It’s been 60 years since Godzilla first tore up the big screen, and though countless sequels and spin-offs have come in the original film’s wake, there are also a handful of planned projects that just never ended up getting off the ground.
Many of those films have been well documented, but one we had never before heard about has just come to our attention, and now we’re pretty damned bummed out about it not happening. Read on!
As reported by SciFi Japan, Gremlins director Joe Dante was at one point in time hired to helm a movie called Godzilla Reborn, which was set to be a sequel to the 1999 Japanese film Godzilla 2000. Details about the failed project came courtesy of Michael Schlesinger, who penned the unfilmed screenplay.
Schlesinger says that though the idea for the film started off as a joke, he eventually realized it had legs and decided to actually pursue the quest to bring it to life. After pitching the head of production at Columbia Pictures on making the modestly-budgeted Godzilla film, with old-school man-in-suit effects, the writer got to work on banging out a spec script.
“My concept was to approach it like an Aaron Sorkin script: The characters bicker and banter but are basically united against a common problem,” said Schlesinger. “Part of the problem with most Godzilla films is that the human characters take themselves so-o-o-o seriously, and that’s a large part of why the monster scenes seem funny by comparison. My belief was that by keeping the human scenes light-hearted and the monster scenes serious, audiences would at best be less inclined to laugh at the monster scenes, or at worst, they’d be laughing throughout — but at least that’s a consistent tone.”
“I structured it as a sort-of sequel to GODZILLA 2000, retaining the Miyasaki character,” he continued. “The action was fairly archetypal. Godzilla stomps his way through most of the islands on his way to Mauna Loa. By the third act, we find out why: An eruption awakens a sleeping monster called Miba, a giant bat-like creature made of molten lava. And the battle is on.”
“One of the things I liked most about the script was that it explored the dichotomy between how Americans and Japanese perceive Godzilla, something that had never been done before,” the writer further explained. “We see him as a hero who saves us from other monsters or aliens; the Japanese see him as pure destruction. I really liked exploring that.”
So, what happened? Despite the fact that Schlesinger had the entire movie in his head, right down to the casting – roles were mentally given to genre faves like Bruce Campbell, Christopher Lee and Jamie Lee Curtis! – he says that the death of the project came when a new producer took over at Columbia, who wasn’t interested in lower-budgeted films. He wouldn’t even read the script, and Godzilla: Reborn forever entered the bowels of Development Hell.
To read the full interview, which is jam-packed with much more information, head over to SciFi Japan!
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