Director Gareth Edwards intends to return the Godzilla franchise to its serious and allegorical roots with his developing reboot, which Elizabeth Olsen confirmed when she revealed the project is anything but a light-hearted giant monster romp. Of course, select members of our staff have been well aware of that – following the screening of an apocalyptic conceptual teaser at the 2012 Comic-Con.

Olsen is among the heralded screen actors and actress currently in negotiations to play humans in Godzilla. The cast will be drawing from a story created by David S. Goyer (The Dark Knight trilogy), as scripted by Max Borenstein (The Seventh Son) and, most recently, refined by Oscar-nominee Frank Darabont (creator of The Walking Dead TV show).

Variety has learned that Oscar-nominee David Strathairn is the latest prestigious name to begin circling the Godzilla reboot, with his under-wraps role possibly being that of “a military figure.” The seasoned actor has been appearing in movies since 1979, while his recent noteworthy roles include Edward R. Murrow in Good Night, and Good Luck., Noah Vosen in The Bourne Ultimatum and Legacy, William Seward in Lincoln, and Dr. Lee Rosen on the TV series Alphas.

Olsen (star of Martha Marcy May Marlene and Silent House) might be playing the female human lead in Godzilla, possibly appearing opposite Aaron Johnson (Kick-Ass, Savages) as the male human lead. Strathairn, if he signs on, will round out a cast that’s shaping up to include Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) and Oscar-winner Juliette Binoche (Cosmopolis) in pivotal supporting roles.

Legendary has learned its lesson well, following the critical and financial success of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. Hence, it’s reusing the formula that proved so beneficial to that series – by recruiting ambitious directing talent with something to prove (see: Edwards following his indie breakout on Monsters), in addition to solid writing talent and top-notch actors. This helps in elevating might have otherwise been yet another instantly disposable popcorn blockbuster into something more meaningful (and with greater box office rewards to boot).

This Summer’s Man of Steel and Pacific Rim are using similar blueprints, which is why Legendary and Warner Bros. is banking so heavily on those flicks proving worth their while (especially in the case of director Zack Snyder’s Superman movie reboot). However, if those investments pay off, it will give all the more reason to expect great things from Edwards’ Godzilla on all fronts.

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Godzilla opens in theaters on May 16th, 2014.

Source: Variety