‘Godzilla: King Of The Monsters’ Cast & Director Talk Newest Kaiju Film

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Godzilla can’t answer questions directly, so the cast and director of Godzilla: King of the Monsters came together to discuss the newest kaiju-filled movie on his behalf.

Michael Dougherty, who’s taking over the franchise from director Gareth Edwards, has been waiting his whole life to make a Godzilla movie. As someone who admits to having imagined what it would have been like to have Godzilla destroy his school or church in his childhood, Dougherty believes Edwards perfectly nailed what it would be like to have monsters in the real world.

“It felt like the most realistic, grounded Godzilla film that I always wanted to see.”

To expand on things, Dougherty leaned more on the fantastical elements of the Godzilla mythos instead of just looking at him as a sci-fi character. “Gareth’s template was the perfect springboard” to take things in a new direction, and most critically for Dougherty, return the focus to the scientists trying to figure out the Titans.

Ken Watanabe is one of the few returning actors in Godzilla: King of the Monsters, and that’s because Dougherty singled out his character as one of the most essential components of Edward’s film.

“I think each Godzilla movie has different kinds of themes and fear of humankind,” Watanabe explained, singling out natural disasters as an acute fear for humankind. “We can not control natural disasters like we can not control Titans.”

Millie Bobby Brown, who admits she wasn’t necessarily a fan of Godzilla growing up, is no stranger to reacting to monsters that aren’t physically on set thanks to Stranger Things, and she gave a no nonsense explanation to her process.

“You just do it,” she said laughing. “You just imagine like something’s there and go AHHHH!”

Brown, who will return for 2020’s Godzilla vs. Kong, had to do a lot of endurance training to handle all the running around on set. The Stranger Things actress is a fan of the final product, but she admitted to going into every project with a slightly negative bent.

“There are many things I’d like to change about my performance, but that’s how it goes,” she said laughing.

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Godzilla isn’t the only Titan featured in the movie, but Dougherty wanted to focus on the core four — Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan and King Ghidora. Throughout the writing process, Doughtery said he constantly rewatched the older films and even had them playing on a loop in the production offices.

Except for Dougherty himself, O’Shea Jackson Jr. is the biggest Godzilla nerd associated with the project. Having grown up a big fan of the movies and a collector of the “godfather of monsters'” video games and action figures, he said it’s been difficult waiting since production wrapped in 2017 to see the final result. The actor revealed that while working on his first movie, Straight Outta Compton, he made a list of his top five heroes, and Godzilla made the cut.

“I’ve been waiting for this my entire life and I just happened to be lucky enough to get this audition and knock it out.”

As for what’s next in Jackson’s geek to-do list, he really wants to make his own anime and series and make a video game adaptation that pleases fans without feeling like a “cash grab.”

Kyle Chandler is no stranger to playing intense dads on camera, or even staring down monsters thanks to his role in Super 8, but taking this role felt like a no-brainer for the busy actor.

“He’s Godzilla,” the actor happily exclaimed. “Ten-year old me said yes.”

First assistant director Cliff Lanning wasn’t at the press conference, but the cast singled out his work as instrumental to the film’s success. Using things like tennis balls, lasers and tape, Lanning hyped up the cast and gave them general directions about how to react to monsters and exploding environments.

“He’s got all this energy and he’s so involved,” explained Chandler. “He kept us very in there with what was going on.”

Not only is Bradley Whitford a lifelong fan of monster movies, but doing Godzilla gave the veteran actor his first opportunity to be in a summer blockbuster. In addition to enjoying his time working with an “extraordinary group if actors,” he appreciates how the film keeps a personal, family storyline throughout and joked the movie could be called “Kramer vs Kramer vs Godzilla.”

In Whitford’s opinion, since humanitarian disasters first birthed Godzilla’s story, it’s essential to keep talking about “how humanity can impact the world.”

“Horror movies are about shit we can’t talk about,” Whitford explained. “[They’re] a very effective cultural way of talking about things we can’t.”

As to how important the King of Monsters is to society, Chandler has an easy answer for that.

“He’ll live forever.”

Godzilla: King of the Monsters opens in theaters on May 31, 2019.