- Naomi Watts as Ann Darrow: a struggling vaudeville actress who is desperate for work. Carl first meets her when she tries to steal an apple from a fruit stand. As the voyage goes on she falls in love with Jack and she forms a special relationship with Kong.
- Adrien Brody as Jack Driscoll: a scriptwriter who falls for Ann. He is on the voyage mistakenly, when he delivers 15 pages of script to Denham and delays him when the Venture begins its voyage.
- Andy Serkis as Kong (motion capture and voice): A 25 ft mountain gorilla who is around 120–150 years old. He is the last of his species, Megaprimatus kong.
- Jack Black as Carl Denham: a film director who obtained the map to Skull Island. Due to his debts Carl starts to lose his moral compass and obsesses over his film.
- Thomas Kretschmann as Captain Englehorn: the German Captain of the Venture, who shows a dislike for Denham .
- Colin Hanks as Preston: Denham's neurotic but honest personal assistant.
- Jamie Bell as Jimmy: a boy, found on the Venture, wild and abandoned. He is a kleptomaniac and views Hayes as a father figure.
- Andy Serkis as Lumpy: the ship's cook, barber and surgeon. He warns Denham about rumors he has heard about Skull Island and Kong. He joins the search for Ann but is killed in the insect pit.
- Evan Parke as Ben Hayes: Englehorn's first mate and a mentor to Jimmy, who leads Ann's rescue mission because of his army training and combat experience gained during World War I. He is killed after Kong throws him against a rock wall during the log scene.
- Kyle Chandler as Bruce Baxter: an actor who specialises in adventure films. He abandons Ann's rescue mission but brings Englehorn to rescue the search party from the insect pit, and is given credit for rescuing Ann during the Broadway display of Kong.
- John Sumner as Herb: Denham's loyal cameraman. He is eaten by a Venatosaurus saevidicus.
- Lobo Chan as Choy: Lumpy's best friend and a janitor on the Venture, who falls to his death during the log scene.
- Craig Hall as Mike: Denham's soundman for the journey. He is the first person to be killed when the Skull Island natives spear him.
- William Johnson as Manny: an elderly vaudevillian actor who befriends Ann Darrow at the beginning of the picture.
- Mark Hadlow as Harry: a struggling vaudevillian actor.
- Jed Brophy and Todd Rippon cameoed as crew members.
Naomi Watts, Jack Black and Adrien Brody were the first choices for their respective roles with no other actors considered. In preparation for her role, Watts met with the original Ann Darrow, Fay Wray. Jackson wanted Wray to make a cameo appearance and say the final line of dialogue, but she died during pre-production at 96-years-old. Black was cast as Carl Denham based on his performance in High Fidelity (2000), which had impressed Jackson. For inspiration, Black studied P. T. Barnum and Orson Welles. "I didn't study move for move. It was just to capture the spirit. Very reckless guy. I had tapes of him drunk off his ass." The native extras on Skull Island were portrayed by a mix of Asian, African, Maori and Polynesian actors sprayed with dark makeup to achieve a consistent pigmentation.
Read more about this topic: King Kong (2005 film)
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