GENRE AFICIONADOS LOVE TO DEBATE. What science fiction franchise rules the galaxy? Which comic book company spawned the best characters? What iconic horror villain slays the other slashers? And when Godzilla vs. Kong roars into cinemas and living rooms globally this month, audiences will once again be forced to choose a side.
Simply put, the movie hinges on the ultimate showdown between the two legendary monsters, and fans have their favourites. Director Adam Wingard (Death Note, Blair Witch) says that even before he became attached to the project, he entertained an idea of which creature would emerge victorious… and then needed to re-evaluate those expectations.
“This actually goes back to an argument I had with my best friend in second grade, on the playground,” Wingard tells SFX over the phone. “A group of us were debating who would win in a fight, Godzilla or King Kong. I’m not going to reveal anything other than that. I felt my friend was very wrong and I was right.
“This is the most roundabout, expensive way to settle a schoolyard argument from second grade! I have the last word. I am going to have to reach out to him. He probably doesn’t even remember having this argument with me when we were kids, but it made an impression and now I have the last laugh,” he chuckles.
“The thing I love about these characters is that over the decades – and so many filmmakers have had a chance to put their spin on this – there’s something very iconic about a large primate and a giant, for lack of a better word, lizard,” he continues. “There’s something about the immediacy of those designs that allow us so much imprinting. They represented so many different things over the years. Godzilla is a pendulum of a character. He swings good and bad within successive films that have been made. And his roots are very serious, with the atomic bomb. But, for me, it’s a childhood memory that is something I really cherish and brought me up as a filmmaker.”
IT’S MADISON TIME
Millie Bobby Brown on being a badass
It’s been five years since King Of The Monsters. What is your character dealing with in terms of the fallout from the events in that film?
Five years have gone by and Madison has grown up. It’s definitely a coming-of-age story for her. Her storyline has evolved greatly in the way she deals with things, her attitude towards life and how she’s much stronger as a person. Madison has really tried to follow in her mother’s footsteps. She’s becoming more independent and understanding what she needs to do. Yeah, five years have gone by and she’s basically a badass.
Can you describe her connection to Godzilla?
In King Of The Monsters, her relationship with Godzilla was pretty distant. It was really only talks about him. I’m sure she was very curious. There are moments in Monsters where she gets some amazing scenes with him. But in Godzilla vs. Kong, it’s much more about the technical side of it, learning about the data of Godzilla as a Titan. It’s much more technical, so she’s becoming more knowledgeable about him.
How would you describe Madison’s dynamic with Josh?
Josh has taken Madison in after such a tragedy in the last movie. He’s taken her under his wing. As much as Madison is a force of nature and she is very direct, she does feel this vulnerable side when she’s around him. Josh kind of takes care of her in a silent way. Even in the scene today, we just had to share a look. I felt so uncomfortable because Madison never feels this way. We’re a good match and a beautiful friendship.
Where do we find Madison at the beginning of the film?
It opens with Madison in a school and it’s lit. I am wearing a really cool outfit! No, we open up with the friendship that people get introduced to.
Can you talk about the difference between working with Adam Wingard on this movie and Michael Dougherty on King Of The Monsters?
They’re very different as people, but they have the same energy on set. They are ultimate fanboys of Godzilla. This is really their dream, and to work with someone who’s so passionate about the movie you’re in… it’s fun, because you get to feel like you’re part of their dream, too. And they’re so passionate and dedicated and driven to making every scene and every detail perfect.
Godzilla vs. Kong serves as the latest chapter in Warner Bros’ MonsterVerse franchise, following 2014’s Godzilla, 2017’s Kong: Skull Island and 2019’s Godzilla: King Of The Monsters. Taking place five years after Monsters, it finds Godzilla rampaging across the globe. The covert organisation Monarch decides that the planet’s only chance of survival lies with retrieving King Kong and deploying him against his alpha enemy.
It all begins with a Monarch team, led by Alexander Skarsgård’s Nathan Lind, embarking on a mission into the Hollow Earth to unravel the true origins of these two beasts and lure them, and any other mammoth menaces roaming on the surface, back into the depths. Of course, the expedition goes horribly wrong.
“I wanted to know where the monsters came from and where the monsters were going,” Wingard says. “In addition to giving more details of who Godzilla and King Kong are as characters – which was the main draw for me, not just treating them as monsters but as real characters in the movie – the film is really an exploration of the future and the past.
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