It was Sunday killed the theme week - Vinnarna i tävlingen om Kong: Skull Island

 
Då tar vi farväl av årets fjärde och sista temavecka. Tack till alla som hängt med under min veckolånga kärleksförklaring till världens mest kända gorilla - King Kong! Stort tack också till Linda Miller, kvinnan som gjorde temaveckan möjlig med hennes minnesvärda anekdoter om filmandet av King Kong Escapes.
 
Det var ju en tävling också, där fjolårets mest underhållande film ska hitta sig hem till två läsare. Jag överlåter äran till Kong och Susan Watson.

Go ape!
 
 
Temaveckan gör comeback tidigt nästa år. You ain't seen nothing yet!
King Kong - King Kong Escapes - Linda Miller - Susan Watson

King Kong Lives (1986)

 
Genre: Action/Äventyr
Regi: John Guillermin
Manus: Ronald Shusett, Steven Pressfield
Producent: Martha De Laurentiis, Dino De Laurentiis, Ronald Shusett
Land: USA
 
Kong överlevde sitt fall från World Trade Center och har varit i koma i 10 år när han ska få ett nytt hjärta, men det saknas blod för att han ska kunna överleva operationen. Tur då att äventyraren och hunken Hank Mitchell stöter på en KVINNLIG gigantisk apa... i Borneo! Hon skyndas till Kong för en blodtransfusion, men dom underskattar vad hormoner kan göra med gorillor och snart är dom på fri fot med militären hack i häl!
 
King Kong lever, tydligen - och det gör även dess rykte som franchisens i särklass sämsta film. Är den verkligen så illa? Är det åtminstone so-good-it's-bad underhållning De Laurentiis bjuder oss på? Well, it ain't pretty.
 
Här ligger jag och är mer medvetande än dom som skrev filmen.
 
Oh for fuck's sake, man hittade alltså en annan gigantisk gorilla på en ö som inte varit avskiljd från resten av världen sedan urminnes tider - Borneo, really?! Det förklaras av Hank med en throwaway line på ett cocktailparty om att dom misstänker att öarna suttit ihop för länge sedan. Men Hank, infödingarna med pil och båge du stötte på var mer av den... gulbruna sorten och hade ögon som... inte var särskilt runda, medan infödingarna på Skull Island är svarta. Hur går det ihop?
 
Men för att återgå till mer allvarliga saker ett tag, APETITS! Det är alltså en hona man hittar i Borneo, vilket man snabbt ser eftersom APETITS! Hon får namnet Lady Kong, som om hon inte har en egen personlighet (fucking monkeyarchy) och förflyttas till USA där hon hamnar i Amy Franklins kapabla händer. Linda Hamilton spelar den självsäkra kardiologen med vad jag antar är en inriktning på gigantiska primater. Jävla jänkare, always prepared.
 
 
Saker går bra vid operationen men åt helvete när gorillorna känner av varandras närhet och lusten att föröka sig nästan blir lika stor som den ständiga lusten manusförfattarna hade att dra ännu en lina av kokset som onekligen låg i skrivbordslådan när dom skrev det här manuset. Det är nu filmen börjar kännas alltmer skum. Man är ju så van att se Kong enbart lusta efter en motvillig andra part och sedan döda människor, dinosaurier och förstöra hus, så att se Kong och Lady Kong flörta, reta varandra och rent allmänt vara gullegulliga känns bara fel, även om man gläds åt att han äntligen får doppa efter 53 år och fem filmer.
 
Militären sätts in och tillfångatar Lady medan Kong tros vara död (igen) men är trots allt vid liv (igen). Här hoppar filmen ett år eller hur länge det nu är medan karaktärerna jobbar för att få tillgång till Lady, vilket militären hittills vägrat dom. Under tiden som gått har Lady slutat äta medan Kong gömt sig i ett träsk och ätit sig mätt på alligatorer, klumpigt illustrerat genom att använda sig av bebis alligatorer för att slippa göra några större specialeffekter. Budgeten som rapporterats vara allt mellan 10-18 miljoner dollar vetefan vad den gick till...
 
 
Det är helt bisarrt att kunna skriva följande och mena det, men trots att han tidigare varit med på äventyr i den galna japanska kaiju-genren där han bland annat slagits mot Godzilla i King Kong Vs. Godzilla och en gummig robotversion av sig själv i King Kong Escapes är King Kong Lives den konstigaste av alla King Kong-filmer som gjorts. Ibland är den underhållande konstig, ibland bara allmänt konstig och den är aldrig ens bra av ren olycka.
 
Den största synden filmen begår är dock att den är så jävla förglömlig. Jag har sett den säkert 4-5 gånger nu och varje gång jag ser den igen har jag glömt nästan allt som händer i filmen. En King Kong-film ska vara som ett event. Originalet är en eventfilm. Första remaken är en eventfilm. Andra remaken är en eventfilm. King Kong Lives bara är och ler hånandes mot mig för att den trots alla sina brister har en plats i mitt hjärta eftersom det var den första film med den stora gorillan jag såg vid 7 års ålder, vilket fört oss till den här temaveckan 26 år senare.
 
 
Lite tröst kan man få av filmen eftersom det ju visar sig att Kong trots allt inte dog efter händelserna i remaken från 1976, men det förstörs liksom när man bestämt sig för att döda honom på slutet här istället. Men han hann åtminstone avla av sig och få en son innan det var dags att sexuellt trakassera blondiner i himlen. Kanske, om filmen inte totalfloppat med dryga 4 miljoner dollar i intäkter, hade samma gäng bakom denna gett oss en andra Son of Kong? Och folk säger att det inte finns någon Gud...
 
Ett bottenbetyg blir det ändå inte tack vare John Scotts grymma score, välgjorda apdräkter, huvudrollsinnehavare som gör bättre ifrån sig än filmen förtjänar och framförallt - APETITS!
 
Betyg:
 
Amy Franklin - Apetits - Borneo - Dino De Laurentiis - Hank Mitchell - John Guillermin - John Scott - King Kong - King Kong Escapes - King Kong Lives - King Kong Vs. Godzilla - Lady Kong - Linda Hamilton - Martha De Laurentiis - Ronald Shusett - Son of Kong - Steven Pressfield - World Trade Center

King Kong (1976)

 
Genre: Äventyr
Regi: John Guillermin
Manus: Lorenzo Semple Jr.
Producent: Dino De Laurentiis
Land: USA
 
En expedition på jakt efter olja på en mystisk ö man tror är obebodd visar sig vara något helt annat. Urbefolkningen på ön dyrkar en gud dom kallar Kong, och kidnappar en kvinna från expeditionen, Dwan, för att offra henne. Men vem fan är Kong och varför har man byggt en 20 meter hög mur för att hålla honom avgränsad från resten av ön?
 
Innan jag börjar recensera - hur jävla SNYGG är inte postern ovan?! Am I right? Eh? Bland de snyggaste posters som någonsin suttit utanför en biograf, och låtsas inte som något annat! Samma konstverk av John Berkey prydde omslaget till en VHS jag såg i en hyrvideobutik för dryga 20 år sedan och var det som fick mig välja den att hyra, vilket ledde till en oförglömlig filmkväll och min kärlek till den stora gorillan officiell.
 
 
Jag börjar rysa av välbehag bara några minuter in i filmen, när John Barrys musik drar igång samtidigt som båten Petrox Explorer lämnar hamnen och sätter sikte mot den mystiska ön, täckt av dimma i hundratals år utan avbrott. Man känner liksom att det är ett stort äventyr man ska med på. Briefingen Charles Grodins karaktär Fred Wilson ger bemanningen på skeppet om ön är en av filmens bästa scener och drar upp spänningen några snäpp. I samma scen när Jeff Bridges karaktär Jack Prescott crashar briefingen och läser upp några okända och skrämmande faktan och tidigare loggar om den mystiska ön dras spänningen upp till farliga nivåer.

Under båtresan introduceras vi även till karaktären Dwan, spelad av Jessica Lange i sin långfilmsdebut, som attraherar alla på fartyget och snart även en viss gigantisk gorilla. Hon kommer ombord som överlevande från en lyxyacht som sänktes på grund av en explosion, en explosion hon undkom genom att gå upp på däck eftersom hon vägrade sitta med alla andra gäster och titta på Deep Throat. Jag hade sååååå dött om jag varit på den yachten. Handen upp alla läsare som vet med er att ni också hade sprängts i bitar om ni varit på samma yacht? You fucking liars...
 
 
När dom väl når ön efter dryga halvtimman möts dom av en gigantisk mur som sträcker sig till synes genom hela ön, både charmigt och riktigt snyggt uppvisat med hjälp av en matte painting. Muren finns där för att hålla någonting utestängt från resten av ön, men vad? Som tur är hörs snart trumspelande från ett primitivt folk som är i full gång med en ceremoni där en oskuld ska offras till något eller någon dom kallar "Kong". Mystiken tätnar, men än får vi inte en glimt av vad det är som gömmer sig bakom muren, istället försöker infödingarna som nu fått syn på inkräktarna erbjuda dom sex av deras kvinnor i utbyte mot Dwan, som på grund av sin vita hudfärg ses som mer exotisk jämfört med dom betydligt mörkare infödingarna och därför, hoppas dom, mer åtråvärd i Kongs ögon.
 
"Ni social justice warriors snackar om vita privilegier... men ni skulle bara veta hur det känns när en vit kvinna offras till Kong på grund av sin vita hy. Atchoo."
 
Brunkräm - Vid första tecken på vithet. Finns receptfritt på apotek. (Ni som inte förstår referensen är antagligen födda på tidigt 90-tal eller senare).
 
 
När kapitalismen inte fungerar för de stackars infödingarna blir dom fullblodiga socialister och snor istället Dwan mot hennes vilja. Nu ska hon offras till deras gud och vi får äntligen se filmens egentliga huvudperson - Kong! Det går nästan exakt 50 minuter av filmens speltid innan vi får se filmhistoriens mest kända gorilla, men det är inte en enda tråkig stund fram till det stora avslöjandet. Uppbyggnaden är mästerlig och förstärks av Barrys musik som verkligen går igenom hela registret. Han lyckas förmedla spänning, äventyr, rädsla, skönhet och mystik samtidigt som den är mäktig som fan. Musiken är verkligen perfekt rakt igenom och kan inte hyllas nog, ett av mina favoritscores någonsin.
 
 
Jag gillar Kongs utseende i remaken. Det är en bra gorilladräkt gjord av apdräktkungen Rick Baker, som även är personen inuti dräkten. Jag kan dock förstå besvikelsen hos publiken när filmen först kom, eftersom producenten Dino De Laurentiis hade lovat en 12 meter lång, fullt fungerande mekanisk Kong i filmen. Visserligen byggde dom en 12 meter lång Kong för nästan två miljoner dollar, men den var allt annat än fungerande och användes till slut endast i 15 sekunder av filmen där inte mycket rörelse krävdes av den. Aja, löftet om en sån och den gigantiska marknadsföringen inför filmen satte nog tillräckligt många rumpor i biografstolarna för att det ska ha varit värt ett försök. Ett par gigantiska mekaniska händer lyckades man trots allt bygga med bra slutresultat.
 
 
Kong tar med sig Dwan till sitt hem i djungeln och även om hon absolut är berättigad att #metoo:a gorillan är han här inte enbart ett monster som i originalet. Han är öm, åtminstone så öm han kan vara mot henne och har inga planer på att äta upp henne eller göra henne något illa, mer än själva fångenskapen och att få en liten kik på hennes byst. Hon fattar till slut tycke för honom, om än bara lite, men det kanske helt enkelt är ett fall av Stockholmssyndromet? Njae, det är nog den gigantiska ormen han slåss mot (som ersätter T-Rexen i originalet av förståeliga skäl) och räddar henne från som får henne över till hans sida.
 
Kärleksintresset Jack, nästan lika hårig som Kong, räddar till slut Dwan och tar med henne tillbaka till lägret. Här ska väl egentligen filmen vara slut, men när det står klart att oljan Petrox Corporation ville ha av ön inte riktigt är användbar olja ännu bestämmer sig Wilson istället att tillfångata Kong för att använda honom som marknadsföringsploj för oljebolaget i sann amerikansk anda. Störst är alltid bäst!
 
 
Det bär av till New York där saker såklart inte går som det ska, Kong bryter sig loss från den bur han sattes i och beger sig ut på storstadens gator i jakt på Dwan, som han mirakulöst får syn på inne i en sylta och snor med sig henne igen till höga höjder. Här ersätts Empire State Building från originalet av World Trade Center, där den slutgiltiga uppgörelsen sker. Om 2005 års final är den mest hjärtskärande är det här den absolut brutalaste. Det är väldigt grafiskt när Kong tar emot skottsalvor av miniguns från flera helikoptrar innan han faller till sin död. Damned dirty humans!
 
 
Nostalgibrillorna är av, jag har slängt dom på marken och stampat på dom ett par gånger och jag kan fortfarande inte förstå varför så många avfärdar 1976 års King Kong som enbart en dålig remake. Det är ju för bövelen en nästintill perfekt äventyrsfilm med lagom mycket humor (Grodins Wilson är hysteriskt roligt egocentrisk), perfekt tempo, sympatiska karaktärer och framförallt har den hjärta. Jag bryr mig verkligen om Kong och vill inte att han ska dö, vilket gör slutet så kraftfullt här jämfört med originalet, där han bara var ett monster. Jag förstår det bara inte. "Dito!" tänker säkert många av er. Touché, kära läsare, touchë. Meanwhile...
 
Betyg:
 
Charles Grodin - Damned Dirty Humans - Deep Throat - Dino De Laurentiis - Dwan - Empire State Building - Fred Wilson - Gorilla - Jack Prescott - Jeff Bridges - Jessica Lange - John Barry - John Berkey - John Guillermin - King Kong - Lorenzo Semple Jr. - New York - Petrox - Petrox Corporation - Petrox Explorer - World Trade Center

Intervju med Linda Miller

 
För ett par år sedan när jag satt och kollade på King Kong Escapes blev jag fundersam över dess huvudrollsinnehavare Linda Millers öde. Tydligen var jag inte den enda som skänkt en tanke åt henne, då fans av japanska monsterfilmer, kaiju, tydligen hade försökt leta rätt på henne i flera år och bara ganska nyligen hittat henne. Efter återupptäckten har hon börjat dyka upp på mässor runtom i världen till fans stora förtjusning och har dessutom en officiell fansida på Facebook.
 
Jag har varit i kontakt med Linda ett tag och delade med mig mina tankar om en temavecka kring King Kong och hon gick genast med på en intervju, där hon delat med sig ovärderliga anekdoter från sin tid i Japan och medverkan i King Kong Escapes. Hennes historia är en intressant en, jag hoppas ni tycker det med. Håll till godo!
 
For those of my readers who are unfamiliar with you, would you mind telling us a little bit about yourself and how you came to live and later work in Japan as a model?
 
My father was in the Air Force and in my senior year of high school they stationed him in Japan, so that's the reason I wound up in Tokyo. The day that I arrived my father told me that a little girl I used to live next door to when we lived in France also graduated the same year and that night was having a graduation party. I went to the graduation party and I met a girl there who was shorter than I am and she said that she was making extra money by modeling. I got the information from her and went to the modeling agency and started working right away.
 
 
You then had a brief stint as an actress where your very first role was that of Lieutenant Susan Watson in King Kong Escapes. How did that go about?

I had a contract to be on the cover of a young woman magazine every other week. Arthur Rankin, the producer of King Kong Escapes happened to have seen my cover and found out that I lived in Japan and he called me. He told me he thought I would be perfect for the part of Susan Watson. So it was completely by accident and a hand of fate that I wound up getting the part of Susan Watson. I had no acting experience and I was very unsure of myself, but I did the best that I knew how to do with lots of help from Rhodes Reason.

Had you seen the original King Kong when you made the movie, if so what were your opinions of it?

I saw the original King Kong on TV when I was a little girl. I thought it was great. It was in black and white and I thought it was just kind of throwing.

Did you know what you were getting yourself into at that point, meaning had you seen any other Kaiju movies before, like Godzilla, Mothra etc?

I had heard of Godzilla and Mothra and those kind of movies because I lived in Japan. But I was so busy working as a model and doing a TV show called English for Millions that I rarely watched TV or went to the movies. So when I got the part in King Kong Escapes I had no idea the historical significance it would have one day.

 
Your voice was dubbed by someone else in the movie. Did you know your voice wouldn't be used and what did you think of this new voice of yours?

I had no idea and I was not ever told that my voice would be dubbed by someone else. Arthur didn't mention that when the film went to the states the actors would have to read up their own voices so I just assumed I would be doing my own. But because I lived in Japan and I did not have a union contract like I would have if I had been in the states they did not let me record my voice. When I saw the American version of King Kong Escapes and heard that voice I was horrified. I was not happy, I was embarrassed and I couldn't believe they chose that voice for my character. Sounded more like a cartoon than a real person. So that's something that I've never been happy about. I will say that anytime you hear lieutenant Watson scream that's my voice. They used my real voice for the screens. LOL
 

You starred alongside veteran TV-actor Rhodes Reason. Did being the only two prominent American actors help create a bond between the two of you? What was your relationship like off-screen during the making of the movie?

Yes being the only two Americans on the set did create a bond between us. He was very instrumental in helping me with my role. Because I had no training whatsoever, he stepped in and became sort of like a coach and teacher for me. We became very good friends, his family and my family and when I returned to the United States he was instrumental in helping me find an acting school and an agent. He also was very helpful in telling me what people to stay away from, which was almost more important than anything else he did. We stayed good friends until the late 80s early 90's when we left California. Last time I saw Rhodes was when he was doing Annie on Broadway.

I love that King Kong Escapes has a mix of both kaiju and the spy genre, which was very popular back then with the success of the James Bond franchise as well as TV-shows like The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and I Spy. One of your co-stars, Mie Hama, actually played a Bond girl that same year in You Only Live Twice and was a very experienced actress. This being your first movie, did she help you during filming, give you pointers or anything of the sort?

Unfortunately she and I had very little contact. I guess you could say she was out of my league is more correctly. She was not unfriendly, she was just not overly helpful because we had so few scenes together.

 
Naturally, you can't have a semi-spy movie from this era without someone playing the part of an evil genius with high ambitions of either getting rich or conquering the world, sometimes both. Hideyo Amamoto played that kind of villain to a tee as Dr. Who. With the kind of commitment to the part he was displaying, I'm curious to know what he was like off-screen. Do you have any anecdotes you want to share with us?

Boy he certainly did play his part perfectly, didn't he? Off screen he was very funny and very charming and very friendly. Because I spoke Japanese good enough to have conversations he and I would talk from time to time and I just found him to be delightful. Completely opposite of the way he looked, except he looked a little offbeat and he really was a little upbeat in his personality but very endearing. After we wrapped King Kong Escapes he invited my mother and I to come see him in a play in Tokyo and afterwards we went out together. He was a very nice man.


Your director was the legendary Ishiro Honda, who is most famous for his work in the Kaiju genre and specifically for having directed the very first Godzilla. What was it like working for him and what was he like as a person?

Honda-san was a very quiet director. He spoke softly and was not intimidating at all. But he was very serious and you could tell by the expression on his face whether he liked what you did or he didn't. But he never made you feel bad or feel like you were disappointing him. He would just offer a suggestion in how to do the scene again. He seemed very accomplished and was a very gentle man. When we went on location we would all have dinner together, he just seemed like one of the nicest people in the whole wide world

Kong's look differs a lot from how most people were used seeing him look like in the original from 1933, where he was seen through stop motion whereas a suit was used for this movie. What did you think of Kong's look in King Kong Escapes? Does it look goofier to you now, 40 years later?

(Laughs) Yes it looks a little goofy I think but at the same time I think it was better because he was able to move more naturally. I also thought the expression he had was better and changed from when he saw an enemy that he was going to try and annihilate or when he was trying to save me from the serpent. I actually got to meet Nakajima-san when we were filming and he was in his suit. In fact I think there are some pictures of him, Rhodes, Arthur Rankin and I at that time that we met.



Some of my favorite scenes in the movie are those between you and Kong, a lot of which has to do with the beautiful music that accompany them made by one of my favorite composers, Akira Ifukube. What are your thoughts on the movies' musical score?

I hadn't seen the movie for many many years but about two or three years ago some friends came over and we watched it and I agree with you, I believe the music was so important to the movie and the mood it intended to create. I think the music was definitely first class.

Speaking of those scenes with Kong, in a lot of them you are sitting on his giant hand and I've always wondered what they made the hand out of. Could you shed some light on that?

Well, the hand was huge and it was attached to a device that raised it up and down. I was sitting in front of a blue screen as I did my scenes pretending to be talking with Kong. The hand was not very comfortable, it was kind of hard but they had lots of hair-looking material over it so I was able to be seated right in the palm of the hand. The worst part for me is that they would raise the hand up off of the floor and I'm a little bit afraid of heights, so when I was holding on to his hand in the film believe me, I was really holding on to his hand because I did not want to fall!


Did you find those scenes hard to do, having to act against a giant ape you actually didn't see? Did it ever seem humorous or surreal being in that position, sitting in a giant ape hand and shouting lines?

It felt strange sitting in his hand up in the air against the blue background pretending that somebody else was there that you were acting against. This is one area that Rhodes helped me with quite a bit. He gave me tips on how to imagine and how to play it out. The first time or two was really awkward but then I became more comfortable and more confident.

The movie looks like it was shot mostly on various sets built specifically for the movie. which I personally think look great. What were your impressions of them when working on the movie and how do you feel they hold up today where so much is shot in front of a green screen?

Yes we had a whole sound stage devoted to King Kong Escapes. We had the interior of the ship, the Tokyo Tower and some more that I can't quite remember. The exterior shot when I'd jump off the ship that was filmed on the lot but not in the sound stage. We only went on location two times. The first time is when we went to Mondo Island and you see those exterior shots are actually on location. Then the second time is at the very end when we're at the dock saying goodbye to Kong. We actually shot that on a doc outside in the Tokyo harbor somewhere. I found it much easier to act in the real environment than a pretend environment, but I think that had to do with my inexperience as an actress. Actually the ship seemed very, very real and in scale so I think they did an excellent job.



Did you get to watch any of the filming of the fight scenes between Kong and Mechani Kong? I'm sure it must have looked goofy.

Unfortunately I did not get to see any of the fight scenes at all. Those were filmed by another unit separate from what we were doing. But I was able to go to another sound stage where I saw miniatures of the jungle, I also saw the helicopter scene where Kong gets sedated and they tie him up and the helicopter is lifting him up to take him to the ship so he can help them mine out. Everything was miniature but to scale. It looked so real and I was very impressed with the skill those artists had.

How long did it take to shoot the movie and what were your feelings when shooting had wrapped? Were you exhausted from the long hours or was it not that intense?

If memory serves me we started either in May or June and we were done by August so it was around three months. Even though I had to get up super early every morning I did not find that I was exhausted. When we wrapped I was excited because I had accomplished something and I was sad because I knew that I would not see these people again. So it was bittersweet.

When did you see the movie for the first time? Was it at the premiere? What did you think of it back then?

The first time I saw the movie is when it premiered in Tokyo in Japanese. There were lots of lights and cameras and it was all very very exciting. The boys said they chose to dub me and the Japanese was perfect and I was very pleased with my voice and with Rhodes' voice. In some spots I thought the movie was a little silly but I was very proud and grateful that I had the opportunity to be part of the experience. When I saw it in the states after they had dumped my voice I was not so thrilled. If they were going to dump my voice I wish they would have used someone else.

There are two versions of the movie, the 8 minute shorter US version with some alternative footage and the original Japanese version. Which one are you most familiar with and which one do you prefer?

I know this sounds hard to believe but I wasn't aware that the Japanese movie was 8 minutes longer. I really can't answer that question because I haven't seen the Japanese version in a long time and I'm not sure what they left in compared to what the Americans took out. But I have such a high regard for the artistry of the Japanese that I probably would prefer their version.

 Linda Miller tillsammans med Haruo Nakajima och Akira Takarada

When released, King Kong Escapes was a great success, especially in Japan but also in the US. Was the success so big that you'd get recognized on the streets of Japan, the US or anywhere else you went?

I wish I could say yes but the answer is no. In Japan before King Kong Escapes I did get recognized because of the modeling work I had done and the TV-show I did. The TV-show was piped into the junior high schools as an English lesson so when I would go anywhere in Tokyo and there would be junior high school students they would recognize me and asked for my autograph. King Kong Escapes came out I think in September 1967 in Japan and I left Japan in February 1968, so I was not able to experience the full impact that the film made.

It's interesting because when I returned to the states I did not experience anybody recognizing me. In fact I did some work here in the states after I returned, one of them being an episode on a TV show called My Three Sons. It was a very popular show and I've had people tell me I look so different in that that nobody would connect the Linda Miller from King Kong Escapes and the Linda Miller that was in My Three Sons. In fact I did not use the name Linda Miller when I did My Three Sons because there already was a Linda Miller who was a member of The Screen Actors Guild. When I went to get my union card I had to find another name and my agent came up with Leslie Michaels. A name which today does not feel right.


Toho Studios are one of the giant film companies in Japan, having been involved in everything imaginable from Godzilla to Akira Kurosawa. Do you have any recollections of your time working with Toho Studios that you'd like to share?

Walking through the gates of Toho Studios at that time was like a fairytale. I remember seeing many faces that I recognized from billboards and movies and many of them very famous. I never ran into the director Kurosawa but I did see Toshirô Mifune. I was in the commissary one afternoon having lunch and he walked into the commissary and I have to tell you he was as impressive and powerful looking in real life as he was in the films. That was a big thrill for me

You followed up King Kong Escapes with a part in The Green Slime. How did you get to be in that movie?

King Kong Escapes wrapped in about August and then I did The Green Slime very shortly thereafter. My girlfriend had a very small part in the film and asked me to come with her and when I showed up they asked me to be in the film as well, so I just did it to have something to do.


Back in the US you had your final acting part in My Three Sons. Why did you decide to stop acting so early in your career? I'm sure you would have been a welcome addition for Toho when they needed parts for American characters in their movies.

When I came back to the States pretty quickly I got the spot on My Three Sons which I enjoyed doing very much. However I was not a big fan of the Hollywood system and felt that it was not for me. I enjoyed acting very much and I would have continued but I did not like how business was done. It was disappointing but it was the right decision for me to make.

Up until recently, Kaiju and Kong fans had been looking for you, seemingly in vain, for many years to hear your story. Not really knowing anyone had been searching for you, you were finally found, alive and well. Did you have any idea King Kong Escapes had such a huge cult following among fans?

I was extremely surprised when I got the phone call from Brett Homenic saying that he had been looking for me. I had absolutely no idea that there was a Kaiju Fan Club out there. in fact, I never really mentioned to anybody that I was in King Kong Escapes because my life had changed so much it just didn't seem to be relevant. Since Brett got a hold of me there's been a whole new world that's opened up and it's been a lot of fun. I've met some very interesting people and had some wonderful experiences, but no one was more surprised than me to find out the people had been looking for me.


Since being rediscovered, you've been appearing on conventions, meeting fans and signing things for them. Do you enjoy this new part of your life?

Boy do I ever enjoy it. I'm always excited when I get invited to a convention because it gives me an opportunity to meet with the fans. Fans have been very nice and I enjoy meeting them almost more than they enjoy meeting me. Sometimes I see some of the same fans and sometimes I get to meet new ones so it's always something I look forward to. I appreciate the fans so very much.


King Kong Escapes celebrated its 50th anniversary last year. What do you think of it all these years later?

When me and my friends watched it two or three years ago I was able to really enjoy it. Typically in the past I was so critical of my acting that I didn't really enjoy it. But now that I'm older I can appreciate what a wonderful opportunity it was to be a part of the film and so I was able to really, really enjoy it.

King Kong Escapes cast & crew

Finally, do you have any message to your fans and lovers of Kong and the Kaiju genre who will be reading this?

My message to my fans is thank you for your love and your support after all these many years. I realize that none of these wonderful experiences that I've had recently would be possible without the fans. I appreciate you and I love you all and I hope we have the opportunity to meet and talk in person sometime in the near future. I wish all of you as much joy as you have given me..
 

Dōmo arigatō, Linda Miller!
Akira Ifukube - Akira Kurosawa - Akira Takarada - Annie - Arthur Rankin Jr - Dr. Who - English for Millions - Godzilla - Haruo Nakajima - Hideyo Amamoto - Ishiro Honda - James Bond - Japan - Kaiju - King Kong - King Kong Escapes - Leslie Michaels - Linda Miller - Mechani Kong - Mie Hama - Mothra - My Three Sons - Rhodes Reason - Screen Actors Guild - Susan Watson - The Green Slime - The Man from U.N.C.L.E. - Toho - Toho Studios - Toshirô Mifune - You Only Live Twice