Seth Gordon Updates King of Kong Remake Status
by Alex Billington
November 17, 2008
Those of you who are either gamers at heart or just love documentaries are probably familiar with a film called The King of Kong. The documentary became a cult hit almost overnight and introduced the world to two truly interesting rivals - Steve Wiebe and Billy Mitchell. When it was announced that New Line was picking up King of Kong for distribution, they also announced that they had already secured the remake rights and were planning a narrative version of the film. Yesterday we talked with Seth Gordon, who directed The King of Kong as well as the upcoming Four Christmases and is set to direct the narrative remake, and got a few updates from him about changes they'll make and the status of the project.
Gordon explained that "from the moment we first thought, people might want to see [the documentary], and therefore we might be seeking a theatrical release, it became clear that a narrative remake for it was what film studios would really be interested in." He adds that because there's no money in documentaries, New Line always had their eyes set on the remake rights. So after New Line picked it up, the first step was to get the documentary transcribed. "That was the first pass of the script in a sense, but then we hired a real writer to come in and take that content and shape scenes." That writer is Michael Bacall, a well-known actor who recently took up screenwriting and also penned Edgar Wright's upcoming Scott Pilgrim.
Those who have seen the doc know that there is already a great story from within the film to pull from, so in essence, not that many changes really needed to be made. "There's going to be less of the talking heads," Gordon says at first. "And we couldn't be everywhere for the making of the documentary, so some stuff had to be done that way. So we'll show the moments we weren't able to be present for, but in terms of the story, it's going to be a very similar story - about Wiebe losing his job, rediscovering Kong, thinking he's the best in the world at something only to have it taken away by a guy who won't let go of his title." Thankfully this all makes sense and it doesn't sound like too much of a departure from the original.
"We're going to try, if we can, to really reference and use the documentary where possible," Gordon adds. "To me it's about not compromising the original, if we can help it." Sounds like this is actually being treated very well - so when will it all finally come together and be given the official greenlight? "They have made a really strong, aggressive commitment to it -- because it's also New Line, they know that all my time has been invested in [Four Christmases]. So I imagine it's something that'll be able to start up again pretty soon." Based on that comment, it sounds like this will be Gordon's next project after he finishes up press for Four Christmases. I can't wait to see who they cast as Steve Wiebe and Billy Mitchell!