Bruce Baxter

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Bruce Baxter
Bruce Baxter
Species Human
Nationality American
Occupation Actor
First appearance King Kong (2005)
Played by Kyle Chandler

Bruce Baxter was an aging "matinee idol" whose fame was waning by 1933. He was played by Kyle Chandler, and was introduced in Peter Jackson's 2005 King Kong remake and its related media.

Bruce started out in what he described as a "hardscrabble backwater town" in the American South, and had risen to fame in Hollywood after a life of hardships and fighting for what he had, though he tried to suppress this side of himself to maintain his image. However, after his last two pictures underperformed, Baxter was fearing that Hollywood would forget him and move onto their next big star. Desperate not to let that happen, he signed on to film in Singapore with eccentric wildlife photographer Carl Denham.[1]

History

King Kong (2005)

Baxter was signed up to act in a film in Singapore directed by Carl Denham, and when the time came to sail to the location he took his many suitcases aboard with the help of Denham's assistant Preston. He asked for help from the frantic Jack Driscoll, but was ignored. While dissatisfied with the size of his cabin, he hung up posters of some of his movies only to one morning return to find them vandalized with marker. One poster depicted him with bushy eyebrows and a thick mustache, a look he instantly became fond of. While filming on deck, Baxter chose to improvise instead of reading Driscoll's dialogue in an attempt to "beef up the banter". Turmoil on the seas roused Baxter from his sleep, wondering if they had reached Singapore, and in the morning he went ashore with Denham and the rest where he barely survived a run-in with the natives. That night, the crew learned that lead actress Ann Darrow had been kidnapped, so Baxter joined the party going ashore to save her, and had second thoughts when Englehorn gave them only 24 hours to get her back from the jungle, only to be shoved ahead by Lumpy. In the jungle, the group was attacked by a Ferrucutus, much to Baxter's disbelief, knowing dinosaurs should be extinct, to which Lumpy snarked that they were now. Baxter trekked with the crew into a narrow valley, where during a five minute break, Denham had the terrified Baxter film in front of some grazing Brontosaurus, however as Bruce notices them stirring, he runs away before they start to stampede. They quickly overtake him, and he tries to shelter from them to catch his breath only to be attacked from above by a Venatosaurus. He ran away with incredible vigor before turning to shoot at his attacker and hitting it as well as the Brontosaurus, making it fall over and cause the giants to trip and pile up in the valley. While Bruce ultimately survived, he became convinced that Ann was already dead and turned back to the village along with a few other sailors.

Books

King Kong (2005)

In a bid to save his career as leading man material, Baxter signed on to work with Carl Denham for a film in Singapore. However, on arriving to the ship they were taking to get there, the Venture, Baxter was greeted with Denham's assistant Preston who claimed to have seen all of his pictures, even the silent ones. Baxter however, pointed out that he had not made any silent pictures before he was assured that the unpleasant smell in his tiny cabin would disperse in a few days. Bruce then put up posters from his favorite few movies he starred in, Dame Tamer, Rough Trader, and Tribal Brides of the Amazon. One morning, Bruce sat at breakfast across from Herb the cameraman, and gawked at his prosthetic leg, which he claimed to have lost to a seal in Nova Scotia alongside his penis, which greatly unnerved Baxter. Filming eventually commenced on the ship, and despite his unhappiness at working with the amateur Ann Darrow, he grew to appreciate her wit, which made her easier to work with than other actresses from his past. All the same, he found the film and ship's crews' fascination with her to be putting his stardom in jeopardy. On the first day of filming, Baxter improvised some lines and attempted to kiss Ann, much to writer Jack Driscoll's ire. The two butted heads, but filming continued on the voyage. At one point, Baxter returned to his cabin to see that the young sailor Jimmy had drawn dark, bushy mustaches on his posters, which prompted him to complain to Captain Englehorn, while also admiring the look. One night, the ship arrived at what Baxter, awoken by the ship's crashing into some rocks, assumed was Singapore. In reality it was the mythic Skull Island. In the morning, Denham took the crew ashore to film while repairs were made to the hull. When they arrived on the island they began shooting, and once again Baxter improvised and attempted to kiss Ann before Jack felt the character had earned it. This lead to an argument regarding Bruce's actions and his strong dislike of his shrinking part being overshadowed by Ann, whom he felt was replacing him as the film's star. The situation escalated when Driscoll remarked on being unable to help Baxter with his "small part", before following Denham up a staircase through catacombs and into some kind of shantytown, where they were attacked by natives. In the struggle, the sound editor and one sailor were killed. The shaken crew was rescued by Captain Englehorn and first mate Benjamin Hayes. However, when it came to light that Darrow had been kidnapped, Bruce went with the crew to save her, and was one of the volunteers to enter the jungle, though he grew hesitant after the Captain gave them only 24 hours to do it. Bruce's pride refused to let him back out, but he also genuinely wanted to get Ann back despite their differences. The jungle itself didn't bother him, as he had spent his youth exploring the swamps and forests around his house, but the sounds from creatures he couldn't see made him realize that real daring adventures were very far removed from his lifetime of pretending to take them on. All the same, Baxter continued through the jungle until Denham found a herd of Brontosaurus, and tried to coax Bruce into standing in the shot with them just before they started stampeding. Bruce ran as fast as he could, only briefly stopping to give vague hints at Denham's location to Jack before running away with several sailors tailing him. Baxter managed to stay ahead of the dinosaurs by a wide margin, when he looked behind him, he saw a Hunter lizard hot on his tail. He shot wildly behind him, toppling the lead Brontosaur in the process. Totally overwhelmed, after narrowly escaping, Baxter lost his motivation to continue, and was sure that Ann was dead. He voiced this concern, and nearly mounted a successful bid to return to the ship, but it fell apart at the insistence of Jack, Choy, and Hayes. They continued on through the swamp, and lost more men in a Piranhadon attack. Baxter remained quiet for the rest of the trip, but soldiered on regardless of his feelings. The crew eventually came to a log bridging a deep chasm, which they were crossing as Kong appeared and threw it into the depths. Not willing to let himself die, Baxter sprang off the log as it fell and managed to catch a ledge. Englehorn eventually arrived and gave Baxter a gun and some rope to help defend the survivors at the bottom from the attacking creatures. Baxter and the survivors then returned to the village to wait for Jack and Ann to return, and to capture Kong when he came following them. While in the whaler ready to return to the ship, Baxter fired a harpoon into Kong's leg, which allowed Denham to incapacitate the beast. Back in New York, Baxter was touted as the hero of the adventure, and he was able to coyly avoid answering media questions, and was part of the stage show that spawned from Kong's capture. He posed for pictures with Denham and his monster on opening night, until Kong broke free from the theater.

Comics

King Kong: The 8th Wonder of the World

Gallery

Trivia

Comments

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  1. Christopher Golden. King Kong. Pocket Star Books. p. 101. 2005. ISBN: 1416503919.