Legendary Pictures’ upcoming Kong: Skull Island is a film that is about as dark and mysterious as its titular location. In addition to knowing little of what exactly the movie is actually about, there has been some difficulty lining up its cast. They do, however, have their eyes on three great actors to take those open roles.

Originally, Skull Island had two great actors on board for lead roles, as both Birdman’s Michael Keaton and J.K. Simmons, the Academy Award-winner from Whiplash, were signed on. However, both had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts. Those roles have yet to be filled, but according to Deadline, Legendary has started talk with Samuel L. Jackson to fill the role that Simmons would have played. Why do we get the feeling this role involves a lot of screaming at people? There is also a shortlist of candidates for the role that would have been Keaton’s and John C. Reilly is at the top. Finally, Tom Wilkinson has been offered a role in the picture, though this appears to be for a previously unknown part.

Wilkinson

Wilkinson, and potentially the other two actors, will join the rest of the existing cast, which consists of Tom Hiddleston, the recently announced Brie Larson, and Straight Outta Compton’s Corey Hawkins. Interestingly, there is no mention of Russell Crowe anywhere, though was previously mentioned as likely to come on board. It was believed he would be taking one of the recently vacated roles. If true, it looks like that deal fell through (we’re going to guess it was for the role Jackson is now considering), though it’s also possible he’s looking at a different part.

With or without Crowe, this is looking to be a rock solid cast. There are a lot of Oscar-winners and nominees here. Whatever the story behind Skull Island, it’s unlikely Legendary is looking for a cast this strong if the focus of the movie is intended to be CGI monsters. From the outside looking in, this appears to be a movie that will be driven very much by the actors.

Reilly

All we really know about the story is that it will be set in the early 1970’s, which would set the movie post King Kong by several decades (at least in most versions), so Skull Island is looking to be a sequel, at least of sorts.

Does the new casting news make you more excited to return to Skull Island? Jackson always brings his own unique Samuel L.-ness to every role and he’s always enjoyable to watch. We just hope he has better luck with giant apes than he had with giant sharks.

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