Godzilla press conference with Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson
Promoting the release of Godzilla, The Upcoming caught up with director Gareth Edwards, producer Thomas Tull and lead actors Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson as they discussed their experiences of the film and how they would react to a monster invasion.
Why did you decide to make Godzilla now, in 2014?
Thomas Tull: Well we have the rights! But I’ve been a big Godzilla fan since childhood, I wanted to bring a fresh perspective to the film. And now we have a fantastic director and a cast that could easily be doing Shakespeare somewhere.
I first noticed Gareth’s work when I saw Monsters, he’s a real talent behind the camera and he’s the only director we talked to about directing the film.
Bryan Cranston: I thought it would just be another monster movie, but it isn’t. It has a strong character-led narrative, it’s about families, it’s a very clever script. It has the epic monsters but also characters you care about and root for.
What did you enjoy about playing your characters?
Aaron Taylor-Johnson: I enjoyed playing a military guy, I found it intriguing to do that. I like that he’s a father and a husband, the script has a strong family element, but it’s also about a fight for survival.
Elizabeth Olsen: I enjoyed playing the responsible mother character, trying to protect a child from what they are witnessing and not showing fear.
Did you have a clear idea of what you wanted to achieve with the movie?
Gareth Edwards: The story of Godzilla has really stood the test of time and there’s an infinite amount of ways we could have gone with it: it was hard to decide on one path.
When filming Monsters, it has been said you did a lot of the special effects in your bedroom, did you miss that DIY aspect when making this budget picture?
GE: Yeah, I kept saying can I just do one shot for old time’s sake? And they kept saying “yeah yeah yeah,” but after the first week it was clear it was never going to happen, there just wasn’t time. But we had the best visual effects people in the business, so it was easy to hand over that baby to them.
The female characters in Godzilla all play supporting roles, why is that? Is it a commercial decision?
EO: The lead character Ford needs a counterpart, it’s his journey, the film is very much about fatherhood. If we need to follow one character it makes sense story-wise to follow someone in the military. But I never felt my character was a bystander.
GE: Godzilla is actually female! We would have changed it to queen of the monsters but it didn’t have the same ring to it. In the early drafts of the script we did have a female lead but we ended up with a male. There are so many great examples of female heroes in action films, Alien is my personal favourite.
Which is your favourite Godzilla film?
BC: The 1954 one. I was a huge Godzilla fan as a kid. I had a collection of figurines and would make cities out of dirt and my Godzilla would crush it. There have been others which have had different levels of success, but I’m happy with this one as it focuses on the characters.
This version of Godzilla is so plausible and routed in reality, was this your intention?
TT: Yeah, we had a set of rules that we followed, we didn’t want to make anything camp. From the very beginning we asked ourselves what would happen? What would the reactions of the characters be if this really happened?
GE: I like to take things seriously, the disaster would be terrible, like the Second World War or worse. It would be an emotional, life-changing event for these characters and we wanted to show that. It’s most fun for the audience to believe what they see and be part of the world.
Nuclear power is at the forefront for this film, is this an anti-nuclear power film?
GE: Yeah, it is really. Right at the beginning we sat down and said what is this film about? And really Godzilla represents nature and the film is about man’s abuse of nature and how the more we try to control nature the more it backfires, especially with nuclear power.
As a director, what is your game plan for the future, will you continue to make blockbusters or more personal films?
GE: When I make a personal film I want it to be as popular as it can be – what’s the point of making a film if no one goes to see it? And, when I do a more commercial film I want it to be as personal as it can be. The goal is to find a balance of combining the two.
Aaron, will there be a Kickass 3?
AJ: I’m not contracted to do three, but I wasn’t contracted to do two, so you never know.
BC: What about Kickass vs Godzilla? Just throwing it out there!
What would you do if your city was really attacked by monsters like Godzilla?
EO: I’d call my mother and make sure she was OK.
BC: I’d just make a sandwich and watch it all unfold on TV like some sort of sporting event.
TT: I think I’d go round to Bryan’s and have a sandwich with him.
BC: We’re all gonna die, might as well enjoy it!
How do you feel about your growing profiles as celebrities? How has fame changed your lives?
EO: I just feel very lucky to work with such great actors, the ensemble cast of this film is just awesome, and I’m grateful to be a part of it. But my actual life hasn’t changed very much.
BC: An actor is always hoping for opportunity, and we’re very fortunate to have it. If that’s what stardom means I accept that. If it gives me more say in the roles I take, that’s what I aim for. Everything is a stepping stone to have more opportunities in your work. It’s the fans who create a classic, it’s up to them, hopefully in the future people will look back on Godzilla and say that was fantastic.
GE: I never expected any of this to happen, if I think about it too long I get emotional or get the shakes.
Will there be a Godzilla sequel?
EO: Maybe the ghost of Bryan Cranston vs Godzilla!
GE: We’re not jinxing it, we want to see how people respond, maybe after 17th May we’ll be able to figure it out.
BC: That’s like just having a baby and people asking “are you going to have another?”
Godzilla is released nationwide on 15th May 2014. Read our review here.