After arriving in Ninh Binh (on 26 February), the film crew Kong: Skull Island started to work immediately on the next morning. According to executive producer, Alex Garcia, Ninh Binh is not only the most important scene in Vietnam but it is also as vital as that in Hawaii (USA) and Australia.
The working area of Hollywood film crew situates 200 meters close to the Trang An marina, and is divided into two areas – the main camp and a separated studio inside the valley. The main camp is about one square kilometer, contains more than 100 vans and trucks. This is where video recording equipment, tools, makeup and costumes are stored. This is also the place where the film crew work and stay.
From early morning, people in each department gather and embark on working schedule set up from the previous day. The kitchen staff starts their jobs early and works hard to ensure the health of the crew. Ms. Jen Conroy, nutrition experts of the crew, said that there were 800 sets of meals every day for the group, she had set up the plan upon their arrival in Vietnam. “After arriving in Vietnam, I investigated and confirmed with local colleagues about foods for the film crew. The menu with varied foods suitable for Vietnamese, European and American was scheduled at the beginning of the week” said Jen Conroy.
3 divisions of makeup, hairdressing and costume closely coordinate and start working in the very early of the day. As the mobile studios, the working rooms of these three groups are located in the van. They were put together to facilitate the processes and to take place sequentially. Every day, before the filming, the actors will be in makeup, hairdressing and costume changes. The stars of the film such as Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Hiddleston and Brie Larson usually take three to five hours to disguise.
In two rooms of hairdressing and disguise, apart from the basic props for makeup, there are a range of images attached with names of actors on the top of each mirror. The image of characters has some specific details to identify.
Due to the big size of the film, the studio has three large rooms containing costumes. Each of them is numbered and is specified a list of characters’ costumes. Each of them contains hundreds clothes and name tags of characters in the film. After being used, costumes are washed and are returned to the right place in the warehouse.
The studio locates in isolated valleys surrounded by a river and undulating mountains. It was made into an aboriginal village which had about over 20 bamboo roofs. Many purple flags were scattered around the village.
With large-scale (more than 400 members), each small parts work independently, professionally, which makes work run smoothly.
The designing crew includes both Vietnamese and American working meticulously to create a series of unique props ranging from small to giant for the film as well as the requirements in the context of the script. The Vietnamese designing team was highly appreciated by the Executive Producer Alex Garcia due to their creativity and flexibility. The members communicate fluently in English and Vietnamese via walkie-talkie.
In the video recording area, everything runs smoothly and the members absolutely obey the rule of keeping order. There is the present of hundreds of people in the scene but only director, producer, actors and designing member are in charge of this scene will be allowed to approach. Those who prepare for staging and assistants gather at a place which is 200 meters far from the shooting location. Whenever a double-rotation starts or finishes, there is a signal to let teams of the cream know and keep silence.
The scene on February 27 in Ninh Binh saw the participation of the veteran actor, Samuel L. Jackson. He transformed into a soldier carrying M16 rifles and was under siege. This movie star acted wholeheartedly and it took only 2 times for each doubled rotary recording. He showed his poise, natural, spiritual and professional acting style as well as his relaxed moods and friendliness with other people. This is the last working day of Samuel L. Jackson in Vietnam. Brie Larson and Tom Hiddleston will return to Vietnam and played their scenes.
Leading the film, the film director Jordan Vogt-Jordan is friendly, but also very strict. He carefully worked in every doubled rotation. Before each double, he directed the actors how to perform, and then sit in front of television sets to watch the scene.
The average duration of the actors in each video recording is 30 minutes. Even when the sun rises, the members of crew still happily work in order although the heel of many members was covered with mud in the valley. When resting, they enjoyed snacks.
During the nap, the director Jordan Vogt-Roberts said: “After 1 week working in Vietnam, my excited feeling did not drop. I am happy as I have finally taken my colleagues to Vietnam and have got the chance to admire the overwhelmed beauty. Certainly Vietnam will be very different in the film. ”
To encourage viewers to wait for the launch of the film, he said to the camera “Tôi yêu Viet Nam” (I love Vietnam).