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Spirit Pictures Buys Rights to Kong Prequel

Spirit Pictures has picked up the rights to novel KONG: KING OF SKULL ISLAND, a prequel to the better-known and oft-filmed KING KONG story, per VARIETY.

Written by Joe DeVito and Brad Strickland, the book discusses the backstory of Skull Island and how the giant gorilla became the king, introducing other giant gorillas and dinosaurs only hinted at by previous filmed adaptations. The book came out at the same time Peter Jackson was creating his version of the film. The rights were brokered by the Merian C. Cooper family, who owns the King Kong property. Cooper co-directed the original film in 1933.

"We're very concerned with honoring Merian C. Cooper's legacy in Hollywood. We want to make sure that whatever we deliver will honor his memory," said Spirit's Steve Iles.

Iles worked on videogames for the STAR WARS and PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN franchises through his Pocket Studios game company.

The film will be produced via motion-capture technology like Robert Zemeckis has used to make THE POLAR EXPRESS, BEOWULF and the upcoming A CHRISTMAS CAROL. Spirit will produce the CG work in-house. Andy Briggs is working on the script, with Iles and Arnold Kunert to produce. Spirit is seeking production partners on the project.