Interview with Matthew Costello (2017)

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The Boy Who Cried Godzilla's interview with Matthew Costello
• E-mail interview from August 27 to September 22, 2017

Interview with Matthew Costello, writer of King Kong: The Island of the Skull, which is the official prequel novel to the 2005 King Kong remake.



Boy: Hello. I am an administrator of, an online encyclopedia of all things Godzilla, King Kong, Gamera and et cetera. I was wondering if you might be up to answer a few questions about your novel King Kong: The Island of the Skull?

MC: Glad to...

Boy: Wow! Frankly I didn't imagine I'd get this far. Well, firstly, please pardon my silly screen name and icon if those are putting you off...
First off: How did you get the job to write the book? Did the studio approach you specifically?

MC: Hi again....originally, two writer friends of mine had been approached to do the novelization and a prequel.
But the writer who was to do the prequel did not feel like he was a good fit for what would be a totally original novel. They mentioned my name to the editor, and he agreed to hire me. I did work closely with the studio as I made up the pre-story (and had great fun doing so!)

Boy: Alright. What, if any, prior experience did you have with the Kong franchise?

MC: Kong was pivotal in my life, inspiring my career. Note the dedication of Island of the Skull.

Boy: Ahh. makes sense. Now, what, if any, creative input did you have over the monsters seen in the book? Is the creature on the cover meant to be the Vulturesaurus featured in the last few chapters?

MC: I decided on all the creatures in the novel (I could use all but…Kong!)

Boy: So there was a complete list of monsters that you chose from? (For personal reasons, I really need to know that Vulturesaurus thing)

How much input did you have on the Skull Island Native culture?

MC: Had no list…used the creatures I wanted. Not sure about the cover feature creature. For what I used master wise, see the novel itself. Any Skull Island info in novel came form me but was discussed.shared with team at WETA.

Boy: Hmm. Were the sacrifices that coincided with tremors meant to portray Kong as an Earthquake deity? Did you ever give the skull islander who escaped her sacrifice a name?

MC: If memory serves, no to both. I do suggest why on that island you have dinosaurs and a giant primate.

Boy: A few more questions on the characters: The skipper that sells the map to Denham is named Henning Menkel. I found this odd as the mythos already had named the skipper Nils Helstrom in Son of Kong. Is there any particular reason for the change?

MC: In various sources, there were different names...

Boy: alright, alright. Now, for personal reasons: Do you think it would be at all possible for you to make a comically bad MS Paint drawing of Sam Kelley to use as his official art?

Heheh. In all seriousness, I think we're about done here. Just one bit of clarification: So you said that WETA told you what monsters you could use, but you also clarified that you were not given a list. Did you create the monsters seen in the novel? Obviously not the V. rex or Venatosaurus, but any of the others?

One last question before we wrap up: What would you have done with Kong if you had been allowed to use him? Did you have any ideas for him in the story?

MC: interesting, Not sure….went into it with him in background….so never thought about anything but the story of those key characters before they all go to Skull Island.

Boy: Well, Mr. Costello, thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions, its been fun, and I hope to see you at the helm of another Kong project some time in the future.

MC: My pleasure.