At WonderCon 2014, Warner Brothers presented select footage from their upcoming remake/reboot of Godzilla. Filmmaker Gareth Edwards was on hand to discuss recreating the titular monster, the fantastic marketing for the film and the themes of the picture. For a full recap of the footage shown (INCLUDING A FULL SCENE WITH GODZILLA ABOUT TO FIGHT ANOTHER KAIJU) and bullet point highlights of the Q&A, hit the jump.
The panel ended with the new footage but why bury the lede – here’s a rundown of just what happens in the scene screened. We open on Aaron Taylor-Johnson on a monorail train. All of the sudden the electricity goes out and the monorail comes to a dead stop. Cut to Ken Watanabe on a helicopter carrier watching as something huge approaches underneath the waves. The creature travels right beneath the ship he’s on and crests once past, capsizing nearby ships.
Cut to the mainland: Godzilla so great that as he approaches from the sea, he creates a giant wave – typhoon-esque. People rush from the shoreline as the ripping ocean devours many of them. Military men from the rooftops of buildings shoot at Godzilla, having absolutely no impact on the big guy. The action so fruitless – many of the soldiers lower their guns in stunned amazement
Cut back to Johnson on the monorail train. The electricity kicks back in. As the electricity kicks back in: we see Godzilla’s foe in the film: a monstrous bug-like four legged being with wings. The recent toy images that have leaked are a fair representation of the creature. The Winged-Being towers over the railway, smashing the cart sideways. People tumble out of the monorail, Johnson barely able to find a grip on a nearby seat to save himself. The Winged-Being tosses a plane at a nearby airport, causing a chain reaction of plane exploding plane exploding plane – like a skipping stone. The ocean tide reaches the airport – as does Godzilla. This is the first full on shot of Godzilla we see, the big guy screeching his signature sound at the kaiju and the audience.
It’s a really terrific scene, balancing pathos and spectacle seamlessly. Hopefully the sequence is indicative of the film as a whole. Below are bullet point highlights of the Q&A with Edwards.
Bullet Point Highlights:
- Edwards on getting the iconography of Godzilla right: “We had Toho involved from the beginning. There are a hundred hurdles facing these films – but I thought the easiest thing would be getting the look of Godzilla right because everyone knows what he looks like…but it turned out to be the most difficult because everyone has their own idea of what Godzilla is.” Edwards stated it took a year to get the look of Godzilla completely right. “How I feel about Godzilla now is completely different than what I thought he was years ago.” he stated, “Godzilla reveals himself to you. You don’t really create anything, you discover him as it goes on.”
- Edwards on the great marketing of the picture and the awesome trailer: “All good ideas in the marketing was mine. All the bad stuff was the marketing team… No – I can’t take any credit. It’s all Warner Brothers. I just want to loop the trailer over and over for two hours. I’m actually nervous because the expectations are so high.”
- Edwards on putting the cast together: “I grew up with the Spielberg movies. What they did so well is that besides the spectacle they had [strong character work]. We were trying to do the same thing here. Often times actors will split their time doing a big budget film and a personal film and a big budget film and a personal film… I told all the actors you have to view this as a personal film. If this really happened, if Godzilla really attacked, it would be a life changing, earth shattering experience so it needs to be taken very seriously.”
- Edwards on the themes of the picture: “It’s man versus nature… For thousands of years we’ve been surrounded by nature and there was always this fear that the animals will come in and [destroy us]. Recently we’ve built city – but that fear is entwined in our DNA. That’s why these monster films – which could seem silly – really work. They tap into our primal fears… “
- Edwards on the pressures of making Godzilla: “I think the main thing you do is shit yourself and dive in. It was like being teleported into this amazing opportunity. At a certain point, you have to be selfish and just make a movie that you really want to sit down and watch yourself… And Legendary and Warner have been so supportive.”
- Edwards on the inspiration for the look of the new creature facing Godzilla: “Obviously all [the monsters from Toho] inspired it. I don’t know if you noticed but there are wings on the back of the creature – so we really wanted Godzilla to fight a creature that could fly. It’s hard to come up with a new monster. It’s kind of like looking for the final parking spot at Disneyland. We tried to look at Giger and Aliens and the original black & white film for inspiration.”
Godzilla opens May 16. Click here for more WonderCon coverage.