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Naomi Watts, Adrien Brody, ...

For two years now, it’s been towering over this year’s holiday movie season, thumping its chest to ward off any rivals. And expectations are high for Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson’s three-hour, $207 million update of the 1933 classic to do some serious alpha-monkey business. As for Hollywood’s ongoing box office slump, Jackson swats away such concerns like so many pesky biplanes. ”We shouldn’t have to worry about what’s happening to cinemagoing in America or whatever,” he says. ”All you can do is just make the best film you can.”

Anyway, this is King Kong we’re talking about, the granddaddy of fantasy blockbusters, the movie Jackson has been dreaming of remaking since he was no bigger than a hobbit: ”Uncharted islands, lost worlds with dinosaurs, a big gorilla — it’s just pure escapism.”

Originally posted November 11 2005 — 12:00 AM EST

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