Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Favorite Pic of the Day for November 1st

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Check out today's BIRTHDAYS HERE:

Brian Kerwin: The Man in the Hand

' Kong falls from the twin towers and he appears to be alive. However, his heart is failing, so it's replaced with an artificial one. All is well until he senses that there's a female Kong somewhere out there and escapes wreaking havoc.'

Almost everything about 1986's King Kong Lives was misguided.  The sequel to the 1976 picks up from the ending of the first film, with footage of Kong lying on the street, after being shot down from the World Trade Center.   This was the start of the movie's many mistakes.

The emotional punch of the first film was it's ending.  Kong's trip to New York and his tragic ending, trying to save Dwan, (Jessica Lange) until the end.  Even the tagline, 'It was beauty that killed the beast', doesn't make sense with Kong being revived from his death from the fall.

Bad decisions continue, with Kong now put into a coma for the next 10 years.  When he's revived, he needs a heart transplant, so another giant gorilla, a lady Kong, is created and brought to the lab where Kong's being kept.  The Kongs in this film are laughably silly, with the director and special effects team seemingly not even trying to hide that it's just a man in a gorilla suit. 

The special effects in 1986 should have advanced a bit from ten years earlier, yet they appear much worse than in the 1976 version.  I'm guessing it was about money, but it was also about story.  I cared about the love story in the previous version, so suspending belief was easy.  The story was so bad in the 86 version, viewers were continually reminded that everything they were watching was fake.

The only plus to me was the casting, as I like both of the leads, actor Linda Hamilton and Brian Kerwin.  They also pulled a bit of surprise by having the hot man lifted and held by Kong, (but only briefly) and not the female heroine.  As a little kid, seeing the hot guy in Kong's huge hands made an impact, and one of the only redeeming feature of this really bad film.  I did an Actors & SKIN feature on Brian Kerwin back in 2017, but decided it needed a major update with some new images and video clips.  Check it out on FH HERE:

Full Moon Lullaby

Silence overtaking, Darkness overhead 
Shadows now are waking, Monsters in the bed 
Bid our hearts are aching, Heaven knows just why 
But look the clouds are breaking,  Full Moon Lullaby

I'd forgotten that King Kong was actually a musical until looking for pieces for today's theme.  I then had a vague memory of reading articles about the show when it ran on Broadway.  The show opened on Broadway in November 2018 and closed in August the new year after 324 regular performances.  Although the mechanical King Kong puppet impressed the critics, most overwhelming hated the book, songs, characters, and what were noted as 'shrill, one-note performances.

Adam Lyon

The Broadway version seemed doomed from the start.  It was originally set to open in 2014, but was re-worked and re-written several times.   There was a decent book and song list from the Melbourne production which opened in Australia in 2013 to more favorable reviews.  The images in this piece are from the Melbourne Production. 

The Australian production took five years of planning and over five months of rehearsals. Originally booked through 28 July 2013, the musical extended its booking period three times, closing in February 2014 after an almost nine-month run. The show was produced by Global Creatures, which partnered with animatronics workshop The Creature Technology Company, who designed the six-metre animatronic silverback title character.

Engineered, designed and built by Global Creature Technology in West Melbourne, Australia, the title role was the largest puppet ever created for the stage. The 2013 press notes stated that Kong was "a highly sophisticated animatronic/marionette hybrid that will be controlled by the integration of hydraulics, automation and the manual manipulation from a team of puppeteer/aerialists. A group of 35 on-stage and off-stage puppeteers worked to manipulate the large-scale puppet. 

The Melbourne production featured Esther Hannaford as Ann Darrow and Adam Lyon as Carl Denham.  The Australian cast also had a hunky cast of supporting actors and dancers who helped bring the show quite a bit of a attention.  In addition to a spread in DNA Magazine, the male cast members also took part in creating a 2014 beefcake calendar to promote the show.

Achillias: Reversal of Fortune

'This is one monkey you DON'T want on your back.'

Early in October, Achillias sent on a set of images he created of Kong's first meeting with Darrow Andrews.  I loved what he'd created thus far, but there were still a few questions that had to be answered.  First up, defining the the relationship and interactions between Darrow and Kong, and how far we wanted to push the envelope...

In all three of the movies that I've watched, Kong is definitely infatuated with blond beauty left for him to discover.  Although the movies certainly toyed with erotic undertones, they were pretty subtle. The relationship and romance was implied, most notably through Kong's eyes and how he looked at Darrow.  Although there was touch, there was nothing really overtly sexual shown.

Since this is FH however, I wanted to go a little further, while still maintaining some of the boundaries set by the films.   I loved how Achillias displayed Kong's curiosity, exploring Darrow's body through touch, smell and taste.  Darrow is Apehandled for sure, but that's as far as we wanted that to go.

Achillias put the decision as to whether Darrow would have an erection in my hands.  Given the circumstances, and that a wet, eight foot tongue was licking his genitals, a spontaneous erection was certainly possible.  In addition, in each of the movies, after the initial horror of being captured by giant ape, Ann eventually seems to relax, understanding that Kong didn't want to harm her, at least not on purpose. 

Once the beginning of the story was set, and the relationship dynamics in place, it was time to discuss the end.  In the movies, Kong is captured, chained and caged and brought back tot he United States to be put on display.  They called him the eighth wonder of the world, and his captors had no interest in his care or well being, but instead it was all about sacrificing the beautiful beast for fame and profit.  

The only human concerned about Kong's well being was Darrow.  Although he was put in the most harm, and had the most traumatic interactions with Kong, he spent enough time with the beast to understand the Gorilla had a heart and emotions.  

In this version of Kong' story, I wanted a change things up a bit, to reverse the course of Kong being caught and caged and his eventual death.  This time, Kong would remain in charge. Darrow's friends, and the rest of the money hungry mob wouldn't get their way.  

I think the remaining images from Achillias are the perfect ending, and maybe the beginning, of Darrow's encounter with Kong.  As you can see, this was not Kong's first time to a hot hunk rodeo, and he knew exactly what he wanted, and what he was doing.  Darrow wasn't his first infatuation, and he wouldn't be his last.  Kong seems to have a collection of cuties that he's accumulated over his years on the island. 

What happens to Darrow and his fellow captives?  What does Kong want with the, and do they ever escape? Well, maybe one day, Achillias will create a sequel, but for now, the rest of story and what happens to Darrow is totally up to you.  

TR Pics: The Making of Kong the King

'This was a really fun exercise for me, and hopefully people will enjoy the fine line between camp, creativity and romance.'

Every great motion picture, and every great photoshoot, has me wondering about process.  This was never more true that when Tom Rubeck, (TR Pics) sent on his King Kong inspired visual masterpiece.  What began as a photoshoot with a nude model and an hairy ape hand, became a epic story.  Rooted as the original films were, in a love story,  Tom put his own take on the tail, and his impressive artistic and creative skills into the process.

Tom not only captured the images, he also wrote the story.  He then brought in Anthony, (Raymond Smith) and Ty, (Gor) to help bring his story visually to life.  With a leather couch subbing for Kong's huge hands, and Tom's backyard and porch subbing as Kong's habitat and home, everything began falling into place.  Now all we needed was some background, generously provided by the stories writer and  creator, and models Anthony and Ty.

What did you think of the theme when you first heard it? 

I've always been a HUGE fan of King Kong, ever since I was a kid watching the old black and white version on TV. He both scared and intrigued me. There was something about his being a common gorilla (as opposed to some weird alien lifeform) but also so large... I was happy to jump on board and see what I could come up with. 

I thought it was an interesting concept & at first wasn't really sure what I'd agree to but I enjoy working with Tom and trusted his vision. 

My first thought was how creative of an idea it was to do a King Kong photoshoot. I see a lot of people dressed up in Halloween costumes but this I think is taking it to the next level. I personally have never seen one done so I wanted in! 

What were your thoughts behind creating Gor, especially given how the roles for black actors were depicted in the early movies?

We tried to be really thoughtful, especially with the visuals, and refraining from using certain words in the narrative.  Ty and I talked about the character and what he would wear. In all reality there are and were indigenous folk who wore similar dress. He was personally totally fine with it all.

I did have initial reservations at first about playing the role of the Islander and didn't want to be perceived as a "savage." I appreciate that Tom was respectful of my concerns & was mindful with how he shot it in a way that respected my initial concerns & how it all played out. 

Have you seen any of the King Kong movies, and if so, which was your favorite? 

I have, but the first one that I remember seeing was the one in 2005 

The first and my favorite is King Kong 2005.

Oh, tough question. I have such a love for the original B&W version.... but then seeing the 1976 version was meaningful because I loved that it felt so "modern", and I saw it with my Dad. But I totally loved Peter Jackson's 2005 version because, with CGI, it really felt like Kong was real, physically and emotionally. 

How did you come up with the concept and story? 

Since this set was for the "Favorite Hunks Blog", naturally it had to involve men... so I thought, "What if we turned the idea of Kong being intrigued with a woman into him being intrigued with a man? And then I took it further, thinking the islander could also be a man, and let's see what happens. 

What were your biggest challenges:

I haven't done a shoot like this before  and I think having to imagine Kong though I couldn't see him was the most difficult part of the shoot. 

The biggest challenge was definitely trying to act the part in the photoshoot. This was definitely something out of my normal comfort zone. I haven’t done anything character related before. 

Props. I had wanted to find an actual large hand to shoot with.... but there are none easily available. Amazon had one, but it was "currently unavailable". So, switching gears, I decided to push my Photoshop skills which also made each shot very deliberate. I had to first find stock shots of a gorilla that I could use, and then try to figure how to position the model so it would look somewhat realistic. 

Was it hard finding models up to the theme? 

Absolutely not. In fact, I had to cull through who I thought would work best. The models I used were the first two I asked, and they seemed very eager to step in. They both were very fond of nudity, so that was never an issue. 

What was your favorite part of the shooting process? 

The partner scene was the favorite part of the shooting process and getting to dress up to play a character in Tom's vision was nice. 

My favorite part was really just getting to try something so different and again out of my comfort zone. I definitely learned a lot. Also of course the photographer and the other model are both so nice and fun.

We did the shoot in one Saturday afternoon on my back porch, because there was a lot of nice, soft natural light. We brought out one of my leather sofas to stand in as "Kong's hand" because I figured the curves of the sofa's arms and the feel of the stuffing could resemble the size and feel of a gorilla's hand. 

We hung up a grey drop behind the guys, to make it easier for me to cut them out in post. The only shot we did inside was the final shot of the two lying together on the jungle floor, because the sunlight was streaming through my front door at almost the exact same angle as the stock image I was using for the background.... and I think it turned out perfectly!