Director Moved to Vietnam for Peace. He Was Nearly Killed

Jordan Vogt-Roberts of 'Kong: Skull Island' and his quest to ID his attackers, as told to 'GQ'
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 11, 2018 10:25 AM CDT
After He's Nearly Killed, Director Sets Out to ID Attackers
Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts of the film "Toy House" poses for a portrait during the 2013 Sundance Film Festival at the Fender Music Lodge on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013 in Park City, Utah.   (Photo by Victoria Will/Invision/AP Images)

GQ writer Max Marshall traveled to Vietnam last year to profile American director Jordan Vogt-Roberts, who made it big with Kong: Skull Island and then decided to ditch living in Hollywood and move to Vietnam instead. Soon after his visit, however, something happened that would dramatically change the story: Vogt-Roberts was savagely beaten in a Saigon nightclub by a group of men at a nearby table. The worst of it came when one of the attackers fractured Vogt-Roberts' skull with a liquor bottle, which doctors say very nearly killed him. Why the attack? Based on surveillance footage, it appears the men got angry when Vogt-Roberts handed his cellphone to a Vietnamese woman who'd earlier shunned their advances. Vogt-Roberts, who would eventually fly back to the US for medical treatment, then began a quest to identify his attackers.

"The first intel he received was that the culprits weren't local; they were Canadian," writes Marshall. "Most likely, they were Vietnamese-Canadian drug traffickers who moved to Vietnam to escape pressure in Vancouver or to broaden their global distribution chain." Marshall soon began helping in the investigation himself, and the pair flew back to Vietnam together. They worked with authorities in Vietnam and Canada, trading information back and forth, and the story culminates with the arrest of a man named Kenny Cuong Nguyen in India. Another of the alleged attack leaders is identified but still at large. Vogt-Roberts is gratified to have proven wrong those who said he'd never get justice, and despite his close call, he says he wouldn't trade "the bizarre introspective emotional insight I gained from this experience for anything." Read the full story. (More Longform stories.)

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