HomeKorean AmericanFrom Commercial to Kong Companion: Kaylee Hottle

From Commercial to Kong Companion: Kaylee Hottle

Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros Photo

By Jana Monji, AsAmNews Arts & Culture Writer

You never can tell where one job will lead. Kaylee Hottle did a commercial with her Korean American mother and that led to being cast in the Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. blockbuster Godzilla vs. Kong

The 13-year-old Hottle wasn’t raised on kaiju. Through an ASL interpreter she explained, “I was never really interested in kaiju,” a term for Japanese monster movie that had to be explained to both Hottle and the interpreter. Since being cast, she says, “I’m trying to learn more a little bit at a time.” She wasn’t really interested in becoming an actor, but hanging around with a cast around her, she realized it was fun.

For the commercial that got her the part, she did have a name, but her character was less defined. “I was actually with my real mom in the commercial and it all deaf people actually.” The casting director for Godzilla vs. Kong got in touch with the commercial’s casting director and Hottle,

In Godzilla vs. Kong, Hottle plays Jia, who is the last of the Iwi tribe and the adopted daughter of Dr. Ilene, a Monarch Project anthropological linguist focused on Kong and Skull Island. Jia communicates with Kong through sign language and scientists from a company called Apex Cybernetics needs her to persuade Kong to enter into a free fall that will lead them to the Hollow Earth. The interaction between Jia and Kong lend an emotional center to the film, providing tender moments which seem to weight the film toward Kong over Godzilla. 

Working on a film, of course, is totally different than working on a commercial. For Hottle it meant having a fake mom and walking within a hearing world. Still, Hottle’s realized acting is fun. She is the youngest leading lady who has caught Kong’s heart. Does that mean there will be a happy ending for a victorious Kong? No spoilers here.

Godzilla vs. Kong opened internationally on 24 March 2021 and in the US on 31 March 2021. 

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