Jack Black has joined Naomi Watts in Peter Jackson’s “King Kong.”

Black will play Carl Denham, the struggling showman and movie producer who captures the great ape on his native Skull Island and then brings him back to New York as a freak show attraction.

Universal Pictures will release “Kong” on Dec. 14, 2005.

Jackson went straight back to New Zealand to start pre-production on “Kong” after “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” picked up 11 Academy Awards.

In a statement, he said, “I’ve been wanting to work with Jack Black ever since I saw him in ‘High Fidelity.’ I have no doubt Jack will make (Carl Denham) a truly memorable character.”

Watts is playing Ann Darrow, the beautiful actress with whom King Kong falls in love.

Black’s perf in “The School of Rock” won the comic a Golden Globe actor nomination. He was also recently honored as the ShoWest 2004 comedy star of the year.

Black co-stars with Ben Stiller in the upcoming “Envy,” from DreamWorks, and will voice a vegetarian great white shark in the studio’s “Shark Tale.”