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‘Kong: Skull Island’ Director Says Movie Is ‘King Kong’ Meets ‘Apocalypse Now’

With ’70s rock tunes blaring and the dark figure of a life-sized King Kong looming in the background, Wednesday night’s “Kong: Skull Island” L.A. premiere truly felt like “Apocalypse Kong.”

Fans pounded their chests and gave their best King Kong roar outside the Dolby Theatre; stars like Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson posed for photos; but all the while, the colossal ape dominated proceedings, showing that when it comes to monster movies, Kong really is king.

In between zipping back and forth to greet and hug his cast and crew, director Jordan Vogt-Roberts stopped to chat with Variety about the idea behind the giant ape’s latest incarnation.

According to the filmmaker, the movie is a genre mashup of the tragic realism of a Vietnam war movie, mixed with the epic scale and horror of a creature feature.

“We just wanted to make a version of King Kong that people hadn’t seen before. We wanted something fresh and different and weird and crazy, and we loved this idea of a genre-mashup. We wanted it to be “Apocalypse Now” meets “King Kong,” this idea of a Vietnam War movie mixed with a creature feature,” Vogt-Roberts explained.

The director feels that the events and social upheavals of Vietnam-war America parallel the “tough times” that the country is currently facing.

“Look at the problems in the world today, list the problems now and the problems then in the late ’60s, early ’70s. Racial riots, political scandals, distrust of the government, sexual revolutions, oil, military industrial complex, the comparisons go on and on,” Vogt-Roberts said. “It’s this incredible black mirror of a time in which people got through something difficult before, and showing them how we can get through it now.”

Among the chaos of the carpet and screaming fans, tired stars like John Goodman understandably stopped to take a break. At one point the actor leaned on part of the scaffolding holding up one of the giant letters that spelled Kong. The film’s lead female star Brie Larson also brought calm to the scene, stopping to discuss how her character is stronger than the damsel-in-distress style roles that women have previously played in “King Kong” movies.

On International Women’s Day, Larson shared how acting has allowed her to become a stronger person.

“The thing that I love about my job is that it puts me in positions every day where I have to grow as a woman, moments where I have to speak up for myself. For a film like ‘Kong,’ I have to push myself to the limit every day. Learning how strong I am has been one of the greatest experiences of my life,” Larson said.

Most of the film’s stellar supporting cast, including Jackson, Jason Mitchell, Corey Hawkins, and Toby Kebbell, also joined in with the fun to promote the Warner Bros. picture which comes out Friday, March 10.

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