Even with a new kingdom on the horizon, the latest installment in the Kong and Godzilla film franchise emphasizes the significance of home.

“We have these kinds of concurrent storylines in the movie,” Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire director Adam Wingard told Blavity’s Shadow and Act. “We’ve got the human story led by Jia, and you have Kong who’s on his own journey, and what’s cool about that is that both of them are kind of on mirror expeditions and going through, thematically, a similar kind of evolution as they explore Hollow Earth.”

“Both of them start in the same place,” he continued. “They’re both lonely. They both feel disconnected from the world around them, and this movie is about their journeys, which occasionally intersect.”

As Jia, Kaylee Hottle carves a path of her own both on-screen and off. She gives insight into how the film has helped to shift her definition of what a home encompasses.

“I think in general, home means home,” Hottle said. “That’s my house. That’s where I live. It’s my home. But when I acted as Jia, I realized that there are so many meanings to the definition of home, and it means something different to everybody. For Jia, it means that she gets to be with her people, but she also has a choice to make. Is she going to stay with her tribe or go with her mom? So, she has to figure out where her home is.”

Furthermore, Hottle opened up about what her experience in the film means to those in the deaf community and how they can identify with her character.

“For the deaf community, representation of a deaf person on-screen is so important because as a deaf actor, other people may be able to see themselves in a movie or doing anything in general,” she said. “I think representing a young person in a movie as well is so important. Jia goes through this entire journey and on this world tour, if you will, and she is the only one who can. She represents so many things.”

While Wingard and Hottle explored those themes of home in Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire, Brian Tyree Henry explained why his character “should’ve stayed his ass at home.”

“Bernie thought that he would get a deeper understanding of Hollow Earth and the Titans, and if you look at him throughout the movie, he spends most of the movie regretting his decision to go down there. I think he said ‘Oh, my God’ at least 79 times within the first hour,” Henry shared.

He continued, “What I do love, though, is the connection of family and home in this one. You see all of our characters will create their own little family amongst each other. You have Rebecca Hall (Dr. Ilene Andrews) and Kaylee Hottle (Jia) and their connection as mother and daughter, with Kaylee trying to find out where she’s from. Bernie, not having any one home anymore and trying to find a connection, and even Kong… Kong is trying to figure out who he is and where his identity lies because he’s been alone for so long. So, I think that’s what’s interesting about this movie and the concept of home is like this: You have to leave all of the things you thought you knew behind to discover what’s in front of you.”

“The thing I loved about Trapper is that he’s got this sort of wonderful world philosophy that this planet is our home,” co-star Dan Stevens added. “It’s not just one specific location behind the fence somewhere. It’s universal. Wherever we go, even if it’s Hollow Earth, that’s our responsibility. It’s our responsibility to look after it. Home can be everywhere, with anyone.”

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire is in theaters now.