Roland Emmerich‘s Godzilla was somewhat of a disaster. Not in how it was another “disaster movie” from Emmerich, but in terms of pure banality. With such a wonderfully iconic monster, the end result wasn’t what it should’ve been. Even the design of the creature felt all wrong. It’s been 15 years since we’ve seen Godzilla on a canvas that big and, despite the box office success of Emmerich’s film, we (thankfully) haven’t had to sit through more of that Godzilla interpretation.
With next summer’s reboot, director Gareth Edwards (Monsters) doesn’t want to simply make another piece of disaster porn. He’ll have Godzilla, and plenty of other monsters, roaming the world, but during the film’s Comic-Con preview over the weekend, Edwards appeared far more interested in the characters we’ll see played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Bryan Cranston, and Elizabeth Olsen. For Edwards, in addition some realistic camerawork, the three of them are what will ground this movie.
If you want to know more about how Edwards grounded this monster pic and what to expect come next summer, here’s what Edwards and the cast had to say about the film at Comic-Con:
1. “I remember driving to the set going, ‘Oh no, oh no. We picked a bad time for this location. There is some sort of convention going on. There’s 400 cars and all these trucks here! Did know one check this?’ Then you hear, ‘Gareth, it’s your crew. There are 400 of them.’ There really were 400 of them. What’s really amazing — and I am not proud of this — is that when we wrapped, if you tested me to name most of that crew and what they do, I would fail miserably. You never actually deal with these people. You’re kept in a little bubble. When you get dropped off, you’re with your DP and your actors. Then you get driven off. I was only talking to about six people throughout the whole experience.” – Gareth Edwards
2. “When you talk to one of those six people, all the sudden you’ll see trees or lights move. The things you just requested arrive; it’s quite addictive, in a way.” – Gareth Edwards
3. “I was expecting to wait in a trailer for three hours during a lighting setup on this movie, but what ended up happening was I’d be on set from lunch time until we wrapped. I think Legendary does a really good job of creating this incubator of creativity. They take the best people they trust, put them in that incubator, and figure out what they want to get what they want done. They allow you to do that. It was just as creative as a process as anything else, honestly.” – Elizabeth Olsen
4. “It’s an origin story. I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s what you would consider an origin story.” – Gareth Edwards
5. “I try not to call them ‘special effects’. I see it as, ‘Oh, it’s really happening with these giant monsters.’ You come up with them as characters, trying to create that story. I mean, we would shoot scenes where we desperately tried to make it work from an emotional point-of-view on its own. We painstakingly worried about characters and their journey. On top of that, there’s a spectacle in the film. We want to get that [balance] right.” – Gareth Edwards
6. “Unfortunately, my discovery of Godzilla was back in the 1950’s, around the time I was born. As a kid watching that, it was astonishing, even for its time. It was amazing to see those special effects that were state of the art for its time. I just loved it. For a boy to watch it, it was great destruction and wonderful use of miniatures. Our taste has become more sophisticated since then. That’s what’s good about this Godzilla, that the plot and character development is there. Without us actors getting into our roles, the audience wouldn’t be able to get in the movie.” – Bryan Cranston
7. “When you’re going to sit in a cinema for two hours, you want to see Godzilla and whatever else. If everything is always up to 11, though, it’s probably at zero, having no effect on an audience. It’s all about contrast. We want the movie to buildup up to something big. When you look at Jaws or Alien, they don’t often show the creature [until later on].” – Gareth Edwards
8. “I think it’s a cautionary movie. When you see the scope of the tail, it’s relevant to today’s times: harvesting power, messing with mother nature, disbursement of waste. I think living in that world is this creature who emerges from it.” – Bryan Cranston
9. “Often, when something was happening with a creature, Gareth would be there with a microphone, making noises. We’d hear him from giant speakers, sometimes without even knowing [what he was going to]. That added a whole other layer. There was one time where he said we’d be hearing a walrus meets a tiger meets a hippo farting.” – Aaron Taylor-Johnson
10. “It’s epic, but it’s got its somber and moving moments as well. You try to make a blockbuster that harkens back to the pace and style of the 1980’s.” – Gareth Edwards