Director Gareth Edwards Talks Bringing ‘Godzilla’ To Life Shaina411 May 16, 2014 Hip Hop Entertainment | Hip Hop TV, Film and Video Games “Godzilla” is now playing. Check out what the director Gareth Edwards had to say about bringing Godzilla to life. Can you speak about your decision to direct “Godzilla”? The film I did before this was this very small, low budget thing and we used to joke – cause it was five of us in a van driving around Mexico and it was very difficult making a film like that. We said, ok what has to happen after this film is over for it to feel worthwhile and we’d go around the van and say what about you and when it came to me I would say, “As long as I get to direct something again, even if it’s TV it’ll be worth it.” If somebody said actually your next gig will be “Godzilla” for Warner Brothers and Legendary I would have had a heart attack. That was never the goal and when you make a little film like that you end up having to do all these meetings in L.A. In two weeks I met like a hundred people. The best meeting I had was with Legendary and it just felt like, “Oh we’re gonna make something together. This is gonna work out, but I didn’t know what it was” and I left and then months went by and I thought, “Oh, I must have gotten that wrong.” And then suddenly a phone call came from Thomas and there was some random question about something else and right at the end he went, “Oh by the way if we had a really big franchise that was right up your street would you be interested?” I was like, sure! Depends what it was, but I mean never say never and he was like OK. And then two days later I got an email from my agent in LA saying get on the phone now we’ve got to tell you something. So I went home, there was a time difference. I was in England, I think I had been out with my friends drinking, so I went home and tried to sober up and then they were like, are you sitting down? I was like, ok. They were like, Legendary just called they want to know if you’d be interested in directing “Godzilla.” I was like fuckin’ hell. ’cause in my mind, if I was them, there was like a list of people I would call and I wasn’t probably on that list, so it was just one of these golden opportunities that you can’t really say no to. Who was the first guy you would have called? Steven Spielberg probably. How did your first film prepare you for taking on a franchise of this magnitude? It probably prepared me in the sense that it’s very full-on, tiring, all consuming marathon and you’re sort of cursed when you want to be a film maker because, for me anyway, the actual experience of making films is the hardest part of your whole life. It’s like child birth like people decided they want to be parents and then when you’re actually doing it it’s tiring and a really painful process sometimes. So I think the simple way to explain it is if you read the pros and cons of doing a low budget film when you do a high budget one, you just swap them over. Things that were really hard to do when you have no money are really easy to do with lots and things that are really easy to do when there’s just three of you are hard when there’s 300 of you. The thing I found was that the thing you spend most of your time on, rightly so, is trying to craft a 2 hour experience so that you don’t get bored, it’s not repetitive in a way you get pulled into the screen and sucked into the characters. That’s identical whether you’ve got ten cents or a hundred million dollars. I think that’s the same for everyone problem, that’s why there’s not that many classics every year being made. What are some of the luxuries that doing a big franchise like this affords you? Probably the biggest advantage, and also the biggest disadvantage is that nobody says no. So you can kind of do anything. Like, “what if we did this?” “OK” “What if we did this?” “OK” As in, they can afford to do all these things and make them happen on screen and so you have to hold yourself back because there’s this temptation to be a kid in a candy store and so what I was always trying to do was forget that, just close your eyes, listen to music and just picture scenes and shots and try and think, ok what would give me goose bumps when I was watching the cinema and go make that movie and try not to get seduced by all these things at your disposal because you can kind of do anything you want. There’s nothing stopping you from putting anything on screen these days and so we were trying to harp back to those late 70s, early 80s films that we grew up with where they couldn’t do everything they wanted and there was some restraint, there was clever story telling visually and that was our inspiration. Our benchmark films that we kept talking about when we were making it were those Spielberg films and James Cameron films. You said that no one told you know, was there anything that they told you no about? There’s conceptual things, like story-wise or character-wise. Like, everyone had a different opinion about when your forming a film. But in terms of logistics in, “ok I want to do this shot” the problem is if you create an image and you go Ok I want to do this and it looks really cool, that’s all they want as well and that’s what all this is about. So anything that looks great kind of, you go and do. You know,why wouldn’t you? Weirdly what was hard was trying to do intimate, smaller things. Like when you go and do a conversation with two characters in a house trying to do that where there’s some freedom and we did this like, there’s some sequences in the film where we got the crew all out of the way and kind of let the actors just improvise and ad-lib. That was something that’s really easy to do when you’ve got the money and that was really hard to do like, on the Hollywood level because everyone wants to know well what’s the next line in the dialogue and where are they gonna stand and they want to light all this stuff as opposed to being more free form with it. When you talk a little bit about the freedom and coming up with ideas, tell us a little bit about the conception of Godzilla’s opponents, the monsters because a lot of people were blown away. We knew we had to try and come up with a new creature. Everyone who does a film like this tries to come up with a new creature and everyone who does a film like this has to come up with a new creature, so it makes it really hard to try and find this unique result. So we tried lots of different things. One of the things we went for the most was I believe the best characters look good as silhouettes. You know when you have a warning Muto crossing or Godzilla crossing sign, you know what that character is because it becomes like a logo … So we went for something more graphical so we gave the very angular lines to the creature because in nature you get a lot of rounded lines in nature so we figured we’ll go really, nearly robotic with it and our justification for it was that those creatures use electromagnetism to see the world and hear the world and so in the same way that the other animals might use camouflage … they’d evolve like a stealth like structure to their muscles. So we looked at birds because one of them flies, but we looked at stealth bombers and things like this for the angular and the silhouettes. I felt it symbolically appropriate at the time there’s a subconscious association with stealth bombers and that they deliver nuclear missiles and things like that. So we wanted that silhouette when you see it you feel like it’s nearly a military aircraft. Can you speak about working with the cast? Everybody was amazing. I was very very lucky. I feel like, we had a list. I didn’t really write beyond the first choice because I was just like, we’ll deal with that when they say no. You say it’s Godzilla and to be honest nearly all of them, their first reaction is yeah I’m not sure I want to do that and you say no no no no, we’re not making that film that you’re picturing. We’re trying to do something serious. The way I would talk to them about it was sort of a lot of them you know they have a personal artistic project and then they have a commercial project and then they have another personal project. And I was like, you’ve got to view this as like, you’re personal project and come to it, like with all the emotion and seriousness that you would do that with. We sent the screen play, we did this little teaser that was for comic-con that was like a tone piece and then we sent them some previews. The Hawaii sequence was all pre-animated … It was kind of interesting. Everybody was kind of like eh I’m not sure … and then they got the stuff and then you’d get the phone call that said, OK we’re in. But everybody ended up doing it. What have you heard about the sequel? We don’t want to talk about it until we see how people embrace this film. I feel like, there’s even more fun to be had once the world’s established after an origins story, so I’d be really excited about it but really it’s like, let’s see what everyone thinks.