Apologies in advance for the upcoming pun: One cannot possibly accuse Gareth Edwards' English-language Godzilla reboot of aiming low. With a script currently being rewritten by Frank Darabont (The Walking Dead) and what's shaping up to be a killer cast, Edwards (Monsters) appears to be putting serious effort into crafting the best of all possible movies about a titanic radioactive monster.
Adding to the already impressive set of faces attached to the project, Godzilla is apparently courting someone especially interesting for its extended cast – respected French actress Juliette Binoche.
Variety has announced that Binoche is in active negotiations to appear in Gareth Edwards and Legendary Pictures' Godzilla. If Binoche accepts the role, she will join a cast that includes Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass 2), Elizabeth Olsen (Oldboy), and Bryan Cranston (Argo).
Binoche is probably best known for her lead roles in 1996's The English Patient and Chocolat in 2000. She has had important roles in a number of European productions, including Krzysztof Kieslowski's Three Colors Trilogy (especially Blue) and Cache. More recently, Binoche has appeared in Dan in Real Life and Cosmopolis.
The number of well-regarded, diverse actors being recruited by Godzilla indicates that there will be much more for them to do than simply point at a green screen and yell, "Oh no! We must run!" This jibes with recent comments that the film will try not to engage in the camp and humor of previous interpretations of Godzilla, instead opting for a more somber, disaster-film feel. The logline of Darabont and Edwards' take on the movie seems to be a return to the tone of the original Gojira, complete with dark sociopolitical allegory. If Edwards is indeed including some serious undertones in his giant monster movie, it only makes sense that he'll need some dramatic heavyweights to sell them.
Of course, until we know anything about the exact plot and characters of Godzilla (beyond the guaranteed widespread urban destruction), this could all end up being song and dance. Simply having prestige actors on-set does not immediately confer a film with prestige itself. One need only to flash back to the 1999 Roland Emmerich production of Godzilla, which also cast a (more or less) respectable French actor in Jean Reno (Alex Cross). Despite Reno's perpetually-incredulous presence, Emmerich's Godzilla is so despised that later Japanese movies in the franchise actually killed off its version of the giant lizard.
Such worries aside, Gareth Edwards' Godzilla probably deserves the benefit of the doubt for the moment. Binoche is a fine, understated actress who could probably bring a good deal of gravitas to a movie that will need it. After all, it sounds as if 2014's Godzilla could be walking a very thin tightrope to maintain its darker tone.
Godzilla will stomp into theaters on May 16th, 2014.
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