My Favourite Ape
Compared with his work as an Oscar-winning director and the filmmaker behind the most popular trilogy in movie history, Peter Jackson’s first attempt to remake King Kong was by any measure amateurish. Jackson painted the Manhattan skyline on an old bedsheet, constructed the Empire State Building out of cardboard and pinched his mother’s shawl to craft the giant gorilla’s fur. It didn’t look like much, Jackson admits, but then again he was 13 years old. If filming The Lord of the Rings was Jackson’s cinematic passion, remaking King Kong has been a lifelong obsession. For as much resolve as the 43-year-old Jackson exhibited in adapting JRR Tolkien’s books about hobbits and elves, the director has shown even more perseverance in retelling the legendary beauty-and-the-beast story. Jackson essentially owes his career to the original 1933 King Kong: Had he not seen it, he says, he might not have become a filmmaker.