After showcasing what we hear was nothing short of an absolutely epic clip from Legendary Pictures’ upcoming take on Godzilla at the SXSW Film Festival, director Gareth Edwards answered a few questions which have been lingering in the minds of fans.
In terms of the tone of the film… will it be a serious film or a campy affair…
“Probably one of the important things I felt about this film was that the characters at the heart of the story shouldn’t be superheroes,” Edwards tells Variety. “They should be everyday relatable people. In the [Steven] Spielberg movies they found that holy grail, the sweet spot of having the epic spectacle, but also relatable and emotional characters. Those events change and affect the characters, but the idea of someone blatantly saving the day becomes quite predictable. The events are real harrowing and present a life-changing scenario, so we just tried to take it really serious.”
As for the pressures of making his own version of Godzilla…
“As much pressure as the fans put on you, the studio put on you, nothing equals the amount of pressure I put on myself. You only live once, and this is a once in a multiple lifetime opportunity, so I don’t want to screw it up. But you also shouldn’t make a film for other people; you should make something you want to sit and watch that gives you goosebumps. I was really nervous doing this. I went from a really low budget movie to this massive tentpole Hollywood movie. I was genuinely nervous, hearing these horror stories of filmmakers losing control and the studio taking over, and everybody said, ‘Look at movies like this that you respect and see which studios made them.’ Legendary and Warner had a very high score, very filmmaker-friendly. During filming I kept turning to Seamus [McGarvey, the cinematographer] as we were filming and asked, ‘How normal is this freedom?’ He told me that he had never worked on a film with this amount of freedom. But Thomas Tull protected me from everything, and he’s such a massive fanboy, we had a bit of a freak-out together.”
So is Godzilla a sequel to the original, and what is the beast’s nature – good or evil?
“No, it is a standalone movie that is inspired by the original, and we worked with Toho [who is distributing in Japan], who produced that film. [Godzilla is] neither [good or evil]. He’s restoring the balance to nature. We’ve taken an absurd position on the planet as this alpha predator, and the movie suggests, ‘What happens if we weren’t top dog?’ He comes along and puts us in our place. If you try and pick a fight with nature, you’re going to lose. But the film does take itself very seriously. I could have made a cheesy popcorn version and it probably would have done well, but that’s not what we were looking for.”
Gareth Edwards (Monsters) directs an all-star cast that includes Elizabeth Olsen, Bryan Cranston, Aaron Johnson, Juliette Binoche, David Strathairn, Ken Watanabe, Richard T. Jones, Sally Hawkins, Akira Takarada, Victor Rasuk, Yuki Morita, C.J. Adams, and Gary Chalk.
In theaters May 16, 2014, an epic rebirth to Toho’s iconic Godzilla, this spectacular adventure pits the world’s most famous monster against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity’s scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence.
Making his first appearance in 1954 (Gojira), Godzilla is a giant monster that lives in the sea that comes from the ocean to feed on mankind.
Visit the official Godzilla website here.
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