With Kong: Skull Island stomping its way into theaters this weekend from Legendary and Warner Bros., Daily Dead had the opportunity to join several other journalists on the movie’s press day to catch up with one of the film’s co-stars, Samuel L. Jackson, who chatted about what drives his character, Lt. Colonel Packard. Jackson also discussed how excited he was to get a chance to square off against one of his favorite movie monsters, as well as his experiences working alongside his fellow co-stars.

Packard’s an interesting character, because he's a guy that can't let go of the war. How far did you dig into the perspective of this guy, who still wants to fight, but the government's now sending you guys home? Can you talk about how that continues to drive him once you guys get to the island?

Samuel L. Jackson: Well, it’s this sense of saying that we didn't lose the war, we abandoned it, and that is his attitude about it. And, he's a warrior. He had been through so much in Vietnam, and so, having one last OP, which was supposed to be this babysitting job, where we were going to take these guys, drop them off, they go look at whatever they have to go look at, and then we take them back home, and everybody goes home back safe. He ends up in another kind of situation where he starts losing his guys, and he's been lied to about what the mission was. Had he known what his mission was, he might have been better prepared.

So, what sends him into what, in my mind, is this Captain Ahab mode, Kong becomes my white whale, and I had to exact some kind of revenge for all the men that I lose out there. It becomes a personal thing. So when someone says, "Well, Kong's the only thing between humanity and these other things out here," Packard says, "Well, we'll kill Kong, and then we'll take care of those things [other creatures], too."

What appealed to you the most about being a part of Kong: Skull Island?

Samuel L. Jackson: Me in a King Kong movie! That’s something I've been wanting to do ever since I was a kid. When I saw the first King Kong, I just thought, Wow, this would be fun, where you go shoot with your friends, and you pretend that this big thing's out there, and you're all running from it, or you're fighting it or whatever. So, a lot of times, that's it. It’s the same reason that I'm probably going to end up doing The Blob one day, whenever they remake it again. It’s one of my favorite movies.

How was it working with your fellow co-stars on Skull Island?

Samuel L. Jackson: Well, I knew all those people already, and actors tend to band together in an interesting sort of way. I've known Tom [Hiddleston] for a long time. Brie [Larson] and I got along immediately, because she was in the midst of the whirlwind of her collecting every award on the planet last year, so we would laugh about that when she'd bounce out and go to an award show, and then would come back.

And with Jason [Mitchell] and Corey [Hawkins], I'd run into them on the circuit while they were doing their whole Straight Outta Compton tour. Then, we were always messing with Corey, because he got the 24 job while we were shooting, so we started calling him "Black Bauer." John C. [Reilly] and I did Paul Thomas Anderson's first movie years ago, too, so I had great relationships with the actors.

Actors always get along because we kind of understand what we're doing and why we're doing it and how it's happening. We were very concerned with the practicality of what we were doing. Even though people are there to watch the big monsters, you still want them to look at the humans beings like they still matter to the story, and so you have some kind of compassion for their experiences. So from that perspective, as an actor, you have an attachment to them in some kind of way.

I know my character's crazy, but in an interesting sort of way. He loses his mind and he puts everybody's life in jeopardy, and people have to back away from him and he becomes an island in the midst of all of that. I had to commit myself to that.


Stay tuned to Daily Dead for more interviews with the cast and crew of Kong: Skull Island, and check here for our previous coverage.

  • Heather Wixson
    About the Author - Heather Wixson

    Heather A. Wixson was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs, until she followed her dreams and moved to Los Angeles in 2009. A 14-year veteran in the world of horror entertainment journalism, Wixson fell in love with genre films at a very early age, and has spent more than a decade as a writer and supporter of preserving the history of horror and science fiction cinema. Throughout her career, Wixson has contributed to several notable websites, including Fangoria, Dread Central, Terror Tube, and FEARnet, and she currently serves as the Managing Editor for Daily Dead, which has been her home since 2013. She's also written for both Fangoria Magazine & ReMind Magazine, and her latest book project, Monsters, Makeup & Effects: Volume One will be released on October 20, 2021.