Godzilla (2014 film)
North American release poster
|Directed by||Gareth Edwards|
|Music by||Alexandre Desplat|
|Editing by||Bob Ducsay|
Warner Bros. Pictures
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
Godzilla (Japanese: ゴジラ Hepburn: Gojira?) is an upcoming American science fiction monster film featuring the Japanese film monster of the same name in a reboot of the Godzilla film franchise. The film retells the origin of Godzilla in contemporary times as a "terrifying force of nature". The film is directed by British filmmaker Gareth Edwards, written by Max Borenstein and stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Bryan Cranston, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen, Juliette Binoche, David Strathairn and Sally Hawkins.
The film is a co-production of Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures and will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures worldwide, except for Japan where it will be distributed by Toho. It is the second Godzilla film to be fully filmed[Note 1] by an American studio, the first having been the 1998 film of the same name. The film is scheduled to be released on May 16, 2014 in 2D and 3D.
According to the studio:
|“||An epic rebirth to Toho’s iconic Godzilla, this spectacular adventure pits the world’s most famous monster against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity’s scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence.||”|
—Legendary Pictures, in official press release
- Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Lieutenant Ford Brody
- Elizabeth Olsen as Elle Brody, Ford's wife.
- Bryan Cranston as Joseph "Joe" Brody, a nuclear physicist and Ford's father.
- Ken Watanabe as Dr. Serizawa
- Juliette Binoche as Sandra Brody, Joe's wife and Ford's mother.
- David Strathairn as Adm. Stenz
- Richard T. Jones as "The Colonel", a mysterious military figure.
- Victor Rasuk as Major Tre Morales
- Sally Hawkins as Dr. Wates
- CJ Adams as Ford's brother
- Garry Chalk
- Jared Keeso as Jump Master
- Patrick Sabongui as Master Sergeant Marcus Waltz
- Al Sapienza as Huddleston
- Brian Markinson as Whalen
- Carson Bolde as Sam Brody, Ford and Elle's son.
- Jake Cunanan as Akio
- Warren Takeuchi as Akio's father
- Yuki Morita as Akio's mother
- Ken Yamamura
- Akira Takarada
- Christian Tessier
- Anthony Konechny
- Primo Allon
- Jeric Ross
The film is a co-production of Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures. It has an estimated $160 million budget, to be financed 75% by Legendary and 25% by Warner Bros. The film is Warner Bros. Pictures' first new Godzilla property since 1959's Gigantis, the Fire Monster.
After the release of 2004's Godzilla: Final Wars, marking the 50th anniversary of the Godzilla film franchise, Toho announced that it would not produce any films featuring the Godzilla character for ten years. Toho demolished the water stage on its lot used in numerous Godzilla films to stage water scenes. TriStar Pictures, which had made the 1998 Godzilla film and held the rights to make a trilogy of films, let their rights expire in 2003.
In August 2004, Yoshimitsu Banno, who had directed 1971's Godzilla vs. Hedorah, announced that he had secured the rights from Toho to make a Godzilla IMAX 3D short film at his Advanced Audiovisual Productions (AAP) production company. The film was tentatively titled Godzilla 3D to the Max, and was to be a remake of the Godzilla vs. Hedorah story. In 2005, American cinematographer Peter Anderson was added to the project as cinematographer, visual effects supervisor and co-producer. In 2007, American producer Brian Rogers signed on to the project after Anderson introduced him to Okuhira and Banno. In 2007, also through Anderson, Kerner Optical then came on board to develop the technology and to produce the 3-D film. And with Kerner's backing, in the fall of 2007 the team met with Toho in Tokyo where they re-negotiated their license to allow the release of a feature-length 3-D theatrical production.
In 2008, Kerner was facing financial troubles that threatened to cancel the production. Rogers, Anderson and the then-proposed director Keith Melton met with Legendary Pictures to get their backing on a 3-D theatrical film. In 2009, it was "green-lighted" (approved) by Legendary to go to production. From the AAP production team, Banno and Okuhira would remain on the project as executive producers and Rogers as a producer. In November 2013, Banno stated that he still planned to make a sequel to Godzilla vs. Hedorah.
In August 2009, rumors surfaced that Legendary was in talks with Toho to produce a new American Godzilla film to be released in 2012, and on March 29, 2010, it was officially confirmed by Toho and Legendary that Legendary had acquired the rights to Godzilla. According to Hideyuki Takai, president of Toho Co.: “We are delighted in rebooting the character together to realize its much-anticipated return by fans from all over the world. We are anxious to find out where Godzilla’s new stomping will take us.” Legendary announced it would reboot the franchise with Warner Bros. co-producing and co-financing. Legendary announced it would make the new film closer in style to the original 1954 film rather than the 1998 film and its "iguana-like creature". According to Thomas Tull, chairman and CEO of Legendary Pictures, (sic) "Our plans are to produce the Godzilla that we, as fans, would want to see. We intend to do justice to those essential elements that have allowed this character to remain as pop culturally relevant for as long as it has." Film producers Dan Lin, Roy Lee, Doug Davison and Legendary's Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni were added to the project to work with Rogers, Banno and Okuhira.
At the 3D Summit conference held in September 2010 at Universal Studios, producer Brian Rogers confirmed a planned date of 2012. The reboot is a live-action project featuring a fully computer-generated Godzilla. Godzilla will fight at least one or two monsters, rather than simply the military as seen in Emmerich's 1998 remake. Rogers also confirmed that the two Godzilla head designs that were floating around the Internet and rumored to have been designed by Legendary and sent to Toho for approval were fake, and were just simply fan-made. He also went on to say that he and Legendary Pictures wished to revive Godzilla in the same fashion Legendary revived Batman.
In October 2010, a new script was commissioned and David Callaham (screenwriter of The Expendables) was named to write it. In the same month it was also rumoured that Guillermo del Toro (Blade II, Hellboy, Pan's Labyrinth, Pacific Rim) was approached to direct the film, which del Toro later denied. In January 2011, Legendary named British filmmaker Gareth Edwards, director of the 2010 film Monsters, to direct the film. In an interview publicizing the DVD release of his film Monsters, Edwards discussed the new film: "this will definitely have a very different feel than the 1998 film and our biggest concern is making sure we get it right for the fans because we know their concerns. It must be brilliant in every category because I'm a fan as well." "Without addressing anything specific, everyone knows how important it is to get it right."
After Callaham, four more people worked on the screenplay during the film's development. When Edwards' signing was announced, it was also announced that Callaham's first draft would be rewritten by another writer. In July 2011, David S. Goyer was attached to do the rewrite of the film's screenplay. Goyer only worked a few weeks on the script and did not get a screenwriter credit. In November 2011, Max Borenstein was hired to continue work on the script. In October 2012, Legendary announced that writer Drew Pearce would polish the script, making the principal characters older to suit the actors that Legendary intends to cast. In January 2013, Frank Darabont (writer-director of The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, The Majestic, The Walking Dead) was added to write the final/shooting script.
The film remained in development into 2012, missing the planned release date. Edwards worked on his vision for the film at a stage at the Warner Brothers lot. The production team developed Godzilla models, artwork and pre-visualizations of the action scenes of the movie. From the lot, Edward directed a short teaser video, shown to Legendary executives and later shown at the San Diego Comic-con in July 2012. Two images from the video were eventually released to the internet.
Director Gareth Edwards confirmed an origin story for the film. Screenwriter Frank Darabont in interviews described his plans for Godzilla as returning it to a "terrifying force of nature". The film will add a "very compelling human drama" and that Godzilla would be tied to a "different contemporary issue" rather than the original atomic bomb testing. In addition to contributing to the script, Darabont mainly focused on the emotional aspect and further development of the characters. Commenting on Darabont's work, Edwards stated, "We blocked out the whole story and Frank did a pass at helping the characters and emotions. He delivered on that. Frank brought a lot of heart to it and soul." Edwards additionally pointed out that one particular scene from Darabont's script convinced Bryan Cranston and Juliette Binoche to join the film.
In an interview with Fresh-voices.com, writer David Callaham spoke about his first draft of the film, stating, "Godzilla is a pretty cut and dry, giant monster that smashes stuff. But the reason I got excited about it is because I saw themes and relationships to the modern world that I could tell in this story that was important." Callaham also did research not just on Godzilla but animals, natural disasters and municipal cities in an effort to treat Godzilla as a real-life disaster.
Director Edwards confirmed that his Godzilla will be portrayed as an anti-hero rather than a villain or a hero. He also discussed the themes incorporated into the film, stating "Godzilla is definitely a representation of the wrath of nature. We've taken it very seriously and the theme is man versus nature and Godzilla is certainly the nature side of it. You can't win that fight. Nature's always going to win and that's what the subtext of our movie is about. He's the punishment we deserve".
Actress Elizabeth Olsen has too confirmed that the film returns to the gritty roots of the original film and spoke about its themes as well, "There's a strong theme about the importance of family in it as well as the theme of trying to control nature and how that backfires in the end." Olsen has also stated in a different interview about the titular character that, "Godzilla is just so deserving of a good American remake, and I really hope we did it and I really feel like we did."
Actor Bryan Cranston has praised Edwards' vision, tone, and pitch for the film and titular character. In an interview with Canada's Entertainment Tonight, he compared Edwards' approach similar to Steven Spielberg's style in Jaws where the film does not immediately show the beast but rather build up to its appearance while still delivering an eerie and terrifying off-screen presence. Cranston also praised the characters in the film and cited it as part of the reason as to what drew him to the project, Cranston stated, "The most important thing about this version of Godzilla is the characterization. The characters in this are real, well drawn. He (Edwards) takes the time to really establish who these people are, that you root for them, that you invest in these characters, and that you care for them. That's the best part of it." Cranston believes that the new film will wipe out the memory of the 1998 version.
In late 2012, the plans for the film's filming, release and distribution were revealed. In September 2012, Legendary announced a theatrical release date of May 16, 2014 in 3-D. IMAX announced that the film will also be released in IMAX 3D on May 16, 2014. Warner Brothers will distribute the film world-wide, except in Japan, where it will be distributed by Toho. At that time, Legendary Pictures added Alex Garcia and Patricia Whitcher as executive producers. In December, Dan Lin revealed that the film would likely start filming in Vancouver in March 2013.
Legendary turned its attention to casting parts for the movie. On January 7, 2013, it was reported that Joseph Gordon-Levitt had turned down being cast in the film in the fall of 2012. It was reported that Henry Cavill, Scoot McNairy and Caleb Landry Jones comprised the shortlist for lead of the film. On January 10, it was first reported that Legendary Pictures was interested in Aaron Taylor-Johnson for the lead role. It was reported that Bryan Cranston and Elizabeth Olsen were also in talks to co-star. Olsen confirmed her involvement at the 2013 BAFTA awards. Juliette Binoche and David Strathairn were then signed on to join Johnson, Cranston and Olsen in the film.
As filming approached, more news was being made about the project. In January 2013, Mary Parent joined the project as a producer for Disruption Entertainment. and producers Dan Lin, Roy Lee and Doug Davison were dismissed from the project. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the producers left over creative and financial differences with Legendary Pictures, and Legendary was buying out their producer contracts, a move which led to court. On January 9, Legendary Pictures filed a 'Complaint for Declaratory Relief' lawsuit against Lin, Lee and Davison in California State Court to spell out any fees owed to the individuals, who had signed an agreement with Legendary and were working with Legendary on the film's development. According to the complaint, Legendary had decided in the fall of 2012 to not employ the three as producers on the film and the three were not eligible for any producer fees. The three filed a counter-claim, that the agreement cited by Legendary was not in force and that the original working agreement was breached by Legendary. The three argued that the suit should be decided in open court, not in arbitration, and that Legendary should be responsible for damages for breach of contract. At court, the judge dismissed the arbitration and ordered mediation followed by jury trial if necessary. Legendary appealed the decision and lost the appeal in March 2014, leaving the case in California Superior Court for trial.
Filming finally began March 18, 2013 in Vancouver. At the start of principal photography, Legendary formally announced the cast and producers. Yoshimitsu Banno, Alex Garcia, Kenji Okuhira and Patricia Whitcher were formally named as executive producers and Legendary announced the addition of Ken Watanabe to the cast. After filming started, Richard T. Jones and Sally Hawkins were added. From the film set, a photograph of actor Akira Takarada (star of the original Godzilla including five sequels) with director Edwards was released. Takarada had publicly appealed to be part of the production and the photo indicates some sort of role for the Japanese actor in the reboot.
Filming and production
Principal photography began on March 18, 2013 in Vancouver, under the working title of "Nautilus", with scenes shot at the Vancouver Convention Centre., inside BC Place, and in the vicinity of Cypress Mountain. This was followed by filming in the Richmond neighborhood of Steveston. A large battle scene was shot on Moncton St, involving approximately 200 soldiers and many military vehicles. Another scene was filmed at the fisherman's wharf. Additional shooting took place on Vancouver Island, around Nanaimo and Victoria in British Columbia. Additional filming involving extras took place around industrial areas of Coquitlam, British Columbia.
Further on-location filming was done in June and July 2013 in Honolulu, Hawaii. On June 2, 2013, over 2,000 people applied at an open casting call in Hawaii to be cast as extras. Over 200 extras were hired for the expected three weeks of shooting in Hawaii, which included dressing up Waikiki Beach as the site of disaster. According to The Hollywood Reporter, principal photography on Godzilla wrapped on the weekend of July 13–14.
Seamus McGarvey served as the film's cinematographer, shooting the film digitally using Arri Alexa cameras with Panavision C-Series anamorphic lenses. Sequences of the film set in the year 1954 were shot using vintage lenses from the early 1960s in order to give the film a "distant period feel". This effect was enhanced though the digital intermediate's colour grading, as McGarvey noted that the "look I wanted was a peeled look with muted colors and diffusion on the highlights, a sense of period distance. I found a lot of photographs and magazines, and I knew that I wanted the blacks to be imbued with a tint of magenta." Though the film was made to be released in 3D, it will receive a predominantly 2D release. McGarvey himself decided to shoot the film if it were only 2D, as he dislikes working with 3D filming equipment and the experience of watching 3D films in theatres.
Visual effects on the film will be supervised by visual effects supervisor Jim Rygiel, best known for his work on The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. Rygiel stated that the effects are in the spirit of the original series, with the blessing of Toho, although the monster will be "more dynamic than a guy in a big rubber suit." Visual and special effects companies working on the picture include The Moving Picture Company (MPC), Double Negative, Amalgamated Dynamics, CoomputerCafe/CafeFX, Lidar VFX, Scanline VFX, Stereo D and The Third Floor.
In an interview, Aaron Taylor-Johnson described the filming as mostly on-location, with very little use of green screens. He described the film crew as fairly small compared to other films he has worked on, "almost an independent production." CGI will be used to add elements later.
The movie's sound is to be mixed at Warner Bros.' studio in Burbank, California. The tracks will be mixed in the Dolby Atmos surround-sound format for exhibition in theaters with Atmos-equipped sound systems. It is being mixed by Gregg Landaker, who has won several Academy Awards for movie sound engineering.
In interviews at the 2013 Comic-Con, Edwards discussed the Godzilla creature design. He and the design group reviewed all previous incarnations of Godzilla's design for inspiration. Edwards commented, "The way I tried to view it was to imagine Godzilla was a real creature and someone from Toho saw him in the 1950s and ran back to the studio to make a movie about the creature and was trying their best to remember it and draw it. And in our film you get to see him for real." He went on to say that his Godzilla remains true to the original in all aspects. Edwards also stressed that, "It was important to me that this felt like a Toho Godzilla" and concluded by wishing, "I'd love ours (Godzilla) to be considered as part of the Toho group."
In October 2013, toy and collectible web sites offering pre-orders of merchandise for the film revealed aspects of the other creatures to appear in the movie. The other creatures are, as a group, known as "Mutos", with some having the ability to fly and being multi-limbed.
In a January 2014 interview in Total Film magazine, it was revealed that Godzilla will be 350 feet (110 m) tall. According to special effect chief Jim Rygiel, the mechanics of Godzilla's fighting style is based on the study of animals, primarily bears and Komodo dragons.
For Empire magazine's April 2014 issue, the magazine cover featured a picture of Godzilla, revealing the monster's design. According to director Edwards, elements of the faces of bears, dogs and eagles were incorporated into the design of Godzilla's face. Motion capture by the special effects firm The Imaginarium was also utilized in the movement of the movie's monsters in film sequences. According to director Edwards, Andy Serkis did motion capture sequences to "control the souls" of the creatures.
The Godzilla "roar" was revamped for the movie. Toho provided the original recording of the roar for use. Sound designer Erik Aadahl then utilized the original roar and improved on it, according to director Edwards. A sound clip of the roar was released by Warner Bros. to SoundCloud.
In an interview with The Verge, Edwards commented that it took over a year to design the "Muto" creatures, stressing that it took that long to create something that was aimed to be new and different for today's day and age. Edwards and the design team looked towards past monster characters from such films as Jurassic Park, Alien, Starship Troopers, and King Kong for inspiration and reflected back on what made these monsters and their designs so iconic. From this, the design for the "Muto" monsters kept evolving and "mutating", according to Edwards, into a design he felt was more cohesive.
Edwards was present at SXSW in Austin, Texas in March 2014 to host a screening of the original Godzilla film, as well as to show an exclusive sneak peak of the new film to audiences. Those in attendance confirmed that the footage referenced the "Muto" creature as "Hokmuto".
Film composer Alexandre Desplat was hired to compose an original soundtrack for Godzilla. Desplat had not composed previously for a monster film, having worked on movies such as The King's Speech, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and the last two Harry Potter films. Desplat accepted the contract after being impressed with Edwards' Monsters. Desplat describes the soundtrack for Godzilla as "non-stop fortissimo, with lots of brass, Japanese drums, and electric violin."
In promotion of the project, visitors to the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) received a t-shirt with an image of the new Godzilla design, an image credited to comics and manga publisher UDON Entertainment. Artist Gonzalo Ordóñez Arias worked with Legendary and Toho to create the painting. Further, visitors to the Legendary Pictures booth at the convention could view an animation of the new Godzilla breathing radioactive fire superimposed over their image captured via a webcam. The augmented reality promotion was designed by Talking Dog Studios of Saskatchewan, Canada.
At a session during the July 2012 SDCC, Legendary presented both a poster for the film and a teaser trailer. The teaser trailer included a depiction of Godzilla faithful to the Toho monster, including its roar, and a "gigantic centipede-like monster."
During filming in Vancouver, Legendary released several videos and still pictures of filming in Vancouver on its Facebook site. Pictures included a destroyed subway car with a green screen backdrop, soldiers inspecting a radioactive vault and wreckage on a shoreline.
In July 2013, Legendary launched a "viral" web site godzillaencounter.com in conjunction with the film. The company is promoting the film at the 2013 SDCC, and converted a warehouse in San Diego to the "Godzilla Encounter" exhibit in conjunction with the convention. According to USA Today, the exhibit is "part museum, part theme park" with displays to simulate an experience of a Godzilla attack. The exhibit also has artifacts from the franchise series, including the "Oxygen Destroyer" of the original film, and a Godzilla costume from Godzilla 2000. An audio sample was released on Godzillaencounter.com of an announcement suggesting Godzilla or a "gigantic atomic creature" attacking San Diego.
At a session at the 2013 Comic-Con, Legendary showed footage from the film. As reported by various media, the footage is of a large monster, reminiscent of the Cloverfield monster, attacking an airport, when Godzilla's foot appears next to the monster. Godzilla's height is revealed to be several times the size of the other monster and a battle ensues, but Godzilla's face is not revealed. Various clips of scenes with Cranston, Taylor-Johnson and Olsen were also shown.
In October 2013, the proof of concept footage shown at SDCC 2012 was leaked online and was available on several video sharing websites for several days before Warner Bros. and Legendary managed to have it fully removed.
The first official trailer was released online on December 10, 2013 and is set to be attached to theatrical showings of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug in select theaters. Also on December 10, Toho released a slightly different version of the trailer with Japanese subtitles, and a TV spot. Within two days, the trailer surpassed nine million views on YouTube. Legendary launched a viral web site www.mutoresearch.net just prior to the trailer release, with video from the trailer and the trailer itself. Toho launched a web site of its own, godzilla.jp, with a simple arcade game of Godzilla stomping on Tokyo and using his radioactive breath.
The second trailer was released on February 25, 2014. It revealed more scenes of destruction by Godzilla on San Francisco and Las Vegas, brief glimpses of other creatures, as well as a conspiracy plot intertwined with the atomic blast tests in the Pacific Ocean in 1954. Within three days, the video had recorded 13 million views on Youtube.
In cross promotion, Godzilla next appeared in a light-hearted commercial for the Snickers chocolate bar, playing ping pong and water skiing. A mad Godzilla is calmed by eating a Snickers bar. Godzilla is portrayed as both human-sized and much larger.
In June 2013, Variety reported that Warner Bros. Consumer Products and Legendary Entertainment had assembled a large team of partners to make licensed merchandise to be released in conjunction with the film. Bandai America will produce a line of toys, and other products will be produced by NECA, Jakks Pacific, Bioworld, Trevco, Rubie's and Sideshow Collectibles. Bandai and NECA will produce toys inspired by the film; JAKKS Pacific will produce large-scale figures and other toy products; Rubie's will produce Godzilla costumes; and Sideshow Collectibles will produce collectible statues.
A novelization, written by science-fiction writer Greg Cox, is scheduled to be published by Titan Books in May 2014, to coincide with the film's release. Cox has previously written novelizations for movies, including Legendary's own The Dark Knight Rises. He has written numerous Star Trek novels. Two other books are scheduled for release including Godzilla: With Light and Sound! for children, and Godzilla: The Art of Destruction, a collection of artwork, plus interviews with the director and cast members.
Legendary announced in January 2014, along with a video message by director Edwards, a tie-in graphic novel to be released on May 7, 2014, one week before the movie. Entitled Godzilla: Awakening, the novel's events take place decades before the events seen in the film. It is co-written by Greg Borenstein and the movie's screenwriter Max Borenstein, with cover art by Arthur Adams and interior art by Eric Battle, Yvel Guichet, Alan Quah and Lee Loughridge. The tagline is "Delve into an incredible mystery, generations in the making. At the dawn of the atomic age, humanity awakens lifeforms beyond imagination, unleashing monumental forces of nature."
Pictures of the line of toys, including a Godzilla "Atomic Roar" model by Bandai were leaked to the internet in March 2014. The Godzilla model has "atomic fire breath". The toys will ship in April 2014.
At WonderCon 2013, Guillermo del Toro expressed enthusiasm for a potential crossover between Godzilla and del Toro's Pacific Rim—another Legendary Pictures kaiju film—but stressed that no such plans are in place. In an interview at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con, Edwards expressed an interest in making a sequel that uses the "Monster Island" concept used in Destroy All Monsters.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Godzilla (2014 film).|
- Main official website
- Warner Bros official web site
- Official YouTube Channel
- Toho official web site
- Legendary official web site
- Aweken The Truth viral site
- M.U.T.O viral site
- Godzilla Encounter viral site
- Godzilla Augmented Reality demonstration Application by Talking Dog Studios
- Movie rating sites
- Godzilla at the Internet Movie Database
- Godzilla at allmovie
- Godzilla at Rotten Tomatoes
- Godzilla at Box Office Mojo
- Godzilla 3-D
- Holmes, Matt (August 7, 2007). "Godzilla 3D!". WhatCulture.com.
- Siretta, Peter (August 7, 2007). "Godzilla 3D gets a green light". Slash Film.