Becoming part of the Godzilla franchise is one that many seasoned actors and directors would jump at the chance for. With 35 films under its belt and a lineage that has spanned 65 years since the first film debuted in 1954, Godzilla is a constant reminder that when it comes to monster movies, he reigns supreme. For the release of Michael Dougherty’s GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS, actress Millie Bobby Brown, along with actors O’Shea Jackson Jr. and Thomas Middleditch, talked about what it was like to work alongside one of the most recognizable and timeless creatures in pop-culture history.
“I love Godzilla. I’ve loved Godzilla since I was a kid watching it on the SyFy channel with my dad, my brother, and my Uncle” said O’Shea Jackson, who plays Chief Warrant Officer Barnes. “[I] played the video games and the action figures I used for destroying my Legos. When I did my first film Straight Outta Compton, I listed my five heroes that weren’t my father and Godzilla was there. I’ve been waiting for this my entire life and I just happened to be lucky enough to get this audition and knock it out.” Though initially not a huge fan of Godzilla, Millie Bobby Brown, who plays Madison Russell, the daughter of Dr. Emma and Dr. Mark Russell, remarked on how that helped her with her character’s development. “I’ll be honest, I definitely wasn’t a fan of Godzilla which was a good thing because my character isn’t [either]. My character is just a teenage girl who is just learning about Godzilla and the Titans as she goes along. She doesn’t really know how she feels about him but I think her love and affection towards him grows into the movie and also in [the upcoming] Godzilla vs. King Kong.”
Whether you are a fan or not, it’s quite obvious there is a lasting power to Godzilla that is unmatched. With 64 years of films, toys, action figures, comics and more, it’s no wonder that so many have such an infinity towards him and continue to come back year after year. “He’s one of these big iconic monsters that has had a bunch of different reinventions, he’s evolved over time” notes Thomas Middleditch, who plays Sam Coleman, the Director of Technology for Monarch. “I think with each new vision of the monster you can kind of hone in on who he is as a creature. In this Godzilla, you see much more personality from him and he becomes less and less of this unknowable destructive creature that steps on buildings and leaves.”
O’Shea Jackson was quick to agree with Middleditch stating, “Over the time of Godzilla, there have been different people in charge of pushing the story along and through each new Godzilla you see the style change. He is the godfather of giant monsters, but there are also so many references to Godzilla in little things. In Rugrats he’s Reptar but that’s [still] Godzilla. Godzilla has stood the test of time and has allowed whoever is in charge of him during that time to be creative and change up his style, change up the way he looks, change up a story about him and it still progresses. They don’t give 30+ movies to just anything.”
So what was it like to work with the man responsible for bringing GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS to life? “One of the things that I loved [about Michael Dougherty] was that he stayed true to the story. I think that’s important, you don’t want to go AWOL with a story that people absolutely love and cherish,” remarked Millie Bobby Brown. “From the very beginning we knew what was going to happen, he didn’t change a thing about it. Our scripts never really changed drastically and he knew what every monster was going to look like, he had everything planned, all the artwork.” Middleditch was quick to agree, “He’s a guy with a vision. He had everything so specifically dialed in that you knew wherever you were going he knew you were going way before you ever did. The whole time I trusted Mike because there’s a lot of pieces and when you see how much special effects there are, how much pre-vids, planning, you knew this guy was living and breathing it for years before we even showed up.”
More importantly, Mike wasn’t just another director tasked with bringing a beloved franchise to life with very little knowledge of the subject matter. “When I talked to Mike on Facetime, we were speaking about Godzilla and once I realized he was a fan of Godzilla and how much he cares about Godzilla, I realized that they gave one of us the keys to the car,” explains Jackson. “A few select times they hand over a franchise to someone who isn’t a fan of the subject [and] they don’t necessarily know how to speak to us. Mike, from the jump, I knew that we would be in good hands he just had to get what he wanted [from us]. Sometimes that took a lot out of [us], but we got what we needed and that was what was important.”
So what did Brown, Jackson and Middleditch think of the final project? “I loved it! I’ve had to wait [since] 2017 for this movie to come out. [The whole time] you’re just hoping and wishing and I just love that I got the biggest and badest Godzilla there is,” exclaimed Jackson. “I think Godzilla looks great in this film,” remarks Middleditch. “He’s like a stalky heavyweight MMA fighter who I guess can explode into a thermonuclear nuke. He’s much more expressive, he’s got all these human emotions, and he’s become this massive superhero in his own right.” As for Brown, “I really liked the movie and the CGI in the monsters as well as everyone’s acting. I think there were so many human emotions that I really enjoyed in this movie.”