Interview with Christopher Golden (2019)

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The Boy Who Cried Godzilla's interview with Christopher Golden
• E-mail interview from July 28 to December 8, 2018

Interview with Christopher Golden, writer of the 2005 novelization of Peter Jackson's King Kong film. Instances of The Boy Who Cried Godzilla's real name have been censored and are noted in bold with an asterisk.

Interview[edit source]

Boy: Hello. I represent, an online encyclopedia of Godzilla, Kong, Gamera, and all things giant monsters. I have recently finished your 2005 novelization of Peter Jackson's King Kong film, and was wondering if you might be willing to answer some questions about it?

Kindest Regards,
The Boy*

CG: Hi The Boy*. Feel free to send me some questions and I’ll get to them when I can, if that’s okay.

Boy: Excellent! Thank you so much for this opportunity!

First off, I would like to ask about how you came to write the book. Did Pocket Star/Universal approach you directly, or did anything more interesting happen?

Beyond that, what was actually writing the book like? I have heard that Universal could be frustratingly secretive with releasing details for their tie-in material, but what was your experience like?

Thank you again.

CG:I had been talking to the editor at Pocket and was aware they were going to be doing the novelization. The original King Kong is one of my all time favorite films and so I lobbied for the gig. They had one higher-marquee person they wanted to approach first, but when that author passed, the gig came to me.
You have no idea. While negotiating the deal for the book, I found out that Universal would not actually let me have a copy of the script. Their security was so tight that I would have to fly from Boston to Los Angeles and go to the studio, where each morning the one copy of the script would be brought to me in a private office. I couldn’t leave the room with the script. I couldn’t make a copy of the script. Each page was emblazoned with the name of the then-current studio-head. I was supposed to just take notes and quite literally write an entire novel based on those notes, which would, of course, have been patently impossible. It was an absolutely absurd set of circumstances that left only one alternative—I spent three days transcribing the entire script into my laptop. I did get the publisher to increase my fee for the job in order to cover my plane ticket and hotel in L.A., but they could literally have just made a copy on red paper (which can’t be photocopied) and shipped it to me for about 1% of what it cost for me to fly out and spend days transcribing it. Crazy.

Boy: It's no trouble at all! I can't believe some of the measures of secrecy Universal took with this film. At any rate, this is the start of the fun part. Between the draft of the script that you read and the final release, some details, particularly the creatures seen underwent a few changes.

On pages 213-214, the crew of the Venture come across what you call a "fin-headded lizard" that doesn't match the description of any currently known Skull Island creature. The same can be said of the vague predators on page 277 replacing the Foetodon from the film.

Heck, even the sea snake on page 146 could fall into this category, but,

given the above information, could you offer some insight as to what the creatures are or why they were changed? If not, I said this was "the fun part" because you could tell me it's called the Cottoncandyosaurus and that it subsists entirely on mosquitoes, and I would have no choice but to take your word for it if you feel so inclined.

That said, take all the time you need, this was well over 10 years ago and I honestly don't know what i'm expecting.

CG: I honestly can’t remember any of that stuff. I do remember that the scenes in the novel that weren’t in the movie WERE in the script, and the scenes in the movie that weren’t in the novel must have been added afterward.

Boy: Ahh. that's understandable. Now, you expand quite a bit on the backgrounds of characters like Choy and Bruce Baxter. Were these your own additions, or were you working from some sort of Kong Bible?

CG: In many cases, I elaborated on the relationships that were spelled out or implied in the script. In the case of Baxter, I also took into account what life would have been like for an actor in his career position at the time. I love that era of Hollywood.

That said, the script was 180 pages and had a ton of character detail, so I imagine most of that was me fleshing out and building upon details already provided.

Boy: that may be all of the questions I had prepared for you. Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me.