March 31, 2003 10:38 AM

There will be no rest for director Peter Jackson after he wraps up the third and final installment of the J.R.R. Tolkien fantasy, “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” which is set to open this coming Dec. 17.

The filmmaker will direct a second remake of the great ape classic “King Kong,” to be released in 2005, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Jackson, who will also produce the new movie, wrote the script with partner Fran Walsh and “Rings” co-screenwriter Philippa Boyens, says the trade paper. Universal will release it.

“No film has captivated my imagination more than ‘King Kong,'” Jackson said in a statement. “I’m making movies today because I saw this film when I was 9 years old. It has been my sustained dream to reinterpret this classic story for a new age.”

The first “Kong” was produced by David O. Selznick (later famous for “Gone With the Wind”) in 1933 and starred Fay Wray Robert Armstrong and the Empire State Building. The 1976 remake, produced by Dino DeLaurentiis, starred newcomer Jessica Lange, Jeff Bridges and the World Trade Center.

As Jackson went on to say: “The story of Kong offers everything that any storyteller could hope for: an archetypal narrative, thrilling action, resonating emotion and memorable characters. It has endured for precisely these reasons, and I am honored to be a part of its continuing legacy.”

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