In the newest interview, the Kong: Skull Island crew shared all about the challenges and beauty of filming on location in Vietnam.

Pristine and mysterious beauty of Vietnam was chosen to film Kong Skull Island

Pristine and mysterious beauty of Vietnam was chosen to film Kong Skull Island

It seems that, the monster movie franchise has set it eyes on a brand new filming location and it was Vietnam.

A major blockbuster icon since his first appearance in the cinema in 1933, King Kong has been the inspiration for a great number of remakes, sequels, video games, books and also theme park.

Nevertheless, all movies of the Monster King have their scenes divided between the mysterious island of giant beasts and the city where King Kong unleashes his terror.  There has not been any film maker dare to focus entirely on the dangerous yet strangely captivating Skull Island, not until now.

In this new remake of Kong, audiences will stumble into the Vietnam War on its waning days. The A-list Hollywood cast: Samuel L Jackson, John Goodman, Tom Hiddleston and Brie Larson are now soldiers sent on a discovery to the mythical island where a giant ape reigns.

To further capture audiences in the cinematic Kong’s homeland, director Vogt-Roberts told the journalists that it was incredibly important to employ as much pictures of real locations as possible instead of let special effect “take all the job”.

Vogt-Roberts and his cast and crew had filmed in places famous for scenic beauty such as Hawaii, Australia and Vietnam for over a period of more than six months. In term of visually, it was a striking success, one that set Kong: Skull Island apart from its predecessors.

For the director, the scene in Vietnam was most outstanding.

“I scoured the world. I very specifically didn’t want (the film) to look like Jurassic Park … I wanted it to look fresh,” he explained. “I think audiences go to cinemas to see new things. So I went to a lot of places in Asia. People have shot in Thailand before and it seemed like an easy fit but I was like, ‘No!’ so we kept going around. And then I landed in Vietnam, looked at these landscapes and just fell in love.”

Vietnam – Beautiful and Unspoilt

Said Vogt-Roberts, Vietnam has presented the “perfect aesthetic” for his movie.

“The look of Vietnam is gorgeous and otherworldly at the same time,” he said. “There’s such a raw, powerful and unspoiled beauty that general audiences hadn’t experienced on screen before. There’s a ruggedness and a beauty to a place like Vietnam.”

Even though some Hollywood movies have chosen Vietnam as their filming location before, this was definitely the first time in this country such a large-scale cinema project was taken place. The cast, together with 120 crew members have set their foot on the first site in February last year, on one of Quang Binh’s colossal caves, then to the magnificent Phong Nha National Park, world-renowned Ha Long Bay and other grandiose destinations.

Famous for their unspoilt majestic scenery and marvelous natural landscape, these are just some of the several remote, wild and breath-taking parts of Vietnam that have missed to be shown in both domestic and international movies.

Ninh Binh is one of the natural landscape in Vietnam that appears in the movie

Ninh Binh is one of the natural landscape in Vietnam that appears in the movie

“That’s the reason why we shot there, because you’re trying to find something that is completely untouched and looks unlike anything you’ve seen before. And Vietnam is the answer to that,” said actress Brie Larson, “You can see it in the film. People will have to go visit it. I cannot say enough nice things about Vietnam. It was my first trip there and it will certainly not be my last. Hanoi was absolutely incredible … and Ninh Binh was also beautiful. I tell everyone who wants to go there that (Hanoi) is such a great place to start because there’s so much to do and so much to see.”

The actress had to leave Vietnam to receive her Best Actress Oscar in the Academy Award and then urgently went back with the filming of Kong. In the interview, she said that experience was all about “the little things”.

“They built our trailers from the ground up! They took what I think were old school buses, gutted them completely and put in plumbing and couches. It was amazing!” she exclaimed in recall. “The craftsmanship on those things was amazing. It was just little things. I think they even built roads for our trucks to get to these location because we were so remote.”

Meanwhile, actor John Goodman shared with the journalists a newly discovered “pleasure”  of him – to wander around Hanoi maze-like streets, getting lost on purpose and then struggling for a way back.

“They said we were the first western film to film there, and they were very accommodating to us,” he said “And they wanted us to feel welcomed and they most certainly did that.”

However, as it seems, along with the wonderful experience, filming in Vietnam had its challenges.

Due to the remote location, travelling to the final location took up to two hours on some particular days.

“Some days, we had to get in canoes with little ladies who rode us through the mountains and caves,” actor Samuel L Jackson said with a smile. “But that was kind of fun!”

While for Tom Hiddleston, it was the tough swamp experience that posed difficulty to him: “There’s a swamp that we ran through every day for 10 days which was incredibly cold! And for continuity, we had to get the same amount of ‘wet’ for every one of the 10 days”

But overall, Hiddleston found his experience in Vietnam was most “amazing” and a “privilege”, since the people were so kind at heart and welcoming.

Tom Hiddleston in the shooting of Kong Skull Island

Tom Hiddleston in the shooting of Kong Skull Island

“The topography of where we were … I’ve never seen landscapes like that before,” said the British actor, “It’s our job as actors to imagine we’re living in this desert island and undiscovered wilderness untouched by man. And the fact that we’re in these swamps, out of which arises these towers of rock, makes at least that part of the imagination easier”

“Now all you have to do is put the 100-foot gorilla in there,” he laughed.

Vogt-Roberts expressed his hope that his this remake of King Kong would be the source of inspiration for more people to come to Vietnam

“It’s such a beautiful part of the world. I find that people on that side of the world have that general graciousness that we lack here (in the US). And so I sincerely believe that our film will have a positive impact on tourism, filming, and a general understanding of how stunning and beautiful the country is.”

This may be the reason that despite all the challenges of filming in Vietnam, Vogt-Roberts still insist on his plan of building the cinematic mythical Skull Island on the setting of this land.

He suggested people to behold the Skull Island of Kong then step out to real life, discovering  Vietnam for themselves: “I hope that people will look at this movie the same way they looked at Lord Of The Rings, Middle Earth and New Zealand and ask ‘Where did they shoot that?’”

“I hope they go and explore Vietnam, fall in love with the landscapes, the people, the culture and the food. I hope they explore the rest of Asia as well, because I don’t think a lot of people think to go to these places as much. I want them to fall in love the way that I did.”