“Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire” director breaks down Kong’s new nemesis

Who is the Scar King? Adam Wingard and Rebecca Hall explain.

Godzilla has accumulated his fair share of villains over the years. When the great kaiju isn’t fighting humanity, he’s typically tussling with the three-headed King Ghidorah, his own metal doppelganger Mecha Godzilla, or a number of other monsters.

Kong, on the other hand, has never really had a nemesis worthy of its own name. Sure, back on Skull Island, he would clash regularly with dinosaurs, and he does have a bad relationship with human airplanes, but no recurring enemy. He even made peace with Godzilla by the end of 2021’s Godzilla vs. Kong.

That’s what director Adam Wingard wanted to change with his new movie Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire. Enter the Scar King, ruler of the titular “new empire” — a hidden civilization of giant apes located deep within the Hollow Earth that was first discovered in Godzilla vs. Kong.

“What's exciting about that is knowing that, as apes, these aren't just reactive animals; they have a higher intelligence,” Wingard tells Entertainment Weekly. “The Scar King is a major threat because, unlike most giant monsters, he's not just doing things in an instinctual way. He's doing it in a very evil, contemplative way. He's making decisions, and he's ego-driven. In that way, he's very much a dictator character. It was a lot of fun to be able to play with a character that's both a giant monster but also a conniving presence.”

<p>Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures</p>

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

This villain is also physically different enough from Kong to make their match-up interesting. While Kong is big and muscular, seeking to overpower every obstacle in his way, the Scar King is lanky and cunning.

“The idea with him was always that his agility gives him an advantage in a one-on-one fight, but he’s also in possession of the Titan equivalent of a weapon of mass destruction,” Wingard says. “So he's a very multifaceted villain in that sense because he's a threat in lots of different ways. He commands an army, he commands this even bigger monster, and he's a jerk. He’s very much the anti-Kong.”

Within the context of the movie, the task of explaining the Scar King falls to actress Rebecca Hall, who plays Monarch scientist Dr. Ilene Andrews. In another interview with EW, Hall explained her secret to making exposition entertaining.

“I'm very aware that I'm the straight person in the dynamic of this story, while these guys get to be pretty comedic on some level,” Hall says, referring to her costars Dan Stevens and Brian Tyree Henry, who were sitting alongside her during the interview. “But it helps to have a person who's deadpanning and also providing all the lines of exposition. I actually take pleasure in being extremely serious because I know that I myself am not that way. Every time the camera stops rolling, I’m laughing at myself and the whole situation because I do actually think that sense of play translates and makes it enjoyable to talk to a tennis ball on a stick like, ‘it’s Godzilla. This is terrible…’ See? I can slip right into it.”

Henry adds, "I remember me and Dan were just sitting back, all we had to do was be in the shadows and possibly nod at what she was saying. I was just like, I have no clue how Rebecca's doing this,’ but take after take after take, she nailed it.”

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire is in theaters this weekend.

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