One of my favorite films of last year was Gareth Edwards’ Monsters. Part sci-fi epic, part intricate character study, the film blew me away from beginning to end. With its home release this week, I was excited to have the opportunity to catch up with Edwards again during his press rounds.
Dread Central got to talk to the director about the project as well as a potential sequel and how it feels to be tackling one of the most famous monsters in cinema history – Godzilla.
After its release last October, Edwards said he was really surprised by the many interpretations of the themes running throughout Monsters. The director explained, “What I thought was very interesting was that a lot of people in America picked up on the immigration theme in Monsters, which was another subtext within the story, but it was never something I wanted to feel really obvious in the movie to anyone watching.
“For me, a lot of Monsters was about the war on terrorism. Obviously, terrorism is terrible and must be stopped, but we always have to stop and realize what the price of that war is.
“In this movie there are these aliens, and yes, they’ve killed innocent people, but you have to consider how many innocent people must die in order to eradicate these creatures from the area so you have to look at what you’re willing to do in order to deal with these kinds of problems. But the reality is that monster movies throughout the ages have always been allegories for something more – whether it’s the Cold War, nuclear war, or terrorism – these monsters usually represent something bigger going on in the real world,” Edwards added.
As a storyteller, Edwards quickly realized that while Monsters had to be able to deliver amazing creatures, there had to be something that really connected fans to these creatures and made them see them as something more than just, well, monsters.
“I always say films with great storytelling should be able to give audiences some sort of perspective change by the end of the film,” said Edwards. “Monsters isn’t just a journey for the leads in the film; it’s for the viewers as well. At the start of the film, you go in with the idea that ‘oh, there are these big monsters, they must be destroyed,’ but as you continue on throughout the movie, you end up with almost a polar opposite opinion because you see that these aliens are struggling just as much as the humans are. You begin to understand them.”
For fans of Monsters, don’t expect to fall victim to having to buy a bunch of special editions over the coming years either. Edwards is a firm believer in the idea that when you complete a movie and it’s released, then that’s how it should stay.
“I think Monsters is a completed film – I don’t really see myself going back to do a director’s cut or anything like that,” explained Edwards. “For me, that’s like your mom getting out the family photo album and you see that she Photoshopped in a brother you’ve never had just because you said you’d always wanted a brother. It doesn’t feel natural to me.”
Edwards added, “Filmmaking is like giving birth – once you have the baby, then you give it up to adoption and have to hope for the best. Are there things I’d like to change? Of course. But at some point you just have to let go and move forward on to something else.”
Now that Monsters has made its way to DVD and Blu-ray, Edwards weighed in on the future of the world he created. “Vertigo owns the rights to Monsters, and I know they’re keen to move forward with another Monsters-related project very soon. I’m not sure how involved I can be right now, and I don’t think my next film really should be a sequel just yet. I’d like to do something else first, but I would definitely be open to returning at some point.
“But I do think whoever Vertigo ends up hiring will do a great job because they really know what they’re doing there. For me, if they hire someone to direct another Monsters movie, the last thing they need is for me to be hanging around, telling people how the movie should be. Whoever comes in should definitely be given free rein to put their own spin on this world, and I know they’ll get the right person,” Edwards added.
One very big reason Edwards can’t come back right now for another Monsters film is because he recently signed on to work with Legendary Pictures to breathe some new life into Godzilla. The British filmmaker spoke of his confidence in pairing up with the production company that has brought audiences movies like Trick ‘r Treat, The Dark Knight and Inception.
“It’s really too early to talk a lot about Godzilla, but I am very confident in Legendary Pictures’ belief that we need to make the best film we possibly can,” said Edwards. “This will definitely have a very different feel than the most recent US film, and our biggest concern is making sure we get it right for the fans because we know their concerns. It must be brilliant in every category because I’m a fan as well.”
Edwards added, “But I think the project is in great hands, and I don’t necessarily mean that about myself, but more so about Legendary. They have an amazing track record, and I think they’re the right studio to be behind this project.”
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