How Tom Hiddleston Acted Opposite an Ape That Wasn’t There in Kong: Skull Island
Some stars can be so temperamental.
Take the headliner from “Kong: Skull Island,” who only did his work long after his costars left the set.
Of course, the fact this 100-foot-tall ape had to be computer generated had a lot — well, everything — to do with it, but still the other actors had to adjust.
“Six months it took to film this in three locations in Hawaii, Australia and Vietnam, and every day my professional requirement is to imagine there are things that I am looking at that don’t exist,” says “Skull Island” star Tom Hiddleston. “It’s like playing tennis with only half a tennis court, and finally, when you see the finished film, they have put the second half of the tennis court in, and Kong is returning service.”
Tom Hiddleston Didn’t See Kong Until Screening the Finished Kong: Skull Island
Hiddleston tells Made in Hollywood reporter Patrick Stinson the wait was worth it. When he finally saw the big guy on screen, “It is quite something. It’s really amazing.”
Hiddleston’s enthusiasm for the project developed early — he signed on for “Skull Island” before the script was finished.
“There was a story and a character and this idea of setting it in the 70s, and they asked me to play this action hero,” he says. “First of all, I’ve never been asked to play an action hero. Second of all, I’m being asked to play an action hero in a King Kong movie. This is a great day.”
Tom Hiddleston on His Disillusioned Character in Kong: Skull Island
As Capt. James Conrad, Hiddleston plays a disillusioned British special forces soldier with an expertise in jungle survival and the recovery of lost soldiers.
“He’s seen a lot of action in war and probably come face to face with some unimaginable horror,” the actors says. “When we meet him at the beginning of the film he’s kind of lost. He’s lost his sense of of purpose and he takes a commission to join this expedition to the island, but with really no sense of what awaits him there. I love the journey of the character, that he starts in a quite complex cynical place but the island awakens a humility in him, that he’s a actually inspired by it, and it gives him a sense of wonder again that perhaps he had lost before.”
Shooting “Skull Island” instilled a different kind of wonder in Hiddleston.
“Obviously Kong doesn’t show up for work, but the production was massive,” he says — so big that one scene had Hiddleston perched high atop a crow’s nest with costar John Goodman while a helicopter buzzed by with the camera.
“The helicopter was doing laps around the airfield and getting so close to me as almost like giving me a little haircut,” Hiddleston says. “That’s when you know you’re in a big movie, when the camera is not just on a tripod, it’s actually on the front of a helicopter and it’s doing laps around your body.”