Frank Darabont Talks About His ‘Godzilla’ Script

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Frank Darabont Godzilla Frank Darabont Talks About His Godzilla Script

News has been coming in fast on Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla remake. Earlier this month, we shared the news that Frank Darabont had signed on to rewrite the film. Then we reported that Aaron Johnson was in talks to play the lead.

Today, we have some more information on the project from Darabont himself. In a recent interview, Darabont talked about the tone of the new film and how it compared to the original series.

Speaking with io9, Darabont expressed a desire to return Godzilla to his roots as a “giant, terrifying force of nature” as opposed to the “mascot” that he became in later films.

“What I found very interesting about Godzilla is that he started off definitely as a metaphor for Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And some of the atom bomb testing we were doing in the South Pacific in the subsequent years. The giant terrifying force of nature that comes and stomps the s**t out of your city, that was Godzilla. Filtered through the very fanciful imaginations of the Japanese perception. And then he became Clifford the Big Red Dog in the subsequent films. He became the mascot of Japan, he became the protector of Japan. Another big ugly monster would show up and he would fight that monster to protect Japan. Which I never really quite understood, the shift.”

Darabont went on to say that he didn’t want the film to be campy, and also that “there was a very compelling human drama” in the film that wasn’t a cliched romance.

godzilla reboot Frank Darabont Talks About His Godzilla Script

As much as I enjoy movies like Mothra vs. Godzilla, Darabont’s approach seems like the right direction for the reboot. Godzilla works as a loveable hero, but he works better as a “force of nature,” as confirmed by the successful reaction to the movie’s test footage at Comic-Con this past year.

Giant, terrifying monsters seem to be making a comeback with both Godzilla and Guillermo Del Toro’s Pacific Rim. The trailer for the latter film has gotten a huge response so far. One can only hope that Godzilla ends up delivering the goods, as well.

Godzilla hits theaters on May 16th, 2014.

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Source: io9

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TAGS: godzilla

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  1. I…do not feel optimistic about this film. I’ve tried to feel optimistic for it because I’ve been a Godzilla fan for about 20 years now (since I was 3)

    I have SEEN what happens when you mess with the big G (Godzilla 98, anyone?)
    It’s just so hard to muster any sort of faith in this. I wish I could because I’ve been wanting Godzilla to make a comeback for a while now.

    • I hear ya, but this will not be G98, you can bet on that.

      In the meantime, check out the Millenium series (most of them anyway), if you haven’t already. The same goes with a few of the Heisei films. Avoid Space Godzilla, Destoroyah(sorry its garbage cept for Ifukube music), Final Wars, Godzilla 2000, and even The Return of Godzilla(G1985), as they all are crappy. Make sure to watch them in Japanese, not dubbed! :D

      B

      • Final Wars gets points for showing classic Godzilla kick the s*** out of 90s Godzilla.

        • lol I’ll give you that one.

          B

    • Same here…feel less then optimistic with darabont on board !
      He him self even admits he doesn’t get it what makes Godzilla “GODZILLA” !

      From his comment,it seems he will cut out all other Monsters he would fight,..so no more Monster Battles…and good old Godzilla battles them ! Seems he will make it just another misstep,a nature of force..a single Monster that comes and earth people..HUMAN DRAMA and LOVE STORY..need to fight for their survival ! I think so as well at the moment..he does not get “it” !!!

      But we all have our own view about it..so yeah ! Hope I am wrong !

  2. Darabont just doesn’t “get it”. No American does. This film is going to blow harder than a day old pot of collard greens. Hopefully its so bad, the Japanese make a new Godzilla film in response just to save face.

    • And what’s “it”? Please tell me, I wanna be on the in and be cool like you!

      • You wouldn’t understand. You aren’t Japanese.

        • If you’re not going to take the time to explain, don’t bother posting. Otherwise you’re just an arrogant flame baiter that doesn’t get an even bigger “it”. Godzilla can and has reached out in popularity for more than simply the Japanese and can be properly adapted to any said culture without disrupting the core of the character. Get over it.

          • This is a gripping argument.

        • @Rhyan

          That is the weakest and borderline racist comment I have ever heard. Darabont is correct, Godzilla is a Force of Nature, a result of Humankind development of Nuclear Weapons and Material.

          Godzilla is and always will be Mankind Hubris, his popularity made him more of a hero when other monsters threaten Japan, it was Godzilla who rose to the occasion.

          This is where Godzilla went awry, he is not a hero, he is a monster and unstoppable monster, a force so powerful he cannot be rendered or defeated by mankind.

          Newer versions of Godzilla, established this, Godzilla was more of an Anti Hero, and only defeated threats to him that he deemed more hostile. Godzilla Final Wars returned Godzilla to what he was, and he was in the last 30 minutes of the movies, he was needed to defeat the other monsters, and in the end…he was left alone not out of fear, but out of Respect.

          So Ryhan

          Take your arrogant and pompous statement, I still think it was a bit racist. Some of us are older than you and know what Godzilla use to be.

          And that was the most feared creature on the planet.

    • Final Wars was so bad I’m glad Toho bailed afterwards! The rest of the Millenium series, especially GMK, were cool though.

      Reserve any ideas about this film until you see it. Plain and simple.

      Some Americans get it quite accurately, actually.

      I have faith in this film. I’ve been a fan for 32 years, I’ve seen them all a dozen or so times, and over half of them are atrocious. I’d say more than half, actually. Saying any American Godzilla film has to end up like g98 is ridiculous. btw G98 is far and away my most HATED movie ever made.

      RIP Akira Ifukube, btw. Hopefully they use a few cues.

      B

    • Lets see Rhyan, you claim Americans are not Japanese and they dont get Godzilla.

      Yet you use a metaphor that is Southern United States. So that leads me to believe, you are way to young to know what you are talking about.

      Or you are a person trying to be something that you think we would think you are.

      Which we all pretty much now can ascertain that you are a troll.

    • Gojira was born out of aftermath of the nuclear bombing of the Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Later changed to be the testing of Nuclear Weapons by the Americans.

      Gojira was the manifestation of psyche of Japanese Citizens. Godzilla, would not have existed, without the involvement of the United States.

      And this is seldom known, but to only few Godzilla Fans. Godzilla was a result of the success of what was the Grandfather of All Monster Movies, of a monster taken from his home, and his desire to protect one woman…..King Kong.

      So Toho saw the success of King Kong and developed their own Kong, Gojira aka Godzilla aka King of the Monsters.

      And in 1962 King Kong vs Godzilla, was one of the most successful movies, albeit their Version of Kong was bigger, and had a special power.

      So, Without King Kong, or Fatman and Little Boy, Godzilla might not have existed.

  3. Sounds like he knows what he’s talking about.

    Look at how great Cloverfield was. Huge rampaging monster, people running for their lives and not knowing what the hell is going on.

    Change that monster to Godzilla, feature it more on screen, remove the reality tv style found footage aspect and I think this could be one of the great monster movies of all time.

    • In case you didn’t notice, Cloverfield blew chunks.

      • You’re really trolling hard here. Cloverfield was great, and I have high hopes for this

        • For a grand total of 15 minutes, maybe.

          B

          • Yep, Bri and Rhyan are definitely trolling guys.

            Cloverfield was amazing and this new Godzilla will be too.

            • No if I have to watch another movie where there’s a guy acting like a dumbass while constantly spinning his camera around…I’ll pass. Cloverfield was okay at best but the cinematography was terrible and the story was just ookay-nothing noteworthy. I have a good feeling about the new godzilla though-can’t wait!

            • I’ve been a G fan for 32 years, there’s nothing trolling about what a terrible film overall Cloverfield really was.

              What Cloverfield DID show for a grand total of MAYBE 15 minutes, was the imagination of what a modern G film COULD look like.

              Amazing? LOL

              You and I watched different films, I suppose. The characters were deplorable, the writing absolutely atrocious, and the filmmaking completely unwatchable for nearly the entire film.

              B

              • I’m with Bri on this one guys and I’m not a troll. The found footage, shaky camera, monster movie where you see monster for a total of about 45 seconds throughout the movie, the rest is camera waving all over the place while the characters run. It’s a horrible monster movie. Cloverfield is only good if you are a fan of T.J. Miller, but you can’t stand his face.

    • The entire point of Cloverfield was to put the viewer in a first person perspective of a disastrous event and put you through the experience of these characters. It was never going to have steady and sweeping visuals of destruction and nonstop monster action. I guess it’s not for everyone but I certainly enjoyed it :)

  4. I’m sorry but isn’t Godzilla suppose to be a “Japanese” thing? If so why not cast Japanese actors?

    • About once every 10-15 years an American studio thinks it can produce a quality Godzilla movie. So they try and it inevitably tanks. Then the Japanese are so embarrassed by the reek of the fail floating over across the Pacific, they make their own and right the ship again.

      • It’s not about which country the film is being made in or who is making it. It’s just that they are casting a white guy for the lead. Hollywood has a way of not allowing people of other races to play the lead role in movies which could potentially be a big hit.

        (Avatar-The Last Air-Bender) —- Could have probably been one of the best movie franchise’s but it was totally f***** over because they decided to get people who could hardly act and had little resemblance to the original source.

        Also another example is “Akira” I heard they were going to be turning that into a film, and all the people who were rumored to be in the main roles were white.

        I’m multiracial(Black & White) by the way….

        • They already made Akira, it’s called Chronicle! :D

          It was awesome, too.

          B

          • WOW O.O I’ve seen the trailer for that movie but I didn’tpay attention to it.

            • Now Chronicle is a movie to see. The director(Josh Trank) was immediately snapped up for the Fantastic Four reboot.

              It was very Akira-ish. It’s not really a found footage film, though the majority of it was filmed by one of the characters. Barely any “shaky-cam” though, and some very very clever ways used to take the camera “out of the characters hands” as the film progresses. I can’t tell you more without spoiling it, but it’s a shocker of a movie. I was very impressed.

              B

              • I agree. Chronicle was a great movie to start out the awesome 2012 movie year.

        • Although there is something to Hollywood’s ethnicity problem, I’m pretty most people regard The Last Airbender as a failure for much more than the casting.

      • Since we only made 1, this statement is ludicrous. The reason G98 sucks a s s wasn’t because it was American, it was due to Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich(who ISNT AN AMERICAN in case you didn’t know). Crappy writers and directors make crappy films. Darabont and Edwards are neither.

        Have faith in this one, they have too much riding on this to crank out a G98.

        I’m not thrilled it’s being shot in 3D, but w/e.

        B

      • Wrong.

        Only been one attempt at an American Godzilla Movie. And that sucked big time.

        Since I am almost 45, I am having a hard time to think about the American Version of Godzilla that happen every 10-15 years.

      • but of course every Godzilla movie Japan has made is an international blockbuster. Go home troll

  5. I really like the ’98 Godzilla. Then again I grew up with it. Pretty much if there’s a big monster breaking stuff I’m on board.

    • I’m with you there, I didn’t think the 98 Godzilla movie was that bad, just too much focus on Matthew Broderick for my liking.

  6. There was a lot wrong with Avatar….Mainly the fact that Disney had made the film twice before. Pocahontas and Fern Gully. It was the most half-arsed story ive ever seen from something that made so much money. With s*** acting and cliché characters. Had the film worked out in 5mins.

    Also, the ‘amazing’ effects in the film that were meant to be special…were basically the same as any other computer animation, except they went the most expensive and most difficult way round of doing it. It looked no more real or special to me than any other computer generated effects…it was actually harder to tell which horses were computer generated in LOTR than care about Avatars ‘special’ animation, which says a lot.

    Godzilla will be no different, It will be naff. The story has to be the same there isnt room for it to change that much…It will be something along the lines of:

    1. ‘Im the Hero and I think there is something strang in the sea…but none of you believe me!! WHYYYYYY!???’

    2. ‘Wait..whats that? Strange…something is happening!!?? ITS GODZILLA!!! DONT KNOW HOW WE NAMED IT THAT, WE JUST DID!!!!…But Mr Hero told you so!

    3. ‘Its destroying the city!!!! Oh my god…the army cannot do anything, even with tanks and missiles!!…But wait…maybe…just maybe…Mr Hero can suddenly turn into an action hero and be the only man to stop this monster he couldnt possibly know anything about!!?? YES, THATS IT!’

    4. ‘Suddenly after somehow avoiding being eaten, stomped, blown up…while somehow developing a relationship with a woman….the answer arrives!!!…Mr Hero knows how to save the day!!!

    5. ‘Godzilla gets done over by a seemingly blindingly obvious and anti-climatic reason….with a hidden moral message for good measure! REJOICE!!’

    Change the details how you wish, you know it will be like that.

    • I highly doubt any of this is accurate. Watch and see. Since we already know full well that there will be more than 1 Kaiju in this film, everything you typed is already disproved.

      B

      • Seen the script then have you?!

        • Have YOU? Touche.

          B

          • It’s not good form to award yourself a touche.

            • Much better form to make sweeping uninformed generalizations, that fail to take into account the one MAJOR fact that has been stated over and over again since this project started.

              B

    • Metal, you nailed it!!!!!

  7. wish i had seen the test footage. this all sounds good on paper but it’s hard to form an opinion at this point

  8. Didn’t they make this already and call it Cloverfield?

  9. Godzilla will always be done as a cheesy fighting monster and as a source of terror. Because on the one hand he’s a giant lizard that’s wrecking the city, and on the other hand he’s a giant lizard that’s wrecking the city.
    The only question is if in this particular instance the guy doing the serious take is well-suited to it, and I really believe Darabont is.

  10. Funny how many get up in arms over Rhyan’s posts. And yet, if this was Star Wars – for example – being remade by the Japanese, and badly, you’d probably be a little pissed off and ‘can you stop trying to screw with this franchise?’ in opinion.

    Godzilla is a Japanese creation. It’s Japanese in its very DNA. I’ve noticed America seems to have a ‘problem’ with just about anything produced in any other country that becomes too successful… Of the top of my head: The Beatles; Godzilla; The Office; Girl With the Dragon Tattoo; The Ring etc. etc. As soon as something is a hit in another country, you can bet they’ll be fast-tracking through an American version/remake which always has to be ‘bigger’ but is very seldom ‘better’. It’s almost like “how dare anybody film something that’s a success and hasn’t been made in Hollywood. We’ll do our version!”. Same with TV series too for that matter…

    I’d only have real faith in this if it was a true Japan/US production with a Japanese cast… (I’m British by the way, and just want to see a true ‘back to its roots’ Godzilla on the big screen).

    -N

    • Godzilla hasn’t been overtly successful for about 2 and a half decades. Box office results have been horrible by Japanese standards. I’ve done some research for a college course on the idea that this might be Godzilla’s last big chance to become relevant to today’s world again. Just because the big guy is in a lot of movies and he was created in Japan doesn’t mean that it is really successful and popular there. Yes, moreso than the States, but we overestimate its popularity. We also can’t mix popularitywithsomething widely known in pop culture. In my experiece conducting a survey, just about everyone knows what Godzila is. Most of those people do not care for Godzilla movies or haven’t even seen one.
      Faith in a new and popular Godzilla should come from good film writers, good directors, cast, etc. It isn’t about where they’re from, it’s about understanding the thematic elements and relatability of Godzilla to the people living in this world today.

      • Right on, man. It really is a shame that the future of Godzilla may hang in the balance whether or not it gets made and if it becomes successful and received well.

    • That’s just how the world works. American studios want to put American money and talent into a proven commodity that they know will stir up interest and profit. We can only hope that the people put in charge really want to do right by the fans and the property itself.

    • I’m British too and honestly think the Americans did The Office much better than we did.

      They do sitcoms better than us too.

      We have – Mrs Brown’s Boys, Outnumbered, Not Going Out, People Like Us, Citizen Khan

      They have – Frasier, Cheers, Everybody Loves Raymond, three much more superior comedies (although it maybe says a lot that U can only name US sitcoms that are no longer being made because The Big Bang Theory and a lot of others currently just aren’t funny).

      Also, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo remake starred mostly British actors, was set in Sweden and pretty much followed the original so closely that it’s almost like they made it for the people who never heard of the original or don’t bother with subtitled movies (and there are people in the UK like that too).

      Besides, the Millenium trilogy was actually a TV serial with all three books aired in two part stories so they weren’t actually proper full length movies.

      • Sorry have to disagree with you about british sitcom’s, how about Only fools and horses, Fawlty Towers The Inbetweeners just name a few

        • Only Fools and Fawlty Towers I agree with, Inbetweeners was terribly unfunny.

    • @Nerfherder.

      No, it was his claim that we would not understand because we “Arent Japanese”

      We do not have to be Japanese to understand the legend of Godzilla. As a person who has been to ToHo Studios a couple of times when in Japan, I have to say, I been watching Godzilla Movies in various forms, sizes, colors, abilities, strengths and weaknesses.

      And there aint a lick of Japanese in me.

      His Comment, was borderline bigotry, I used racist earlier, but it is more bigotry and that is what I took exception to.

  11. Total and complete faith with this one. Frank Darabont’s no hack. Gareth Edwards is an unproven talent, but he seems up to the task.

    Godzilla was never really just about Japan and their culture. He was about the unbridled danger that the atomic age had brought. As far as I’m concerned, that translates in any nationality.

    And in my opinion, Godzilla v Destoroyah had the best Godzilla costume design of any G movie, and simply for that it’s my favorite.

    • Agreed on both fronts, Although, Godzilla films have many Japanese characteristics along with the universal metaphor, and these Japanese characteristics such as the interest more in the fanciful and fantastic elements over backstory and explanation(leading to a lot of contrivances).

      Destroy ah Godzilla. Definitely the coolest.

    • I actually liked Biollante’s G suit(the “cat”). Several from the Heisei series were cool though.

      B

  12. Godzilla seems so basic to make but at the same time, it’s one of the most complex things to make.

    I think of it has having a head of hair that can only be cut in a couple of different ways: you can add some sort of material that may or may not stick to give a new appeal and take away things that make the original hair look ridiculous at the time, but in the end you can’t cut it too short without making everything that the hair defines unrecognizable and ridiculous

  13. I think this guy is on the right track with Godzilla. It seems that he understands that character quite well. I’m excited to see his take on this in a movie.

  14. I’m feeling very good about this. I’ve been a Godzilla fan when I was a kid, and this makes me feel that nostalgic feeling again. Recently I watched for the first time the original Gojira, and I gotta say that that one is definitely my favorite Godzilla film. That is the film that depicted godzilla as a dark Satan-like monster, not that campy cooky monster we’ve seen him in later films. I’m glad Darabont is working on this. He seems to know what Godzilla is really about. He’s not a superhero, or some “protector.” None of that s***. He’s a symbol of man’s biggest sin against nature. To all those who are upset about the “drama,” darkness, or even the possibility that Godzilla may be flying solo in this film, just view the original film, because THAT is the core of Godzilla’s character! He rises silently from the ocean, the military can’t stop him, he turns a city to flames, and women and children weep as people die. Godzilla is dramatic by nature! He’s serious s***! If your against it, well than I guess you’re not much of a Godzilla fan. I can’t wait for this film. It looks like its going in the right direction.

  15. As news started to flow in about a new Godzilla my interest level was pretty low. I would watch it when it hit Blu-ray but that’s about it.
    But lately my interest has risen pretty high…
    Gareth Edwards seems really passionate about the project and what he did with Monsters with next to no money and a crew of 3 or 4 people was impressive to say the least.
    And now Frank Darabont is writing the script. I’m sold, all in.
    The man behind The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, The Mist (one of my favorites of the past 10yrs and I suggest everyone watch it in Black & White) and also the reason The Walking Dead is on TV has a pretty stellar track record IMO.
    Also if you really want to geek out read his original script for A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors. All my ranting is to stress the point that Darbont is a smart and great hire and that I think Godzilla deserves to be high on most movie geeks anticipation list…
    Cheers… :)

  16. I like monster movies. I will go to this in the theater regardless of casting, advertising, and anything else studios use to sell major movies. After watching it, I will pass judgement. Just like I’ve done in the past with movies like Godizilla 98 and Cloverfield…which both, in my opinion, were horrible. It’s a great time to be a fan of these types of movies, Pacific Rim this year and Godzilla the next. Very exciting.

    • Del Toros Pacific Rim looks cool, although I still think the shots of the dual pilots are pretty silly.

      I’ll be there day 1 at opening for sure.

      B

  17. A new Godzilla movie will succeed if it can give you a legitimate nightmare, if the monster graphically kills people.. Well not too graphic it has to stay at least PG-13 although I’m personally not opposed to an R rated Godzilla. It needs to make people feel small, really small. It needs to peak nerd interest in a fascinating way, like the very beginning of G98 with the Atomic test but much better! You need shocks, striking shocks and make each of the audience feel like Godzilla is after them personally, so much so that each one leaves a sweat stain on the seat and an academy award winning score. Someone who’s into classical music but perfectly at home with plenty of other types of music and not afraid or reluctant to draw from even the most edgy.

    It also needs an actor that’s cool, Clint Eastwood cool but not Clint Eastwood! Someone the audience takes very seriously but genuinely likes. Someone that shows up and tells people what’s what and the audience believes them. I think it’s also important that the audience be unsure of Godzilla’s fate. They want to believe that it’s gone but.. they don’t know for sure. That might be just about the most important thing of all…

    • Agreed, Godzilla’s destructive force & power should be a focal point, something awe inspiring with cinematography that rams the imagery deep into the audiences brains.

      Although gratuitous violence & foul language etc, I think would take away from the franchises exceptional history of avoiding these cheap story telling crutches.

  18. This is probably the best chance the Godzilla franchise is going to get in a long time to come. Something like Cloverfield – but taken to the next level, (& not shot on shaky HD camera) would be truly special.

    My personal dvd/blu-ray library has almost every Godzilla film made to date, so I’m no stranger to the franchise or it’s Kaiju Eiga brethren.

    But in all honesty, there’s never really been a good Godzilla movie, nothing you could show to someone & not have them look at you with a raised eyebrow, wondering if you’ve lost your mind.

    Ideally for a truly great Godzilla film, we’d need Japanese flavor, but with Hollywood production values. Something the Gamera films from the 1990′s almost pulled off, especially the third installment.

    Anyway, I’ll be keeping my expectations low.

  19. I am not sure how, but my script was stolen by these Hollywood hucksters….I wrote the book in August 2010 and discussed publishing the book with a writer in NYC….My book was same idea, without the Godzilla theme.

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