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King Kong
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King Kong


CLOSE ON A grotesque face ... eyes bulging, tongue wedged between teeth.

PULL OUT from the bizarre STONE CARVING of a man riding a buffalo as the side of a WOODEN PACKING CASE swings shut, sealing the ancient figure into a tea chest marked "BRITISH MUSEUM, LONDON". A couple of SUMATRAN LABORERS hammer nails into the chest ... CRANE UP to reveal an extensive ARCHAEOLOGICAL EXCAVATION underway in the foothills of the Bukit Seguntang mountains near Palembang.



The dig is nestled in a lush, humid valley. A spectacular WATERFALL thunders into a river that bisects the camp - a GROUP OF TENTS, with a UNION JACK fluttering from a makeshift flagpole. 8 BRITISH ARCHAEOLOGISTS are spread around, huddling over shell pits and primitive stone monuments - painstakingly freeing the remains of a 12th century HINDU SHRINE from the grip of the Sumatran jungle.

The most spectacular MONUMENT is a huge loft STONE BUDDHA, set into a shallow cave below a rocky cliff. It sits serenely, casting an impassive gaze over the entire site.

Numerous SAMUTRAN LABOUR'S move about, carrying buckets of dirt away from individual dig sites, CLOSE ON A YOUNG WOMAN'S HANDS excitedly scraping mud from a buried artifact she has just discovered - a small BRONZE STATUE of a warrior in a FIERCE WAR MASK ...Pitted with age, one arm broken off, it carries a SPEAR made from IVORY.

ANN DARROW is an attractive young English woman in her early twenties. She wears baggy khaki trousers and a cotton shirt, her blonde hair tied back in a pony tail. She issues orders to MENTAWEI - a SUMATRAN LABORER.

ANN Mentawei! Fetch some warm soapy water.

MENTAWEI Yes, Miss Darrow!

MENTAWEI races away. ANN marvels at her find as she gently frees it from the mud ... A SHADOW looms over her, and she quickly stands up, her confidence suddenly draining ...

LORD LINWOOD DARROW is in his late seventies, but still cuts a dashing figure. His only apparent concession to age - a stout WALKING STICK.

LORD DARROW What have you got there?

ANN (nervous) A Neolithic bronze ... Reminiscent of the Nias Island cultures ... It ' s very curious. Defiantly Pagan. The use of ivory for the spear is quite unique ... What do you think?

LORD DARROW I think you're trying to run before you can walk, Ann.

ANN'S FACE drops ... LORD DARROW takes the STATUE and gently leads her away from the site.

LORD DARROW (CONT'D) You're here merely to observe. Leave the digging to people who know what they're doing, my dear.

They approach an elaborate STONE PILLAR, carved. Intricately

LORD DARROW (CONT'D) Now look at this fine example of early Hindu art ... I don't recall any sketches of this passing across my desk ...

ANN I photographed it extensively, father.

LORD DARROW Photography teaches you nothing, Ann! Click! One second and you've seen all you're going to see. I want you sitting here with your paper and pencils ... I want to see every chisel mark reproduced with painstaking accuracy. Understand the carving and you will understand the people! That Ann, is the key to archaeology.

LORD DARROW walks away, leaving ANN scowling at the statue.


CLOSE ON ANN'S discovery viewed through a MAGNIFYING GLASS ... WALTER DOUGLAS, a BRITISH archaeologist, slowly scans the small figure. LORD DARROW stands beside him, a PERPLEXED FROWN on his face.

LORD DARROW (CONT'D) It makes no sense, Dougie ... Pagan artifacts below a Hindu site.

DOUGLAS It's like all the others ... it's human bone.

DOUGLAS carefully places the STATUE on a linen covered table ... MARY OTHER SMALL ARTIFACTS - clearly the work of the same culture - cover the table. All are BRONZE, and all have BONE accessories.

DOUGLAS (CONT'D) My guess is it's sacrificial. Some sort of offering.

LORD DARROW An unknown culture ... A barbaric race with no regard for human life.



PALEMBANG DOCKS - a crowded series of wharves where NATIVE OUTRIGGERS and FISHING BOATS compete for space with rusting COASTAL TRADERS ...

Amongst the junk that litters the harbor - an old AVRO SEAPLANE ... beached on the muddy banks, canvas ripped, wings broken.

A LARGE Tramp STEAMER - "THE VENTURE", glides towards the DOCK, blasting it's horn at the crowd of NATIVE BOATS crossing it's path.


POV from "THE VENTURE" of PALEMBANG HARBOR. PULL BACK to reveal a CAMERA CREW shooting the sight from the bow of the ship. The CAMERAMAN is HERB COOPER - middle aged, steadfastly loyal, walks with a pronounced LIMP. The SOUND RECORDIST is RANDELL PEEK - unpleasant, ratty faced, potential trouble maker. Their EQUIPMENT BOXES are STENCILED with "CARL DENHAM PICTURES".

CAPTAIN ENGLEHORN, a dry, old school SKIPPER steers the ship in.

PEEK switches his TAPE RECORDER off ... removes his HEADPHONES.

PEEK Another God-forsaken Chinese rat-hole.

KURT VOSS is wandering past, reading an INDONESIAN/ENGLISH TRANSLATION BOOK. KURT is an IMMENSELY STRONG ship's MATE ... BRUTISH LOOKING and basically SLOW WITTED, the kind of guy who moves his lips when he reads ... he has a love of classical music.

KURT "Hai sahabatku yang baik" ... That means "Hello, my good friend".


PEEK That means "Piss off".


ENGLEHORN (yelling) Secure the moorings!



A group of TEN SUMATRAN OFFICIALS are waiting nervously on the docks as the GANGPLANK is secured. PEEK is the first off, followed by HERB, staggering under the weight of the camera and tripod.

MR SELAMAT GINTING, the local DISTRICT COMMISSIONER, steps forward, thrusting a GARLAND FLOWERS around PEEK'S neck ... A TIN-POT BAND strikes up an Out OF TUNE version of "DIXIE".

MR GINTING (carefully practiced) We welcome you, Mr Denham! We celebrate the bonding of our cultures ... the peoples of Sumatra unite in friendship with the peoples of Hollywoodland!

PEEK hands the GARLAND back.

PEEK Save it buddy - you've got the wrong guy -

DENHAM (O.S.) Roll camera, roll sound! I'm coming ashore!

DENHAM is a showman, a larger than life character - part Orson Welles, part John Huston - a man in love with his own legend. He has reputation for traveling to the most dangerous corners of the world, producing exotic documentaries. These thrilled audiences in the days before TV with their images of elephant stampedes and lions hunting. DENHAM is overweight, has no taste in wardrobe and sweats profusely.

MR GINTING puts the GARLAND over DENHAM'S head.

MR GINTING We welcome you, Mr Denham! We celebrate the bonding -

DENHAM pumps MR GINTING'S HAND enthusiastically, steering around to face the CAMERA

DENHAM (interrupts) Hi, Carl Denham ... How's going. Wonderful to be here...

DENHAM moves off down the line of OFFICIALS, shaking hands, not pausing for their names, and always playing the camera...

DENHAM (CONT'D) Pleased to meet you ... Hi, bow's it going? Pleased to meet you! Hi, Carl Denham ... How's it going?

MR GINTING We offer ourselves at your service, Mr Denham!

DENHAM And I appreciate that so much, I really do - a sentiment that will be shared by audiences across America when they view my latest documentary sensation "Indonesia ...Hell Hole of the World". Ernie Hemmingway's agreed to write the narration. We're going out through Universal ... Laemmale's promised me fifteen hundred screens.

MR GINTING nods politely ...

SOUND OF LOUD TRUCK HORN ... A TRUCK, fully laden with SAWN LOGS is trying to drive onto the WHARF. "Dixie" falls apart as the BAND grab their instruments and SCATTER.

The TRUCK reaches the DENHAM and the RECEPTION GROUP ...

JACK DRISCOLL leans out of the CAB.

JACK You guys are gonna have to move!

JACK is now in his early thirties ... He has not lost his boyish looks, but years of tropical sun has darkened his skin.

The OFFICIALS look FLUSTERED ... JACK leaps out of the cab ... STRIDES OVER. He gestures towards a CARGO BARGE moored next to the "VENTURE".

JACK (CONT'D) If I don't get my cargo on this ship, I'll miss the sailing.

HERB'S VIEWFINDER POV ... JACK walks into shot.

DENHAM (annoyed) Hey buddy! I don't know who you think you are, but you just walked into a Carl Denham Picture! Take a hike!

JACK sees the camera pointing at him.

JACK What the hell is going on?

MR GINTING (Insincere) It's Hollywood!

JACK Yeah? Well, see that?

He points at his heavily laden truck ...

JACK (CONT'D) That's "Jack's Wood" - and it's going on that boat!

JACK jumps back into the CAB, and drives straight at the OFFICIALS, sending the reception into CHAOS ... HERB has to quickly pull the CAMERA and TRIPOD away - DENHAM looks FURIOUS! MR GINTING hurries over - looking SICK with FEAR and EMBARRASSMENT.

MR GINTING (distraught) I so sorry! I so sorry!

DENHAM spins around ... his mood so black, he looks as if he might hit MR GINTING ... He suddenly breaks into a CHARMING SMILE!

DENHAM It is I who has to apologize, sir. It's people like him who give Americans a bad name.

MR GINTING almost sobs with relief.

MR GINTING You are most kind. We will be proud to assist you!

DENHAM Exotic lands, primitive people, dangerous animals ... That's what the public expect from a Carl Denham picture! Lead us into the mountains, Sir!

MR GINTING The mountains?

DENHAM puts an arm around MR GINTING'S shoulder.

DENHAM Shut your eyes - let me paint a picture in your mind ...

MR GINTING squeezes his eyes shut.

DENHAM (CONT'D) Our cameras are focused on the deepest Sumatran jungle. Steam rises from the verdant foliage... Suddenly a jackdaw screams! Why? ... Because the Beast is moving through the trees! Eyes blazing, insisors dripping, the Beast knows no fear - for he is the most powerful creature to walk the land! (lowers voice ominously) You know what I'm talking about don't you, Mr Ginting?



m o v i e f a n s . d e

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"King Kong"
Screenplay by
Fran Walsh & Peter Jackson
From an idea conceived by
Edgar Wallace & Merian C. Cooper
1st Draft
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