[Interview] Matt Shakman for MONARCH: LEGACY OF MONSTERS

Following the thunderous battle between Godzilla and the Titans that leveled San Francisco and the shocking revelation that monsters are real, MONARCH: THE LEGACY OF MONSTERS tracks two siblings following in their father’s footsteps to uncover their family’s connection to the secretive organization known as Monarch.

Clues lead them into the world of monsters and ultimately down the rabbit hole to Army officer Lee Shaw (played by Kurt Russell and Wyatt Russell), taking place in the 1950s and half a century later when Monarch is threatened by what Shaw knows. The dramatic saga – spanning three generations – reveals buried secrets and how epic, earth-shattering events can reverberate through our lives.

For the release of AppleTV+’s MONARCH: THE LEGACY OF MONSTERS, Nightmarish Conjurings’ Shannon McGrew spoke with director Matt Shakman. During the interview, they discussed everything from how he became involved in the project, the casting process, particularly with Kurt Russell and Wyatt Russell, and what he hopes viewers take from the series.

Thank you so much for speaking with me today, Matt! To start things off, what led to your involvement in this project, and has your interest in the Godzilla Universe been longstanding?

Matt Shakman: I’ve always been a fan of Godzilla since I was a kiddo. One of my fondest memories is watching the original Toho film, the first one, with my dad on our couch in Ventura, California. I’ve also been a fan of the newer Toho Godzilla films as well as Legendary’s MonsterVerse. When the chance to be part of that universe came up, I jumped at it.

The entire cast is exceptional, but what drew both Kurt Russell and his son Wyatt Russell to this project? 

Matt Shakman: I think they had been offered father and son things before, but they’d never been offered the idea of playing the same part, and I think [it was] incredibly appealing. If I’m putting myself in their shoes, the chance to build one character together as a family project was just really special, and they’re both brilliant actors but very different actors. I think they enjoyed trying to create a character that brought the elements of both of their acting styles together and that they were creating a character that would grow and change over time. A lot of things happen to that character, of course, but that there would be a consistency to it throughout. That was a hugely fun challenge.

Assembling this cast was like looking for needles in haystacks – who is that special, amazing, wonderful person who could play each part, and we found that person for every part. It’s such a long search that you wonder if you’ll ever find these people. Do they exist? Then you find Anna Sawai (“Cate Randa”), and you’re like, oh my god, there she is. It’s a great cast, and they’re such hard workers and it was a joy to work with them.

How would you persuade both newcomers and devoted Godzilla fans that they should check out this series? 

Matt Shakman: I would say all are welcome! If you’re a fan of the MonsterVerse, great, come on in. There’ll be so much that will be there for you that you love already from the movies, and there’ll [also] be something new in these great characters and their journey. If you aren’t a fan already of the MonsterVerse, or you only have casual knowledge of it, come on in! You will be able to enter this universe and fall in love with these characters, and learn what you need to learn along the way. It’s an entry point for both fans and non-fans alike!

Lastly, among the MonsterVerse creatures, which monster stands out as your favorite?

Matt Shakman: It’s the boring but honest answer, Godzilla.

MONARCH: THE LEGACY OF MONSTERS airs new episodes every Friday exclusively on AppleTV+.

Shannon McGrew
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