In August 2017, a group of fellow journalists and I got to visit the Atlanta set of Michael Dougherty’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters. In the upcoming film, which is set five years after 2014’s Godzilla, Monarch is more empowered to monitor kaiju activity, and must stop a villain and his group from using the kaiju as living atomic weapons.
During a break in filming, we got to talk to Kyle Chandler, who plays Mark Russell. Russell gets involved with Monarch because his wife, Dr. Emma Russell (Vera Farmiga) and daughter Madison (Millie Bobby Brown), are in danger while monitoring kaiju activity. In our conversation with Chandler, he talked about the scene he was shooting that day, how his character feels about the monsters, Chandler’s thoughts on the early Godzilla movies, working with Dougherty, being in a movie with giant CGI monsters, and more.
Check out the conversation below.
KYLE CHANDLER: You ask me something specific, and I’ll tell you.
What’s he so upset about?
CHANDLER: Long hours.
Why do you hate the Titans?
CHANDLER: Because they’re mean, ugly, dangerous, and they’ve caused havoc with my family.
We saw the scene you’re shooting today, so we know your child has been abducted and you are in a station way out in the ocean. How does your character get to that point? What happens to him before we get here?
CHANDLER: So much. I can’t answer that question, I’m sorry. I don’t know exactly. I am so fried from doing the scene right now. I don’t know. It’s a scene where, yeah, Sam introduces me and tells me there’s more than just a few of these creatures. Then I’m introduced to the people who are the G team who are going out in search of not just these creatures and such but also helping me find my wife and child, more so my daughter being the most important thing in my life. That’s what drives me through this story.
You’re just basically in favor of wiping out all these things?
CHANDLER: No, I didn’t say that. You said that. No, that’s not true.
Your character said something like that.
CHANDLER: You learn as the character goes along his relationship to Godzilla and the other creatures and his wife and his past with this situation over the past many years and the loss that he’s encountered. And so that’s the dichotomy for what he feels through the storyline and you get to learn what his emotional drive is through the story. There’s a learning curve. It’s not just a hatred toward monsters.
What is your — Kyle Chandler’s — relationship with Godzilla like?
CHANDLER: It’s not a real creature, I found out. So I don’t have any relationship whatsoever. I will say that the first three movies, when I watched them, I didn’t watch Godzilla, I mean I saw the Godzilla movies as a young kid but before this, I didn’t closely watch… the first three films, ’54 to what is it sixty…
’63 is Godzilla vs. Kong
CHANDLER: No before the Godzilla vs. Kong even, the very first three.
Godzilla, then Godzilla Raids Again and then Godzilla vs. Kong
CHANDLER: Is that the third one?
CHANDLER: King Kong was in the third one, when they had the two characters, the two guys, the comedic one and then the pilots?
That’s Raids Again, that’s the second one.
CHANDLER: Okay. Well, anyway, the first three, the way the storytelling goes, within those first three, and also being able to see what Japan looked like nine years after World War II ended and the cultural differences seeing Japanese wearing Western clothing, Western uniforms, using Western dialogue, and also I thought it was really interesting that in the ’54 version two things just blew me away. One, there’s a scene on a cable car, on a train, where there’s two gentlemen and a lady in between and she flippantly says, “First Nagasaki and now this.” With the idea of Godzilla he had just attacked. And then the other one that Godzilla you’ll notice when he vaporizes people, they’re left as shadows. So there’s a direct, it shouldn’t be lost how important this was to the filmmakers, what it was doing and saying, which is sort of hard to comprehend now. And obviously it’s not lost to anyone today is August 8th, between the days of those two droppings of the bombs. That’s something that I find very interesting about this whole deal. I think what did he say it’s one of the longest running series, what would you call it? Franchises of all time. And it’s just gone through so many. Then you get into the mid-60s and Godzilla, they even have comedic music [imitates comedic music]. It just changes so much. And then to this. This Godzilla, he’s sort of formidable, this guy, it’s interesting.