EDITORS NOTE: Story (SDCC14: Legendary Pictures Unleashes a Hugh Surprise on Hall H) updated from 1/26/14. Update Below.
Legendary Pictures used to be tied to the superhero movie boom but lately they’ve been shepherding movies about big damn monsters (among other things) into theaters with good but not earth shattering results, though it seems clear that, in doubling down with the Godzilla and Pac Rim sequels, their aim is to win audiences over with both the largess of these films and their persistence.
Enter Skull Island, a film based on the mythical island home of King Kong and a complete surprise to the assembled crowd in Hall H and the press when Legendary ran a quick teaser promoting the project.
Here’s SlashFilm’s description of the clip:
The clip started showing a rain storm pouring down over big waves in the ocean. Audio narration included lines from the Heart of Darkness: “Going up that river was like traveling back to the beginning of the world, when the plants ran wild and the trees were kings.” Shots of an island, lush jungle, monkeys and creatures … “Being alone in the wilderness, it had looked within itself, and by heavens! I tell you, it had gone mad. We penetrated deeper and deeper into the heart of darkness.” We see a cave on the island shaped like a skull. Reveal of the logo Legendary’s “Skull Island”
So, what is Skull Island? At this point, we don’t know much. This film doesn’t have an announced writer or director and certainly not a cast; and we don’t even know if it is a prequel or sequel to Peter Jackson’s King Kong film (a dreadful affair whose best parts actually occurred on Skull Island), or if it’s even connected to that film at all. Will Kong even be a big part of this? Again, we have no idea, but what we do know is that there is potential here, not for the fanish notion of franchise crossovers between Legendary’s developing mega-monsterverse (though, I suppose anything is possible), but for another Jurassic Park-like franchise that can put adventurers in a strange place with massive and strange creatures and ride that appeal to box office success. To meet that potential, though, Legendary is going to have to find the right people, create compelling characters and put in the money to bring this world to life in a way that looks unquestionably real. This will be a challenge, but it could be really cool if they can pull it off.
Deadline is reporting that they are hearing that Joe Cornish has been offered the chance to direct Skull Island. They also point out that he has been offered a lot of big things previously, which is no big surprise. You may know Cornish from Attack the Block. He was also Edgar Wright’s co-writer on Ant-Man, so thus far, his experiences working on big budget projects seem to be totes positive. I like Attack the Block a bit, I think Skull Island can be cool, but I hope Cornish goes to make something big and unique, as opposed to signing up to work in someone else’s sandbox.