News & Opinion | July 14, 2018 5:00 am

Film Director Conducts Global Search for Men Who Nearly Killed Him

Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts of "Kong: Skull Island" was violently assaulted in Vietnam.

Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Film director Jordan Vogt-Roberts attends the "Kong: Skull Island" Mexico City Premiere. (Victor Chavez/WireImage)
WireImage

Filmmaker Jordan Vogt-Roberts was 32 when he left Hollywood for Vietnam in search of a simpler life. His most famous movie, Kong: Skull Island, had been filled with almost as much violence as dialogue and had been a huge success. He had planned to keep making movies as an ex-pat in Vietnam But in footage taken one night at a club in Ho Chi Minh City, Vogt-Roberts unwittingly starred in a short, 10-minute film that showed the attack that almost killed him. In the footage, you see a tall guy with an “expensive-looking haircut” walk up and grab Vogt-Roberts. About a dozen people swarm the filmmaker and bludgeon him while he lays on the ground. The footage ends with as many as nine mauled clubgoers on the floor. Doctors told Vogt-Roberts that he was “very close to being dead.”

He returned to America to heal, and started conducting his own investigation into the perpetrators using Facebook Messenger. Friends told him it was better to not look into who did it, because his assailants were protected and their reach was global. But Vogt-Roberts dug until he found out that, most likely, his attackers were Vietnamese-Canadian drug traffickers who moved to Vietnam to broaden their global distribution chain or to avoid pressure in Vancouver. With the help of Max Marshall, a writer in New York City, Vogt-Roberts kept working on figuring out who did this and why.