Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures have confirmed the beginning of production on the Godzilla reboot, a project that features Gareth Edwards serving as director and a human cast that includes several Oscar-nominees (and one winner) among its ranks.

We now have official confirmation for all the actors and actresses reported as being in talks for the giant monster blockbuster in recent months (while awaiting Frank Darabont’s final script re-write), as well as one more critically-acclaimed name that was not previously associated with the project. They will be working alongside hundreds of technicians and local extras from the city of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island – where the production is starting out.

Here’s the lowdown on the Godzilla production (via Canada.com):

The film, whose working title is Nautilus, did a casting call in February for extras and recently notified residents along Old Victoria Road that filming is about to begin. Joan Miller, the North Island film commissioner, says Vancouver Island will make up the first shots for the new take on the legendary radioactive monster, which is set to hit theatres next year. Crews will stay in Nanaimo hotels for three days while they shoot the scenes downtown and Ladysmith area before they move onto Shawnigan Lake.

Godzilla features Aaron-Taylor Johnson (Savages, Kick-Ass 2) as the human male lead, in addition to Elizabeth Olsen (Silent House), Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), Juliette Binoche (Cosmopolis) and David Strathairn (Lincoln) playing important leading or supporting roles. They will be joined by Ken Watanabe, whose Hollywood credits include The Last Samurai, Batman Begins and Inception; he’ll be appearing in a Japanese remake of the Clint Eastwood western Unforgiven releasing later this year (going under the non-English title Yurusarezaru mono”).

Ken Watanabe has joined the ‘Godzilla’ cast

Few concrete details have been revealed about the Godzilla reboot plot; though, Edwards says he and the credited screenwriters – which include Max Borenstein (The Seventh Son) and Dave Callaham (Doom, The Expendables) for a previous draft – intend to bring the franchise back to its roots, as a dramatic and serious disaster blockbuster which taps into the modern cultural zeitgeist (much like the original 1954 Japanese film dealt with the aftermath of the atomic bombings in WWII).

Here is a direct quote from Edwards, describing his approach on the project:

“I’ve always been interested in Godzilla and the ideas around him. I really wanted to see another Godzilla film and jumped at the opportunity. My main idea was to imagine ‘If this really happened, what would it be like?’ I want to take a grounded, realistic approach to a Godzilla film.”

Edwards faces a similar challenge as Jurassic Park 4 director Colin Trevorrow, in the sense that he’s also generated buzz as a promising new filmmaker – thanks to his effective mix of character-driven storytelling and low-budget special effects on the indie flick Monsters. He has our (and many fans) vote of confidence on the Godzilla reboot, thanks to his passionate display and the impressive test trailer shown at last year’s Comic-Con presentation.

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Godzilla opens in theaters on May 16th, 2014 – and yes, it will be presented in 3D.

Header Image from ‘Godzilla: Half-Century War,’ by James Stokoe, published by IDW Comics.

Source: Warner Bros./Legendary, Canada.com