I’m sitting here watching Kong Skull Island and I notice, as any photographer would, that actress Brie Larson really looks like she’s shooting that Leica. Sure enough she is! In fact, if you watch the film almost all of what we she her do looks great! That’s because while filming director Jordan Vogt-Roberts had Brie Larson’s character carrying a real working Leica M3, with 35mm lens (it looked to be the 35/f3.5 Summaron we’re reviewing soon!) and goggles.
Although it’s far too short and they really could have done more with this, the film has a feature mini documentary in which the director says it was very important to him that she be photographing the whole time. “I just wanted to give a little bit of context to these amazing photos that Brie Larson took, because she is a true artist. And it was really important to me that in this film, what she was doing with the camera felt authentic and felt real.” He goes on to say that they set her up with training from war correspondents and photo journalists. Roberts says he told the prop grew it absolutely had to be a working camera and loaded with film at all times. “I want Brie to have the freedom to actually be taking photos on set.”
“…Because she is such an immense talent and has such a great eye.” The mini documentary is only just over 2 minutes long, but in it we get a little commentary from Roberts, and we see photos taken by Brie Larson while filming. I personally really enjoyed Kong, it was a lot of fun with some really great moments and humor. But I also had a lot of fun knowing that Larson’s character was really shooting while there.
Throughout the film we see her view through the finder, and several times we see the image taken (although it did looked like the editor slipped up and added some zoom action to one of these shots). USA Today ran a story before the films release about her behind the scenes photography that’s worth a short read (link) and you can find her speaking in a few interviews about it around the web. Just over 2 minutes for the images and story on the home release is far too little for the only unique special feature included, but it was really great seeing film images taken with a Leica M by the female lead in a CGI driven film. Maybe it’s too much to hope they release a book of Brie Larson’s work on set, or maybe we should get that petition going… FP
Note: While we see Larson loading Kodak films throughout the film, I wasn’t able to track down just what film she really shot while on set. All we really know is she wouldn’t have been shooting Kodak films of that era since films like Kodachrome aren’t on the market anymore.