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4 Naomi Watts: This is like a relationship movie
Q: Before this movie did you have anything special going on with monkeys?
A: I did a little bit; I've always been a fan of primates. Actually a long time ago, I had a boyfriend who asked what I wanted to do for my birthday - and I said I wanted to go and see the monkeys at the zoo. I like monkeys, gorillas everything. I like watching them and it is uncanny how close they are to us. There is very little that separates us. I had a bit of interest in them, which was coincidental, it wasn't like I was seeking out King Kong.
Q: You weren't bothered about a monkey being in love with you?
A: This is like a relationship movie. There are parts of our relationship that are very similar to humans and we cross everything...there's anger, jealousy, domesticity. There are a lot of different beats, just like an ordinary relationship.
Q: Is it possible for a monkey to fall in love with a human?
A: I don't know for real. But it seemed very possible. Working with Andy Serkis playing that monkey it was easy to fall in love with him. He is such a special man.  All the computerised stuff of Kong was based on Andy Serkis' every move and facial expression. He went to Rwanda for two weeks and studied the gorillas. He understands their behaviour - the looks in the eye. It is all very well thought out. It is a very bizarre process. He is covered with all these little dots that reflect the light so that when he was filmed they were capturing the light and the moment in the most careful way.
Q: Normally you have been in very intense movies so how do you see this?
A: It is very different from anything I have done, obviously, and that was one of the great lures for me. I had never done one of these big event movies. The Ring was the closest I had done of any great size. This is an event movie; there are special effects, there is action, humour, love, tragedy....it crosses a wide spectrum. And it is fantasy as well. So it was quite new territory for me but it's worth exploring.
Q: What was it like being the only lady in the movie?
A: It was tough at times - particularly when they were all beating you up...being thrown around and pushed and pulled. But thankfully there is a huge female force driving that whole gig down there...Fran Walsh, Peter's partner, and Philippa Boyens...and they are very important pieces in the whole process and I bonded with them.
Q: Did you do your own stunts?
A: A lot. There are a couple of things I didn't do, but yeah, more than my body could take at times.
Naomi WattsQ: Yet you look pretty and feminine?
A: Good lighting. (laughs) And good make-up.
Q: Could this movie make you a sex symbol like the last one did with Jessica Lange?
A: I don't know. I think it's more tasteful than that. That version had merit and Jessica was fantastic as she always is, but there was certain corniness about it. Peter and Fran are doing everything in their power to avoid that stuff. King Kong does not give me a blow dry and my dress doesn't disappear. But there are some sensual moments but it is not a sexual thing at all, it's a love that is a special kind of understanding between two being who have come together after they have existed alone for such a long time. They recognise that in each other so it is a protective love.
Q: What about the dinosaur scene?
A: The dinosaur stuff was probably the hardest part of the filming. That's when there was truly nothing there; there was no actor like Andy playing Kong. Having to react to all the fight stuff was difficult.
Q: This is your highest profile film. Have you thought about what that might mean and the loss of privacy?
A: I have had people say that to me many times for many years and it hasn't altered my life yet (touches wood). The main reason is that I think you can protect your life a little bit. I believe that. And also the other great fortunate thing I have is that I never get recognised. I think I look very different on film than I do in real life. I'm a little bit dressed up today but in my own everyday life I don't think ahead - unless I'm going to a special dinner or a place where I know there will be cameras. If I am going out normally I just get on with my business. I am always surprised if anyone recognises me. I have had paparazzi where they find out where you live and that's a bummer. But they don't know where they live right now.
Q: So do you dress casually in jeans away from the cameras?
A: Yeah. If I want my coffee in the morning and haven't had a shower I'll still go out. I have always been a five minute girl - except when I am doing something.
Q: You are wearing Buddhist wooden beads on your wrist?
A: I got these in China. I went to the Lama temple. I have some belief but I am not a strict Buddhist or anything yet.
Q: Do you think looks are important in your career?
A: I like to look nice. But it is certainly not the ruling thing in my life. This is probably the first time in a movie that I have played the beautiful girl and even within this movie she is not the atypical beautiful girl. She is much more dynamic than that. She is kind of a street kid with great talents. There are plenty of beautiful girls out there that would have been much more appropriate than me to play this role. So they made it quite different, much more modern. The way they cast the whole film was not in the atypical sense. Jack and Adrien are great choices but they are not necessarily what you might imagine right away. It was quite daring.
Q: You say you are not recognised. Is that because you never play the same sort of character in films and that helps your career?
A: Hopefully. That's the biggest compliment someone can give me - that I have been making different choices. That's what I try to do. But to have that acknowledged is a great compliment.
Q: Do you ever look back on Tank Girl?
A: I don't really think about it. That was fun that movie. We had a great time making it. It just didn't turn out as good as we'd hoped.
Q: Did you teach Adrien Brody any Southern hemisphere culture?
A: I had never been to New Zealand before but it did feel closer to home.
Q: Does working so hard for so long make you afraid you'll miss out on life?
A: Yes. I am. I don't like to make sweeping, declarative statements but I have been thinking about that a lot - and feeling a bit all consumed by the work and feeling less excited by it because I'm possibly missing out on other things. So if you get to a place where you start resenting these people who make you show up at places that's not good. So to avoid that I've kind of made a vow to myself to really hunker down and pay attention to other things in my life and not work so much.
Q: What are your special interests?
A: I can't remember. (laughs) I love travelling. I just bought a house last year and I decorated it and I had so much fun doing it that I would like to buy another house. I even thought about buying somewhere in Europe. Maybe Tuscany, maybe the south of France.
Q: Are you thinking of being a mother soon? Is that what we are talking about?
A: Yes. That's what we are talking about. (laughs) It's one of many things...
Q: When you say you decorated a house do you mean you did the painting and papering?
A: No, no. I have done that before with other houses. This was done when I was away on King Kong. I did have people doing it but every decision was made by me. I couldn't sign off on anything without seeing every light switch. Still when I got back there were still some things that I had to change. Its fun and I had never really had a home.
Q: What's making this house become a home?
A: My things that I have got over the years from travelling...paintings and objects. I should have bought a house a long time ago but having worked back to back for four years I haven't been in one place long enough to actually do the search. So a lot of my stuff - books and photographs - has been in storage for a long time.
Q: Would a family make it a home?
A: Yes of course. I have dogs too....a Yorkshire terrier and a Cocker spaniel.
Q: Do you like living in New York?
A: I love New York. A big thing for me is the street life. In LA that is such shame that there is no inter-action. It's all about the getting there. There is no spontaneity and I love you still have that in New York. It reminds me of living in villages in England where you have a relationship with the guy at the local deli.
Q: Do you feel Australian?
A: I feel very Australian and very English as well. I am a combination of the two.
Q: Will you take a break from acting quite soon?
A: Yeah. But then that becomes the title of every article...she's quitting! This will always hold my interest but I just need some time off. To slow down and not keep raising the bar and operating less on a survival instinct and more on a purer one.
Q: Are you at a level you are happy with - where you can pick and choose?
A: Yeah and if it goes it away and I want it back then it is up to me to try and re-invent it.
Interview: John Millar
4Related Links
King Kong Articles & Interviews
The Story of Production Diaries
Gorilla Filmmaking: A King Kong photo portfolio
Naomi Watts talks about
Peter Jackson Q & A
Naomi Watts: This is like a relationship movie
First Look at King Kong
Andy Serkis talks about King Kong
Naomi Watts: I'm not a princess all the way

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