All you King Kong fans may be eagerly anticipating the release of #KongSkullIsland in March, but this week marks a very special occasion for another iconic film featuring the Eighth Wonder of the World, as the first remake of King Kong turns 40. Released on December 17, 1976, King Kong was directed by John Guillermin and produced by Dino De Laurentiis. It starred Jeff Bridges, Charles Grodin and introduced the world to the legendary Jessica Lange.
Check out the trailer below:
A remake of the 1933 classic, the film certainly divided audiences with some claiming it exceeded the original and others believing it didn't quite live up to expectations. Either way, it made a legendary impact that is still felt to this day. But as we celebrate the milestone anniversary of this iconic film, let's take a look at what the cast have been up to in the 40 years since they left Skull Island.
- Role: Dwan
What She Has Been Up To Since: Jessica Lange has gone on to enjoy one of the most successful careers in Hollywood history. After King Kong, Lange disappeared for three years and intensely studied acting, before returning to film in All That Jazz. She would end up having a long prosperous career, stunning people with her performances in The Postman Always Rings Twice, Tootsie and Frances. Despite being a staple of film, her career was revitalized in 2011 when she began starring on cable TV series #AmericanHorrorStory, playing a different but equally complex role each season.
She recently departed from the anthology series, setting her sights on Broadway. Lange received critical acclaim for her performance in Long Day's Journey Into Night which led to her adding a Tony Award to her incredible list of accolades. She will return to #TV as Joan Crawford in 2017's hotly-anticipated Feud. Having won two Academy Awards, three Emmy Awards, five Golden Globe Awards, and a Tony Award, Jessica Lange is quite simply Hollywood royalty.
- Role: Jack Prescott
What He Has Been Up To Since: Jeff Bridges may have played the hero of the film, but he's become a hero of Hollywood, having headlined countless films in a career that spans six decades. Already a household name before he starred in King Kong, Bridges career would continue to flourish with leading roles in films such as Tron, Jagged Edge, The Fabulous Baker Boys, Iron Man and True Grit. He would also reprise his Tron role of Kevin Flynn in the 2010 sequel Tron: Legacy, 28 years after the original. Bridges is no stranger to Academy Awards either, having won Best Actor for his performance in 2009's Crazy Heart. He can be seen next in the upcoming 2017 films Kingsman: The Golden Circle and Granite Mountain.
Outside of acting, Bridges is also a musician and released his debut album Be Here Soon in 2000. He also happens to be an author, photographer and narrator. Some people are just multi-talented.
- Role: Fred Wilson
What He Has Been Up To Since: Charles Grodin may have portrayed the somewhat villainous Fred Wilson in King Kong, but soon afterwards the veteran actor would end up becoming a staple of comedy films. Between 1979 and 1993, he appeared in the likes of Real Life, Seems Like Old Times, The Incredible Shrinking Woman, The Great Muppet Caper and The Couch Trip. However, perhaps his most famous roles are as Jonathan "The Duke" Mardukas in Midnight Run alongside Robert DeNiro and as George Newton in Ivan Reitman's Beethoven films.
Grodin retired from acting in the mid 1990s and became a well-renowned talk-show host, hosting The Charles Grodin Show on CNBC before becoming a political commentator in 2000 for 60 Minutes II. He is also a writer, having authored autobiographical and acting related works including It Would Be So Nice If You Weren't Here: My Journey Through Show Business as well as winning an Emmy Award For Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program for his work on The Paul Simon Special. He has since returned to acting and has most recently appeared in a recurring role in FX's Louie.
If you're a fan of King Kong, check these out:
- New Kong: Skull Island Trailer Reveals Biggest Kong Yet - And A New Threat
- Every Easter Eggs In The Brand New Kong: Skull Island Trailer
- How Kong's Skull Island Appearance Stacks Up Against The Others
- Role: Bagley
What He Has Been Up To Since: René Auberjonois has popped up in a vast number of films, including The Big Bus, Eyes Of Laura Mars, My Best Friend Is A Vampire, and Inspector Gadget. Furthermore, he also also had regular roles on TV. These include the role of Clayton Endicott III on Benson from 1980 - 1986 — a role which earned him an Emmy nomination — as well as Odo on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine from 1993 - 1999 and as Paul Lewiston on Boston Legal from 2004 - 2008. He also appeared in 1995's Batman Forever, in which he portrayed Dr. Burton — a character modeled after Batman director Tim Burton.
Auberjonois has also carved out an impressive repertoire of voice work, voicing the role of Chef Louis in The Little Mermiad and the villainous Desaad in both animated series's Super Friends and Justice League. He has also voiced characters in Batman: The Animated Series, The Legend Of Tarzan, Max Steel and Young Justice. Moreover, Auberjonois is also a singer and can be heard singing in The Little Mermaid and the 1997 comedy musical Cats Don't Dance. He also recently recurred in CBS's Madam Secretary.
- Role: King Kong (and special make-up effects for Kong)
What Has He Been Up To Since: Rick Baker may have portrayed the Eighth Wonder of the World in King Kong, but he has produced some awe-inspiring wonders in film himself. The special make-up effects creator has enjoyed a long prosperous career, designing the creature effects for some of the most renowned films in Hollywood, including An American Werewolf In London, for which he won his first of a record seven Oscars. His Kong had the ability to make us scream with #horror and smile at the same time.
Baker has been responsible for some of the most cutting-edge special effects for countless films including: Harry And The Hendersons, Beauty And The Beast, Gremlins 2: The New Batch, Batman Forever, the Men In Black films, Mighty Joe Young, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, X-Men: The Last Stand, The Wolfman and Maleficent. He also had an acting cameo in Peter Jackson's 2005 remake of King Kong, in which he appeared as one of the pilots who shot Kong down.
He officially retired in 2015, citing the film industry's reliance on CGI as one of the many factors in his decision. However, he has said that he wouldn't rule out a consulting role in the future. No matter what he does, Baker's accomplishments are unprecedented, and he is undoubtedly one of the all-time greats. This legend will always be King Kong to us!
It's hard to believe that King Kong is now 40 years old. Renowned for its original retelling of the story and revolutionary special effects, Kong '76 certainly made an impression on the world. The cast has since gone from strength to strength, with many of them still appearing regularly on our TV screens and in theaters today. And whether or not it is your favorite version of the classic tale, this iconic film is a part of a rich legacy that continues to captivate fans to this day.
As a major fan of this highly underrated film, I am proud to say Happy Anniversary King Kong!
Are you a fan of King Kong? Let us know in the comments below!