Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts has spent the last two-and-a-half years of his life bringing “Kong: Skull Island” to the big screen and joked that the movie “took off 10 years of my life. This cough you’re hearing: I didn’t just smoke weed. That’s, like, shit I have to fix in my body.” The filmmaker, who made a remarkable leap from indie breakout “The Kings Of Summer” to a massive tentpole, hasn’t missed a step in the process. But he’s a little weary from such a huge blockbuster commitment, so the director wants to change gears.
“I’m super-proud of this movie,” Vogt-Roberts said of ‘Skull Island,’ but the filmmaker is looking for a palate cleanser before he jumps back into another big-budget movie (he has an adaptation of the video game “Metal Gear Solid” on deck, too).
“I want to try, very quickly, to see if I can make a half-improvised indie with guys like [‘Kings Of Summer’ co-star] Nick Offerman and [‘Kong’’s] John C. Reilly and just go and have a skeleton crew and shoot it like that,” he said. “Kind of like what David Lowery just did [with ‘A Ghost Story‘] after ‘Pete’s Dragon.’ I hear his new movie is amazing, and he’s one of the best out there right now. So I’d love to get something like that out of my system, make a movie with no budget, skeleton crew and go back to that world.”
The “Kong: Skull Island” helmer said he’ll go live his life for a while (nearly three years without a break is intense) and then tackle the “Metal Gear Solid” video-game movie. “Then hopefully we can get the script right for ‘Metal Gear,’ and make a great video-game movie off of one of the most important works in my life, which is that series.”
Vogt-Roberts will face a big challenge: there’s never been a great movie made based on a video game. “It’s a matter of time,” he insisted. “It’s inevitable. To me it’s not a question of can you, but when the right pieces of come together. It’s about taking the right risks and understanding fundamentally how and why the game works, how it makes you feel, what emotions it elicits from you.”
Beyond the poor track record of video-game moves, Vogt-Roberts admits he’s chosen one of the more difficult video games to adapt. “ ‘Metal Gear’ is just so idiosyncratic and such a tricky one because [creator] Hideo Kojima’s voice is so brilliant and understanding the dread and how tense you become and how alarmed you are when you’re being chased. And then there’s the philosophies and mythologies the characters represent. The tone of [‘Kong’] weirdly has ‘Metal Gear’ elements to it: it has serious dialogue in it and then it gets weird and not afraid to be self-aware. It’s just a matter of when someone makes a great video-game movie, and not if it’s possible,” he explained.
In some circles, video games are looked down upon, but Vogt-Roberts looks at them as influences that stand shoulder to shoulder with some of the most important films in cinema.
“[After the rigors of ‘Kong,’] my mandate is clear: only take [a project] if you can wake up every day knowing why you are doing it. And ‘Metal Gear Solid’ happens to be one of the most important properties on the planet. If it can be shepherded to the screen and done with the honor and respect to Kojima’s work and voice that it deserves and create a new genre unto itself, then absolutely, that’s something that I could take on.”
“Kong: Skull Island” opens on Friday.