New ‘King Kong’ movie to be filmed in Australia

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The latest King Kong-inspired movie will be filmed in Australia, officials said Monday, just days after the government said big-budget blockbusters “Thor” and “Alien” will also be shot Down Under.

“Kong: Skull Island”, starring Americans Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson and English actor Tom Hiddleston, is to begin filming in early 2016.

Industry database IMDB said the movie is about the origins of the monster gorilla, who famously scales the Empire State Building in the original 1933 film.

The remake will be shot at Village Roadshow Studios and on location in southeast Queensland. Parts of it will also be shot at two as yet unnamed international locations.

King Kong is the latest blockbuster to head Down Under for filming, as Australia tries to lure Hollywood studios to its turf to generate jobs and boost the economy.

The government said last week the latest installment of Marvel’s “Thor” movie — “Ragnarok”, starring Australian actor Chris Hemsworth — and Ridley Scott’s new “Alien” film would be shot in Australia from next year.

And earlier this year, Johnny Depp wrapped filming of “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” in Queensland, after the Hollywood hearthrob made headlines when his wife allegedly smuggled two dogs into the country.

Depp’s wife Amber Heard faces charges of knowingly importing a prohibited product into the country after pets Pistol and Boo arrived in Australia, sparking the mini scandal dubbed the “war on terrier” and a death threat against the pooches from a government minister.

The head of government agency Screen Queensland, Tracey Vieira, said the King Kong announcement showed the state’s growing reputation in film production.

“Our local industry is certainly getting some big international credits under their belts,” Vieira said in a statement.

Queensland state Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she would like to see more Hollywood productions filmed on Aussie soil.

Such productions “will bring new money into the state, create new jobs and economic opportunities for Queensland”, she said.

King Kong has been remade several times, including in 2005 for a production directed by Peter Jackson and starring Naomi Watts, Jack Black and Adrien Brody.

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