Speed and Twister director Jan De Bont almost made his big-budget version of Godzilla back in the 90s. Unfortunately, he left the project, and Independence Day director Roland Emmerich made his cult classic version with Ferris Bueller.
And today, De Bont talked a bit about his abandoned version.
He tells Polygon: “I went to Japan, I met with the people at the studio, and they loved my version. It was basically that the visual effects at the time … it became a battle about the budget. So the person who ended up doing the movie said that he could do it for like $40-50 million less than my budget. Mine was, I think, around $100 million or so. Of course, that never happens — and his film ended up costing almost twice as much as my budget. Unfortunately, they believed him.”
He continues: “But the writers I had were fantastic, the script was so good. It stayed true to the old Godzilla movies, but then taking place in the United States, which [the other movie] kept. But then they started by changing Godzilla! You cannot do that! After so many years, and everybody loving Godzilla, why would you want to change it? That was a big mistake. And then it became all about special effects, and that is never a good thing. I met some of the directors who did the earlier Godzilla movies — they were nice people, and the studio loved the take on it. We were really far into pre-production: set designs, locations, and then they saw the budget. “Oh no, we don’t spend that much money on the Godzilla movie.”
Instead, we got Emmerich’s admittedly fun flick in 1998 with Matthew Broderick teaming with Jean Reno to battle the giant monster in modern-day New York City.