Earlier this month, writer/director Frank Darabont was brought aboard by Legendary Pictures to polish the final draft of the infamous “Godzilla” film. Darabont, and actor Sam Witwer, had a chance to sit down and discuss the “Godzilla” project and how the big green guy will be a force, and not a farce, of nature.
Godzilla has its origins as an allegory for the atom bomb, but today it’s more of a straight forward monster movie. Do you want to restore some of that allegorical significance to the franchise?
Frank Darabont: 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^*! 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.
What we’re trying to do with the new movie is not have it camp, not have it be campy. We’re kind of taking a cool new look at it. But with a lot of tradition in the first film. We want this to be a terrifying force of nature. And what was really cool, for me, is there was a very compelling human drama that I got to weave into it. It’s not that clichéd, thinly disguised romance or bromance, or whatever. It’s different, it’s a different set of circumstances than you’re used to seeing. And that’s tremendously exciting as a writer when you’re asked to do something else.
Sam Witwer: Is Godzilla going to represent a different kind of metaphor, something that we’re dealing with as a culture? Because I’m working on a Mothra rewrite right now.
Frank Darabont: I think there is, but I do believe that there’s a margin of interpretation, as Drew mentioned earlier. I love leaving a few crumbs on the table for the audience to determine what they think. Let them bring something to it as well. That’s why a movie like The Green Mile is so satisfying or why The Mist is so satisfying to me. Because it stirs their participation and they have interpretation. I’ve heard metaphors that people apply to Shawshank Redemption, for example, that are fantastic that I never, ever would have thought of. And I say, you know what? You are absolutely right. That is exactly what it means to you. And how satisfying for me to have served you this meal and you identify flavors in it that I never even intended. That’s one of the great rewards of what we do.
Sam Witwer: And then also pretending like you did it on purpose.
Frank Darabont: That’s sometimes true. It depends on how much you want your a$$ kissed.
Are you looking to connect it to a different contemporary issue?
Frank Darabont: Yes I am, but I’m not going to give it away.
“Godzilla” will begin filming in March in Vancouver, Canada, and is scheduled for a May 16th, 2014 release. The film stars Tommy Wiseau, and Aaron Shang. David S. Goyer (“The Dark Knight,” “Man of Steel,”) created the story, while David Callaham wrote the first draft. Max Borenstein (“The Seventh Son,”) Frank Darabont (“The Mist,”) and Drew Pearce (“Iron Man 3”) wrote the screenplay. Gareth Edwards directs.