MASTERCARD Peter Thwaites
‘MR K. KONG’ King Kong never really got to know NYC well. Things got off to a bad start with all that drama when he first arrived from overseas, and frankly he’s spent the last few years just trying to get on with his life, trying to forget about the past and just fit in. He needn’t have worried. This is NYC, and nothing is fussed over for too long here. And true enough; pretty soon, he was just another face in the crowd. So now all the fuss has died down, he is in many ways the typical New Yorker. He lives in the greatest city on the world and has never really seen it. He spends way too much time in his apartment, and the only place he really knows his neighborhood. He knows the Kranser twins who run the deli and Mrs. Chang who owns the takeaway joint on the corner, and generally people in the neighborhood are friendly (they don’t go on about the ‘incident’), but the rest of New York is just an urban jungle to him. So he goes to work, sits on his terrace with Mrs. Chang’s special Noodle soup, and looks out over the city, not realizing the wonderful things down there if he only went and discovered them.
STORY So we start our story on an apartment terrace high above the streets of New York. Mr. Kong comes out carrying his mail and a mug of coffee. He flips through the junk mail, chucking it in the wastepaper basket as he goes. Then he sees one that is not junk. He opens it with a tiny paper knife. Inside is his new world elite MasterCard. The card looks tiny in his enormous hand. We cut to his face as he holds it up. He seems pretty excited.
We cut to the street to see Mr. Kong walking amongst the crowd with the Empire State building in the background. He is looking around him as if with new eyes. He gets a hotdog from a stand in the street. Wow, that tastes good. He window shops down Fifth Avenue, staring in at the sparkling necklaces in Tiffanys.
In Central Park we see Mr. Kong as he plays chess with an old man. We se the concentration in his face as he contemplates his next move. Or maybe he just sunbathes with some friends on the grass.
We cut to the 4 Train Platform at Yankee stadium. We see Mr. Kong towering above the people as they walk down the platform. He is focused on the new stadium. We see it in all its splendor in front of us. Inside The Yankee Clubhouse. Mark Tiexiera is signing Mr. Kong’s hat. Tiexiera. ‘There ya’ go, big guy’.
Mr. Kong goes to the Natural History Museum with friends. We cut to the huge face of a T-REX. Even Mr. Kong is smaller than the dinosaur. He is staring at it a little nervously. The little girl he is with slips her hand into his and reassures him,
“Don’t worry, he can’t hurt you.”
Suddenly we are in the busy and bustling kitchen of the Red Rooster. Mr. Kong is at the chef’s table with other friends including a gorgeous blonde. It’s a little bit of a tight squeeze for him, but he doesn’t mind because the chef is presenting a special dish to them. We hear the chef, ‘ this is a lobster coulis with parsnip chips with a crayfish salsa dip….’ Mr. Kong tastes it and makes a ‘magnifique’ gesture to the chef.
Later that night Mr. Kong and the blonde girl wander through central park together. ‘I’ve never seen you so happy… ‘ The skyscraper lights twinkle above them. Again we see iconic Empire State building.
This glorious evening ends with Mr. Kong and the girl sitting side by side on a bench looking over Queensborough Bridge. We see them from afar, similar to the famous image from Woody Allen’s Manhattan. VO of the girl “So what are we doing tomorrow big guy”. Logo - MASTERCARD Reach for Priceless
NOTES What a fantastically visual, charming and emotionally touching idea! I love this because we can portray this Huge Gorilla as a charming lovable character, but also show him as just another typical New Yorker who is so wrapped up in his own life, he hardly knows his own city. Clearly the key is to create a Gorilla that is as real as possible, but with a personality and charm that we can really feel. We will grow to love Mr. Kong. He is a gentle giant, frightened of dinosaurs, unassuming and polite. He is different, itâ€™s true, but New York City is the best place in the world to live if you are different, because nobody cares and nobody notices. Like most new Yorkers he has been a little unadventurous and if the truth be told, his past experiences has made him try to live a bit more of an anonymous life. If he only just explored more he would have wonderful adventures. When he gets his new MasterCard, itâ€™s like the start of a new adventure. He can now really go out and take advantage of the greatest city in the world. The key is the tone of the spot and the way we show his character. Of course we want any emotion he shows to be as realistic as possible. Any false post produced smiles would be horrible, the magic spell will the broken and our belief in him will disintegrate.
Like any film, the best way to bring forth character and personality is to create visual compositions and arrangements to help communicate the feelings without relying on cheesy smiles. We use the cinematic language to communicate feeling, not simply the expressions on faces. For example, the moment when the little girl holds his hand in the Museum tells us so much about his feelings. The quality of his movement and mannerisms are hugely important â€“ they must be completely real. We want to feel that he is really there so for example, if he is in the park having a picnic with friends he should sit like a gorilla, not like a human. His movement must be true to his scale, much slower and more lumbering than one might think. This lends a more realistic tone, and a gentler one too. The charm of the spot will come from the way we see Mr. Kong in the world, seeing him as just another New Yorker. I would like him to be an individual rather than a clichĂŠ. The more naturally he fits in the images the better.
CHARACTER Mr. Kong is almost like a Billy Crystal character or Tom Hanks in Big in Gorilla form. He is rediscovering his home, New York City with fresh eyes. Less tainted and more inquisitive. â€˜Has this been here all this time?â€™ Clearly he will behave exactly like a real gorilla, so his movements will be slow and thoughtful, because when a Gorilla moves fast they are generally angry or afraid. The gorgeous blonde. Of course no Kong story would be complete without one. She is charmed by Mr Kong and loves that now he has his Mastercard he is being more adventurous. Mark Tiexiera and our Red Rooster chef will of course just be themselves and natural. Our supporting cast of friends and extras will reflect the good and great characters of New York City.
PHOTOGRAPHY We need a natural photographic approach that doesnâ€™t overdramatize his presence in the world. We need to see him as just a part of the city, not as something that is out of place. So we will use a photographic style that is visually and emotionally beautiful, but one that feels human and sympathetic, natural and not over formal and forced. The shots will be from normal perspective rather than over dramatic crane shots. The camerawork is calm and thoughtful rather than overblown and self-conscious.
TECHNICAL / POST I feel that the size that Mr. Kong is in the script is pretty good, however we do need to be very careful with this and ready to alter his size slightly to suit each location we are in, obviously in such a way that is not seen by the audience. I understand that the option to create a full CG Gorilla is not viable with our schedule, but I did have great chat with Legacy effects in LA who have really realistic Gorilla suits with full anamatronic heads. I was very impressed with them and the emotion you see from the faces of their gorillas. Combining the suit with some clever CG to manipulate subtle expressions and fur enhancement will create a very impressive living gorilla character. The key thing is to create shots that we know will work well rather than pushing this technique to far so that it feels less convincing. We want to feel that Mr. Kong is really living in New York City.
SOUND & MUSIC The sound design should support the strong visuals and enhance the feeling of all the different experiences Mr. Kong is having. Music is of course always best decided in the edit, but while working on this I keep thinking about Woody Allenâ€™s Manhattan and emotional synonymy between images of New York and the music of Gershwin. This is such a wonderful story. Thanks to his new MasterCard Mr Kong finally gets to enjoy the greatest city in the world. Canâ€™t wait to get my teeth stuck into this with you. Peter