'Godzilla' Is Not A Sequel But It Begins In 1954


Godzilla is back, just in time for the 60th anniversary of the original Japanese film Gojira. The 2014 Godzilla is being directed by one of the biggest Gojira fans, Gareth Edwards. He previewed a scene at South by Southwest that showed his Godzilla facing off against a new monster called MUTO. In a Q&A after his presentation, Edwards revealed that his film begins in the year 1954, though it is not a sequel to the 1954 Gojira.

“It wasn’t based off the original but there are many, many nods to that film in our film, especially there’s a sequence in the beginning of the film that starts in 1954,” Edwards said. “There’s quite a few easter eggs if you like the original. We’re rebirthing it. That’s the phrase we want to say. It’s not a sequel to the ’54. The idea was to create a standalone movie. As much as I assume everyone here is a Godzilla fan, as much as you want to make a film for the fans, I really want to make a film for people who aren’t fans so they become fans. So it’s important to me that people who know nothing about the heritage of Godzilla sit and watch this movie and at the end go, ‘I’m going to get all the other ones’ and get into it.”

The idea for the computer generated Godzilla in Edwards film did stem from the look of the original “guy in a monster suit.” Edwards theorized that perhaps Gojira was based on secondhand reports of the actual monster he is portraying in his film.

“It’s kind of like witnessing a crime I guess,” Edwards said. “I’ve never witnessed a crime but you then try and tell the police what that person looked like. What I came up with was that imagine this is a real animal that really exists and 60 years ago someone saw him off the coast of Japan. They went running to Toho and tried to explain him, they drew him and they went and made their movies and they made the guy in the suit outfits. But if you really saw that creature, in our movie the idea is this is a real animal but you can still see how they arrived at that design based on the real thing.”

One mystery even Edwards could not solve was how to make Godzilla roar. The sound designer created it and refuses to tell the director how. “Erik Adahl who does sound design for Transformers on this side of the movie spectrum, and Tree of Life with Terrence Malick over here, has amazing range. He will not tell me how he did it. The way they did the 1954 one is they had a double bass and a leather glove with some resin on it. They fluked out and got this particular sound that they never repeat. We bought a double bass and a leather glove with some resin and wasted a lot of time trying to do this roar. I keep asking him what it is and he’s like, ‘I’m going to tell you when the film’s over because if you know, it’s going to spoil it for you. You’ll always be hearing that sound.’ So I don’t actually know is the answer.”

Godzilla attacks theaters May 16.

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