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Peter Jackson's 1st Draft King Kong Script (1996)

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Author Topic: Peter Jackson's 1st Draft King Kong Script (1996)  (Read 686 times)
Stacy Dohm
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« on: August 25, 2007, 11:22:23 pm »

DENHAM leads the way onto the deck, followed by JACK and ANN ... ALL
THREE STARE IN AWE ...

WIDE SHOT The "VENTURE" sits on a FLAT SEA, DWARFED by nearly vertical
TOWERING WALT. OF FOG ... It rises hundreds of feet into the air, lit
by an EERIE MOONLIGHT.

INT. BRIDGE - NIGHT

CLOSE ON ENGLEHORN knocks back a GLASS OF SCOTCH. He sits alone in the
BRIDGE ... the ship has stopped, the wheel abandoned.

DENHAM, ANN and JACK race into the BRIDGE.

ENGLEHORN
I can take you no further, Denham.

Is trembling with fear. KURT arrives on the BRIDGE.

DENHAM
Kurt! Take her into the fog. Nice and slowly.

KIURT pushes the lever to "Slow Ahead" and MANS THE WHEEL as the
"VENTURE" starts to crawl towards the fog.

ENGLEHORN downs ANOTHER SCOTCH.

ENGLEHORN
Seven years ago I picked up a castaway - the skipper of a Norwegian
barque.

The GROUP listen to ENGLEHORN in SILENCE.

ENGLEHORN (CONT'D)
I have never seen a man so mentally ravaged. He had gone blind, not
through any injury -but because his mind could no longer deal with the
terrible sights he had witnessed. I sat with him during his last night
on earth, listening to his fevered whisperings. He spoke of sailing
into a thick fog and of running aground on an uncharted island. He
spoke of a huge wall, built by a long forgotten civilization and of a
creature - neither man nor beast - that lived behind that wall.  Of the
thirty crewmen who made it ashore, he was the only one who looked into
the eyes of the Beast and survived.

ANN instinctively grasps JACK'S HAND.

ENGLEHORN (CONT'D)
If we sail into that fog, it will be the death of us all.

LOW ANGLE DENHAM - the WINDOWS of the bridge behind him.

ENGLEHORN (CONT'D)
I'm not a man who easily succumbs to fear, Captain Englehorn.

As DENHAM talks, the FOG swirls over the WINDOWS, encapsulating the
"VENTURE" in a MILKY SHROUD.

CUT TO

EXT. FOG BANK - NIGHT

The "VENTURE" glides silently through the fog.

EXT. VENTURE DECKS - NIGHT

MONTAGE ... TENSE FACES ANN ... JACK ... DENHAM ...ENGLEHORN. Nobody
talks, just stares ahead into the gloom ... CREW line the front of the
boat, looking for rocks ... The PROPELLERS push the ship forward ...The
PROW cuts through the water.

ANN
There's a light up ahead.

JACK
Sun's coming up ...
(checks watch)
We've been in the fog for six hours.

The FOG now glows a SICKLY YELLOW as the "VENTURE" glides on.

EXT. UNDERWATER - DAWN

The "VENTURE'S" HULL scraps against a CORAL OUTCROP.

EXT. VENTURE DECKS - DAWN

A SAILOR calls from the prow ...

SAILOR
(yelling)
Eight fathoms!

KURT is manning the wheel ... he glances at DENHAM, who is staring
intently ahead.

DENHAM
Hold her steady ...

ANN GASPS!

The FOG is suddenly clearing ... within seconds the spectacular sight
of S ISLAND materializes in front of them! ... About 7 miles long by 1
mile wide, STEEP CLIFFS rising from the sea, DENSE JUNGLE growth across
it's interior. The island has several JAGGED RIDGES, dominated by a
tall, sheer MOUNTAIN at the far end.

ANN is looking through BINOCULARS.

ANN
(exited)
I can see the wall!

JACK takes the BINOCULARS ...

BINOCULAR POV At the closest end, the island forms a NARROW PENINSULA
... jutting above the canopy of TREES, JACK can make out the top of a
HUGE STONE WALL., seemingly cutting the peninsula off from the rest of
the island. OTHER RUINS are visible ... At the foot of the peninsula is
a SANDY BEACH, the only visible LANDING SITE.

DENHAM has been conspicuously SILENT ... he is leaning against the
rail, ENTRANCED by the island.

CLOSE ON DENHAM.

DENHAM
(quietly)
We've hit paydirt ...

CUT TO

EXT. SKULL ISLAND -- DAY

Of the LONGBOATS is rowing towards the island. DENHAM, JACK, ANN,
ENGLEHORN, KURT, HERB, PEEK and TWO SAILORS are on board. With the
exception of ANN, JACK and HERB, everybody carries RIFLES. The
"VENTURE" is moored in the background. HERB is FILMING from the prow.

They row through jagged rocks ... past the WRECK of a wooden coastal
schooner - possibly the NORWEGIAN BARQUE, ENGLEHORN referred to. The
SKELETAL SHIP is a creepy sight - particularly the row of STRANGE BIRD-
LIKE CREATURES perched along a rotten mainspar.

The BOAT rounds an OUTCROP of rocks, and lines up for the shore ... An
EERIE PHENOMENA suddenly occurs - The distant MOUNTAIN, a mid range
RIDGE LINE and foreground ROCKS all line up - providing an abstract,
but distinct image of a HUMAN SKULL ... visible only from that one
position.

ANN
(captivated)
Skull Island ...

CUT TO

EXT. BEACH - DAY

The BOAT is washed onto the beach. HERB jumps out, CAMERA & TRIPOD on
his shoulder. KURT jostles PEEK who is struggling with his TAPE
RECORDER.

PEEK
(angry)
Watch the tape recorder! You wanna buy me a new one?

DENHAM
Let me go first ... Roll camera!

HERB films as DENHAM wades ashore, playing to the camera.

DENHAM (CONT'D)
(to cameras)
This is a historic moment as Carl Denham becomes the first white man to
set foot on virgin soil!

ANN bounds excitedly up the beach.

ANN
Look!

Runs towards the edge of the JUNGLE ... STONE STRUCTURES become
visible, half buried in VINE STREWN JUNGLE. The style of stonework is
unusual - As advanced as the INCAS or EGYPTIANS, but with flowing
GAUDI-like lines and the strange mixture of STONE, BRONZE and BONE seen
earlier.

ANN heads towards an ARCHWAY, set into a cliff. It is clearly the
ENTRANCE to a tunnel. She is so excited, like a little girl at a picnic
... JACK realizes she's unstoppable and runs after her, calling back to
the others.

JACK
Everybody stay close!

KURT and PEEK follow JACK, but DENHAM no intention of compromising his
film.

DENHAM
Get a shot of me discovering the ruins, Herb!

HERB sets up.

INT. TUNNEL/CRYPT - DAY

ANN is leading JACK, KURT and PEEK into the tunnel. It is man-made, and
ORNATELY DECORATED. LIGHT FILTERS in through cracks in the roof and
occasional areas where STONES have fallen in.

The TUNNEL suddenly widens out to a large CHAMBER ... The GROUP
collectively GASP at the sight of over a hundred MUMMIES lining the
walls! They are all neatly arranged in alcoves and are dressed in some
kind of CEREMONIAL clothing ... A HUGE STATUE of KONG stands sentry at
the far end of the chamber - which clearly carries on through another
archway. The place has the atmosphere of a Cathedral.

ANN picks up a SMALL. BRONZE FIGURINE of KONG ...

ANN
(exited)
It's the same image - Kong!

JACK
Leave it, Ann.

OLD DRIED FLOWERS adorn the MUMMIES, arranged in garlands ... JACK
frowns as he approaches one MUMMY, decorated with BRIGHTER THAN USUAL
flowers ... he touches them.

JACK (CONT'D)
These are fresh ...

EXT. BEACH/JUNGLE - DAY

DENHAM is onto his third take of a shot which involves him pulling
vines away from a statue and reacting in terribly theatrical manner.

HERB'S VIEWFINDER POV DENHAM pulls vines away and REACTS ... he
suddenly looks past CAMERA and REACTS with GENUINE ALARM as SPEARS
enter HERB'S SHOT! They are pointing at DENHAM.

CLOSE ON HERB, his eye to the eyepiece as we sense FIGURES gathering
BEHIND HIM.

DENHAM
(tense)
Keep rolling, Herb.

ENGLEHORN and the TWO SAILORS close in behind DENHAM, RIFLES at the
ready.

WIDER A steadily increasing GROUP of SKULL ISLAND NATIVES are emerging
from the thick undergrowth between the ruins. DENHAM'S EYES flick left
and right as he becomes aware that his small party is becoming
surrounded.

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"All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream." - Edgar Allen Poe
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