A new attempt by Universal to revive their King Kong franchise has hit a bit of a snag, as two of the upcoming film’s stars have left the project.
According to Deadline, Michael Keaton and J.K. Simmons had to leave the Legendary Pictures and Universal co-production Kong: Skull Island due to scheduling conflicts. After reportedly pushing the start date of the production back from the fall to the end of the year, Keaton and Simmons had other commitments already in place for that time frame. The film still has its star, Tom Hiddletson (Thor, The Avengers) in place, however. This means that Legendary has to find two replacements quickly for the actors that got significant attention at the Oscars due to their performances in Birdman and Whiplash, respectively.
Kong: Skull Island is reportedly a prequel film set before the major events of King Kong, but it is not connected to Peter Jackson’s 2005 remake of the original 1933 classic. In an interview with MTV at the beginning of the year, Simmons stated that the film had a Detroit setting in the year 1971, which is a far cry from the setting of the main story in both the original film and the 2005 remake. This could indicate future plans that Universal and Legendary have for the franchise, as Universal is also constructing a major new Kong-themed attraction, “Skull Island: Reign of Kong,” at their Islands of Adventure theme park at the Universal Orlando Resort.
Universal Pictures has promised that the new film will immerse audiences very effectively in the home of the titular ape, looking toward this as a reboot of the entire King Kong franchise. Universal is starting to rely more upon their catalog of franchises, including creating a shared universe around reboots of their classic monsters properties, as well as the recent mammoth success that was Jurassic World.
Kong: Skull Island is slated for release on March 10th, 2017. For more on the film as it develops, keep it locked on GeekNation!
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