EXCLUSIVE: While Legendary Pictures has been rounding out the cast for Kong: Skull Island–they recently added Brie Larson, Tom Hiddleston and one of the standout young actors from Straight Outta Compton in Corey Hawkins, they still need to replace the male leads after Michael Keaton and JK Simmons exited. I’m told that Legendary is in early talks with Samuel L. Jackson to bring his fire to the role that Simmons vacated. They have a small list of actors to play the one Keaton exited due to scheduling, with John C. Reilly atop it from what I hear, though no offer has yet been made. Tom Wilkinson has also just been offered a lead role in the picture. Jackson isn’t locked yet, but the actor has shown a liking for being part of blockbuster fare like the Star Wars and the Marvel superhero films. If he doesn’t have the greatest gross tally of any actor in film history, Skull Island sounds like the kind of film that could help get him there. Jackson will next be seen starring in Quentin Tarantino’s post-Civil War era The Hateful Eight, playing a bounty hunter with lines as lyrical as the ones in Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction.

Image (1) TomWilkinson__130918144257.jpg for post 589925Legendary has Jordan Vogt-Roberts directing a script by John Gatins and Max Borenstein, and they are eyeing a production start of late year or early 2016. The film will be released by Universal Pictures on March 10, 2017, with a Imax 3D a big part of the release plan. Legendary’s Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni produce with Mary Parent, with Alex Garcia and Eric McLeod exec producing. Kong: Skull Island will fully immerse audiences in the mysterious and dangerous home of the iconic ape as a team of explorers ventures deep inside the treacherous, primordial island. Clearly it wasn’t lost on anyone that Peter Jackson’s King Kong had its best moments on Skull Island, depicted as a scary place. Wannasee on this one has been high on this since Legendary revealed the project at San Diego Comic-Con awhile back.