This interview contains SPOILERS for Godzilla: King of the Monsters
In Godzilla: King of the Monsters, the world is soon over run by the Titans, the kaiju that once populated the Earth. Soldiers from the organization Monarch (called the G-Team) join the fray and try to help the civilians who are caught between the monsters skirmish. Officer Barnes (played by O'Shea Jackson Jr) is one of the soldiers, and soon him and and his fellow members of G-Team will be facing off against the King of the Monsters himself.
Screen Rant had the chance to talk to O'Shea Jackson Jr about his involvement in the new film, but we mostly talk about his love for the Godzilla and his excitement to be in this film.
Screen Rant: First off, I don’t know if you made it clear...but I think you’re a Godzilla fan?
O’Shea Jackson Jr: MY MAAANN...I’m the best one they got! (laughs)
Screen Rant: So I just wanna nerd out with you for the next minutes, what is it about Godzilla that you love so much?
O’Shea Jackson Jr: As a kid I ain’t seen nothing like it. I loved dinosaurs and things like that but then my dad came home with like the coolest dinosaur that I’d ever seen. You know, it was somewhere between a dragon and a TRex, and I was like... this needs to have my spare time all the time. And from there my brother showed me Sci-Fi Channel, and I think the first movie I saw was Godzilla VS MechaGodzilla. After that I was just like, alright I’m into this thing.
And I’d kept noticing...this three headed dragon. This three headed dragon is in a lot of these movies. (Laughs) Maybe even randomly. And like the fire thing happened, and he appears. So I’m like...this dude is the biggest issue that Godzilla has. And then I remember the first time I saw Mothra, but...she beat him!
Screen Rant: Yeah!
O’Shea Jackson Jr: I was like, what’s going on? Is it the end of the movie? (Laughs) So after that I was like, slowly getting into the lore, and then heavier ones like...my most feared monster is Gigan…
Screen Rant: Dude…
Screen Rant/O’Shea Jackson JR: GIGAN!
O’Shea Jackson Jr: He should have lost, Godzilla should have lost.
Screen Rant: He should have! Gigan is scary man! With the four buzzsaw hands essentially…
O’Shea Jackson Jr: You know with the hook and the pull towards...UH! So Gigan by far is the worst thing possible. And then after that is when...Godzilla’s son gets killed, by Destroyah and Biollante...and stuff, so I just started to love those films. And then...the USA got their own. With the Matthew Broderick one…
Screen Rant: Yeaaah….
O’Shea Jackson Jr: Alight, well, Godzilla is not bigger than any of these buildings and he’s eating fish. Oh...this is going SO WELL. (Laughs) Then 2014 really kicked off something special and I was actually at the premiere, of the 2014 Godzilla, I was on the carpet with my dad, little did I know that I was gonna be in the best thing ever by having the movie with ALL of the old school in it. Mike (Dougherty) even made sure that our music was even…
Screen Rant: Dude!
O’Shea Jackson Jr: That’s everything right?
Screen Rant: The moment I heard Mothra’s theme...I was at the theater, and I was just smiling.
O’Shea Jackson Jr: We even had the twins!!
Screen Rant: I know!
O’Shea Jackson Jr: I flipped out!
Screen Rant: How they tied the twin element, I thought was so wonderfully subtle.
O’Shea Jackson Jr: It was so easy!
Screen Rant: The moment we saw her mom.. I was like...wait a minute….
O’Shea Jackson Jr: Yeaaaaaah!
Screen Rant: Loved it! Loved it so much. Is there a favorite movie, or even just a favorite moment, that reminds you why you love this character or why you love this franchise so much.
O’Shea Jackson Jr: You know, every Godzilla film has a moment where you think...he’s about to die. He would make this noise when he was seriously hurt where you would go…”Oh man, things do not look good.” But Godzilla always prevailed from that. I think that’s what I loved as a kid is that I felt like I could always depend on him to get it done. That’s something you want from the people around you. You wish you could be their Godzilla at times. I listed my five heroes back in the day, besides my family. My five heroes were Kobe (Bryant), The Rock, Goku, Sonic the Hedgehog and Godzilla. They just never give up. They all have that...nahhh, you’re not about to beat me. No matter what it takes, I’m gonna take you out. And uhhh...I always forget my mans name...the one with the spikes on his back….
Screen Rant: Anguirus?
O’Shea Jackson Jr: Anguirus! He can kiss my ass. (LAUGHS) He was like the worst sidekick ever! He never does enough. (Laughs)
Screen Rant: (Laughs) Well...you’re not wrong.
O’Shea Jackson Jr: Like, when they fought I was like...dude...get out of here, you’re not gonna do nothing to Zilla. So yeah, I haven’t been able to shout him out but he’s an asshole.
Screen Rant: (LAUGHS) Someone's gotta call Anguirus out.
O’Shea Jackson Jr: Someone's gotta! Though we shoulda had a shot of him thought. I would have loved that.
Screen Rant: Oh yeah, when there was the 17 other titans popping up, I was banking on...give me Anguirus.
O’Shea Jackson Jr: Give me Anguirus (mimics Anguirus call) Let me just hear it.
Screen Rant; So when you first met director Michael Dougherty for this project, were you aware that he as a fan as well? How was that first meeting like?
O’Shea Jackson Jr: Well first of all I’m happy that he’s a fan because...us nerds we get the short end of the stick sometimes….saying like...they’ll go watch it. They give it to whoever to direct it then. But Mike...he showed me his bible. He drew Godzilla in his bible. He knew he was testing me. He was testing me and I could feel it! There was a moment when we were Facetiming and I mentioned the Hanna Barbera Cartoon. And you can see in his face he’s like “You’re the only one that brought that up.” Sounds like I got this job!
Screen Rant: You mean no one's mentioned Godzuki!?
O’Shea Jackson Jr: Godzuki, blowing smoke rings! It’s important to give the lore to somebody who grew up with it. Who's passionate about it. When you give us the keys to the car, you know we usually go to good places. I hope people really take in somebody’s who’s passionate about their project and wanting to make sure everything is right, because King of the Monsters is crazy. King of the Monsters is wild.
Screen Rant: It is and I think the passion really comes through here and I can see something like, when Rodan shows up it’s perfect.
O’Shea Jackson Jr: Whoooo, Rodan’s introduction is crazy.
Screen Rant: Oh my gosh yes! (Laughs) Now I’m a big Mothra fan, so when she showed up, coming out of the water…
O’Shea Jackson Jr: Chills!
Screen Rant: I just couldn’t believe how good that looked. So you’re right, I think it does come through. And for you, you get to play the soldiers in these kinds of film and you know sometimes the soldiers don’t get...you know…
O’Shea Jackson Jr: YEAH! Usually I don’t care about them honestly, but I love that we have a film so well balanced that we give our love our stars the Titans, yet at the same time showing the cast. And we can hide easter eggs like the twins and things like that for you have to fully watch the film the really appreciate it. Playing Barnes is dope.
Screen Rant: I think that’s one of the fun things about this film, is that you guys can get to react to the really out there elements of Godzilla. It’s still gonna be played straight, but you can be a bit self aware. Like the scene when you find out that Godzilla and Mothra have a connection and you’re character is like…”HUH.”
O’Shea Jackson Jr: I’m like...yeah...that’s off. (Laughs)
Screen Rant: I like that you’re character did that, it lets the audience in on the film being strange by going...“Yeah...we know.”
O’Shea Jackson Jr: I’m like...I’m already here mentally. I might as well just believe it.
Screen Rant: Now...when you read the script, was there a specific sequence that you read that made you go, “Oh, I can’t wait to film that.” or even “I can’t wait to watch that.”
O’Shea Jackson Jr: Honestly, I didn’t know that this was gonna be my first day, but my first day of filming was the Fenn Way Park scene.
Screen Rant: Whoaa!
O’Shea Jackson Jr: It’s like, we’re low key in the middle of the last fight guys. It’s gonna be real rough this first week. (Laughs) It was crazy. All the effects that are going on. Actual real explosions happening at work. And you’re just trying to look cool. You’re just trying to look cool through the whole thing. Not really a ton of acting that has to happen as far as your expressions or how you deliver a line. It’s all action. They just jump you right in. That is...the worst place you could possibly be is between their feet. It was super dope you get to do it on camera. So yeah, I would have to say yeah...first week.
Screen Rant: That’s a good start! So I heard about the Behemoth, a giant roar generator (this was a loudspeaker that had the creatures classic roars, musical themes and various other sound effects that was used on set.) Did you get the chance to possibly mess around with it?
O’Shea Jackson Jr: Naw, I didn’t get to press the button. It was always...usually our chairs are a little big away from set. You know usually if you’re getting a couple of Zzzz’s in... a roar’s coming. Mike has his hand on the button, watching you from video village, waiting...waiting to hit it. Me, I could go to sleep to Godzilla's roar. I’ve heard it my whole life. But, it’s fun to have somebody who loves their job.
- Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) release date: May 31, 2019
- Godzilla vs. Kong (2020) release date: Mar 13, 2020