CS Set Visit: Director Adam Wingard on Godzilla vs. Kong!
In March 2019 ComingSoon.net took a trip to the Village Roadshow Studios in idyllic Queensland, Australia to visit the set of Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary’s Godzilla versus Kong! The fourth entry in their MonsterVerse series follows the traces of earlier entries Godzilla (2014), Kong: Skull Island (2017) and Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019), each of which had a unique filmmaker at the helm. For the $ 200 million GvK The studio brought in well-known genre director Adam Wingard (Death report, The host, Blair Witch), who had the unique experience of doing a sequel before the previous episode King of the monsters had even been seen by the audience.
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“I really love sequels,” Wingard said during our discussion after the trailer was released. “One of my favorite films is ‘Terminator 2’ and also ‘Aliens’. I love sequels where you can take something someone else has done and then do your own twist on it and expand on it. This film is set directly after “King of Monsters”, but also in the future of “Skull Island”, which took place in the 1970s. One of the most important things was that this felt like a legitimate sequel to those films, that it felt like a legitimate match between Godzilla and Kong, even though Kong is a bit different because he’s aged since the last film. ”
While we couldn’t chat with Wingard on set, we spoke to him shortly after the fantastic trailer was released and they announced the simultaneous release of HBO Max and Kino on March 31st. Interested in whether the disappointing returns and fan complaints about or not King of the monsters affected Godzilla versus KongWingard denied a lot in terms of correction, of course, and for good reason.
“One of the reasons they got me on a sequel to ‘King of Monsters’ is because I’m so different from Michael Dougherty as a director,” Wingard said. “He’s leaning more into the horror realm and his approach to Godzilla is really scary in many ways, and I think they knew the next movie had to be different after that regardless of how it was supposed to be received. My attitude was always very funny and colorful, so fortunately it didn’t really influence us too much in the truest sense of the word. There was no major correction in terms of what the film would be about or how we had to approach certain action scenes or the like, because luckily we were already doing our own thing and it was the same as it felt like, people had each other anyway desired. Obviously I am aware that people felt that the film was too dark in places or that there were too many particle effects. My version always had the sea battle with this magical sunset. My first image in the film was King Kong and Godzilla fighting in a neon-futuristic synth-wave city. It already has lighting built in, because that’s the whole sequence, and fortunately things like that weren’t really affected. “
The two title monsters had previously met to assert themselves in Ishirō Honda’s cult classic from 1962 King Kong versus Godzilla. Wingard’s film dispenses with the painfully dated depiction of islanders and the practical effects in a suit, but also differs from its predecessor in one essential point: continuity.
“Part of the problem with ‘King Kong versus Godzilla’, the original film, is that we already started Godzilla. It basically looks like the previous films, but this was a new King Kong,” said Wingard. “This was the first Toho version of King Kong. It looks a little weird and doesn’t stop, you know? So he feels like a completely new character. It’s a whole new take. In a strange way, you don’t feel like this is really King Kong vs Godzilla. They say, “It’s Godzilla, but this other guy is a different version of King Kong.” I take Batman vs Superman as an example – and that’s just my opinion – but my problem with this movie is that it’s a new Batman. It’s Ben Affleck as Batman. Until then, Christian Bale was the definitive Batman. So it felt like we were going to play Batman versus Superman and restart Batman. So it doesn’t have the feeling of the ultimate match between these characters. There’s something to it, and when I went into that movie, I didn’t want that feeling. Normally Legendary would allow the directors to turn Godzilla upside down and I could have changed them. I like how Dougherty updated Godzilla with the classic maple leaves on the back. But to me, I wanted this to feel like the Godzilla we were used to in the last couple of movies, and I wanted Kong to feel like the Kong we had on Skull Island so that it really was felt like this, when they fought they really attacked each other. While I probably would have liked to make Godzilla’s head a little bigger, his head is a little small, you know? I don’t lose that complaint, but at the end of the day it’s like, “This is the Godzilla that we have here and we’ll see how he matches King Kong.” Let’s not try to like, change it and do something different. “
“When Adam came along, we had an idea where we were going with the film,” explained producer Alex Garcia. “We had very early treatment about what the movie might be, but a lot of the heavy lifting was done with Adam. While elements of that are still the original story and are still there, Adam walked in just the moment we could say, “Okay, we’re doing what we think this movie is doing,” and he really was able to carry on some of these elements further. We had talked loosely about the idea of this company and Hollow Earth, but there is also a continuation line about conspiracy theories. It plays with these ideas and why we come up with these things and the reactions to dangers and things that we are afraid of. We came up with all of these things to often help mask and process these things – and that’s something Adam is really interested in. So that came about through all of that and it really took the film forward. “
“When it comes to these god-like creatures, the movie itself is broken down into two simultaneous storylines that you can organize as Team Godzilla / Team Kong,” Wingard said. “Team Godzilla is led by Millie Bobby Brown and Brian Tyree Henry. Team Kong is on the other side of the world and is led by Alexander Skarsgard and Rebecca Hall. Each of the stories of man really makes it clear what the monsters are going through and gives us more emphasis. It’s an exploration of the future and the past, and you see a little of it in the trailer with the neon lights, putting Godzilla in such an environment. “
Of course, in our set visit report we saw the amazing set of the control room in King Ghidorah’s skull that Millie Bobby Brown and her friends infiltrate. Wingard helped put the scene we saw into context … without spoiling too much.
“Ghidorah is subtly following this movie,” Wingard teased. “This is the most recent event in terms of the monster world as this movie is a relatively short time later, but details are just one of the things I can’t really talk about much because I want people to have them as pure as they are possible from an experience. “
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Between our set visit and the trailer, it’s easy to see why Wingard’s vision for the film is perfect. He watched every Godzilla movie ever made before getting involved, so he was aware that when the Toho Godzilla movies began in the 50s, they were gritty and in a post-Hiroshima Context. The first films in Legendary’s MonsterVerse reflected this, but as the Toho films moved on, they got more colorful, fancy, and fun. Godzilla versus Kong wants to bring the fun back into the new franchise.
“What appealed to me about the MonsterVerse version of Godzilla and Kong is the fact that each of these films by every director before me – Gareth Edwards, Mike Dougherty, Jordan Vogt-Roberts – everyone could put their stamp on these different films”, he said. “Every film feels like this director’s film. I wanted to be able to not only do the Adam Wingard version of Godzilla and Kong, but also the Adam Wingard movie that I can do. I wanted to get everything that represented me as a filmmaker and all of the things that got me excited about making a monster movie in general. Part of it is just a sound thing. I like movies with a funny tone. This is the first PG-13 movie I’ve ever made. I’ve never done a movie that wasn’t rated R, wasn’t violent, and swore a lot and stuff. It was a unique experience, but not a difficult one because my inclinations and background in relation to what made me become a filmmaker in the first place are always films for children. Many of them have been rated R-movies, but they’re still made for kids. For example, ‘Terminator 2’ is like a Gateway horror movie. It’s really made for the sensitivity of children, but it’s rated R, it’s very violent but not so much that you can’t see it as a kid. Sci-Fi was actually my way of getting into “Terminator”, “Aliens” and all of those things. Those were the films that put me in horror, and this film is going back to the science fiction roots that originally made me want to be a filmmaker in the first place. “
Godzilla versus Kong slated to open in theaters March 31 and streamed on HBO Max.