Last August, Toby Kebbell came aboard for an unspecified role in Kong: Skull Island. Since the actor was coming off critical raves for his motion capture performance as the ape Koba in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, speculation started to rise that he was actually playing King Kong in the movie. Back in May, the actor spoke with Entertainment Weekly, where he admitted that he provided facial references for King Kong, but the massive ape himself will be portrayed through motion capture by Terry Notary, an actor, stunt coordinator, and motion capture expert who worked with Kebbell on Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. However, that may not be the case anymore.
During the May interview, Toby Kebbell confirmed that he plays Major Chapman, who is largely seen alongside Samuel L. Jackson's character. Over the weekend, we spoke with Toby Kebbell while he was promoting his new epic remake Ben-Hur, which hits theaters on August 19. During our chat, the talk turned to Kong: Skull Island, where I mentioned his earlier interview where he had to shut down those King Kong rumors. Take a look at his cryptic response below, before he talks about how much he loved working with Samuel L. Jackson.
"I did, yeah, put them down. It's a tricky one. I think... time will tell who's playing Kong, but, for the time being, I've been asked to promote playing Major Chapman. Jack Chapman is my character, and he's the sidekick of Sam Jackson's character. It was... I tell you, man, I'm sure people go on about, 'Oh, Sam does this...' You don't know who Sam Jackson is. Sam Jackson doesn't play the same person... he doesn't play himself, first of all. He's one of the most hilarious, good-natured, most well-read people. And I'm talking about next to Rhys Ifans and my uncle David and my brother James. He is so articulate and so well-read. It's a pleasure to spend any time with him. I wish Sam was my best friend. I wish I could call Sam up and go, 'What's up? How are you doing?' He's a dream come true."
The fact that he's been "asked to promote" Major Chapman could mean that his character could be used as a smokescreen, to cover up the fact that he's actually portraying Chapman and King Kong at the same time. It wouldn't be terribly surprising, since, just a few months ago, he turned in another critically-acclaimed motion capture performance as the massive Orc Durotan in Duncan Jones' Warcraft. Still, as far as we know for sure, Terry Notary is portraying King Kong, but we'll have to wait and see if that changes anytime soon.
Warner Bros. debuted the first trailer for Kong: Skull Island at Comic-Con last month, with a March 10, 2017 release date already in place. Regardless of who's playing Kong, director Jordan Vogt-Roberts has already teased this version will be the biggest Kong in the history of cinema, standing 100 feet tall. Stay tuned for more on Kong: Skull Island as we get closer to this highly-anticipated action-thriller.