The 2014 Godzilla reboot has brought the King of the Monsters back to the pop culture forefront, but that other giant city-stomping creature - namely, King Kong - is attempting a comeback of his own. The iconic gorilla has laid dormant for a full decade, ever since director Peter Jackson brought his version of Kong's story to the screen as a three-hour epic in 2005.
Legendary Pictures' Kong: Skull Island aims to bring the franchise back when it hits theaters in 2017. However, the project recently suffered a setback when both Michael Keaton and J.K. Simmons stepped down as cast members due to scheduling conflicts (likely resulting from Skull Island having been pushed back from a late 2016 to early 2017 release).
The Wrap is reporting that Russell Crowe may be in line to join the cast of Kong: Skull Island. Presumably, he would serve as a replacement for either Keaton or Simmons, though the report didn't specify which role he would take on. It's worth noting that Crowe is awaiting the latest draft of the script, and his involvement is by no means a foregone conclusion just yet.
Meanwhile, THR's Borys Kit has revealed (via his Twitter account) that Brie Larson is in negotiations to join the Skull Island cast as the female lead. Larson can currently be seen in the Amy Schumer comedy Trainwreck, but she has a fair amount of experience in indie dramas (Short Term 12) and big-budget Hollywood spectacle (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) from the past year fives. In Skull Island, she would star opposite leading man Tom Hiddleston.
If Crowe joins, Skull Island will be his first franchise project since his appearance as Jor-El in Man of Steel. However, in the case of Larson, Kong: Skull Island has the potential to really boost her profile as a bankable big-screen star. Thus far, she has yet to really break out in major studio films, despite major roles in movies like 21 Jump Street and The Gambler. After all, all it takes is one leading role in a Hollywood blockbuster to change everything (just ask Chris Pratt).
Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts (Kings of Summer) is clearly courting a number of high-caliber actors for Kong: Skull Island, which is written by John Gatins (Flight) and Max Borenstein (the 2014 Godzilla). Set in the 1970s, it will delve into Kong's origins and is expected to largely take place on his island home, also traditionally inhabited by dinosaurs and assorted other exotic creatures. Kong: Skull Island was previously expected to begin filming by Fall 2015, but with the recent cast shake-up, production might be getting started until early 2016. We'll keep you posted.
Kong: Skull Island will opens in U.S. theaters on March 10, 2017.