Godzilla X Kong Director Adam Wingard Talks About His Cat’s Influence

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“Godzilla ​​that simultaneously with the release) it was then known as HBO Max). He was nearing the end of production on the previous film; He had only 30 or 40 shots left to complete. “I just figured out how to make a giant monster movie,” Wingard told TheWrap. “And here I was at the end of the journey.”

He thought about what Quentin Tarantino had said about coming out with another Western “The Hateful Eight” after “Django Unchained”: that he immediately wanted to make another Western because the ending of “Django Unchained” In he had figured out how to make it one.

“I really felt like there were a lot of unfulfilled possibilities that I now knew how to approach, and I was excited to jump back right out of the gate because I felt like, ‘Godzilla vs. Kong.’ “After making it, I got this new sense of confidence in terms of how to present monsters as fully realized characters and how to tell a movie from their point of view,” Wingard said. “It gave me Really excited, the idea of ​​being able to do a movie that was very visual-based. We have large sections with no dialogue and that was my big inspiration, to make a movie that my 10-year-old version of me would have thought about. dreamed of.

When he was a child and watched Godzilla terrorize cities, Wingard always wanted as much of Godzilla (or other monsters) as possible. “That’s what I tried to lean toward,” he said.

And that’s exactly what he did with his film. “Godzilla X Kong: The New Empire,” which recently debuted and grossed a whopping $200 million worldwide (in its opening weekend), is oops, all monsters Of the MonsterVerse. When a threat emerges from Hollow Earth, Godzilla and Kong must put aside their differences to deal with this new threat. Godzilla empowers himself and has new glowing pink spines; Kong has a mechanical glove to go with his magic axe. It’s so crazy and so much fun.

On the human side of things Rebecca Hall and Brian Tyree Henry return from “Godzilla vs. Kong” and are joined by Dan Stevens, with whom Wingard previously worked on the cult hit “The Guest.” Stevens Trapper, a vet of kaiju, is an absolute hoot, easily the most entertaining human character in the entire MonsterVerse.

Wingard said, “I’ve always been looking for another film to work with Dan on and there wasn’t a project that had a character that he would fit into.” Simon Barrett, who wrote “The Guest”, was working on “Godzilla X Kong” and together they decided to write a role for Stevens, rather than trying to fit him into an already established architecture. “That’s where the trapper came from,” he said. “We wrote him knowing that he could be your handsome, charming, charismatic leading man, but he’s also excited about all the quirks that come with it and leaning into real character actor-y type things. We knew we could have our cake and eat it too with Dan.”

Early in the production, Trapper engaged in a monologue that revealed his backstory; Wingard remembers being trapped alone with hyenas in Africa. It was a moment that provided a lot of information about the character in a fairly brief amount of time. But Wingard also really wanted to introduce Trapper to the 1977 Greenflow song “I Got’cha”, the lyrics of which are also the name of the song. They played the song on the set and Stevens sang along with it. “When we got an editorial, it was like ‘You can listen to Dan give a monologue about his past for two hours’,” Wingard said. “And you won’t get a better understanding of his character than by singing ‘I Gotta’ for 15 seconds of the movie, because it says everything you need to know about him.”

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When designing the story, Wingard and his writers (Barrett, Terry Rossio and Jeremy Slater) were guided by a single principle: simplicity is key, “And it’s not just about human stories, but also about monster stories. We wanted to keep the actual plot simple and have as many characters as possible so you can become more intimate with them.

One of the things Wingard learned in “Godzilla vs. Kong” was that there were too many characters, which not only led to some tough choices during the editing stage of the film – one character played by Jessica Henwick was perfectly cast. Removed and Lance’s performance was scrapped. The roles of Reddick and Eiza Gonzalez were reduced dramatically – but the film was given a structure that left little time to get to know any real characters, and that includes the monsters. Wingard said, “Because there was so much going on, there were only little moments where you really got a chance to be super intimate with the monsters.” Here, the number of characters was reduced and parallel narrative paths were created that connect with each other rather than compete with each other.

Of course, “Godzilla (This is the first time a Godzilla film has won an Academy Award). Godzilla in “Godzilla X Kong” has a very different look and feel, something original rights holder Toho surprisingly agreed with.

Wingard said, “We didn’t do anything that was so out of left field that they would back away from it, because ultimately, the changes to Godzilla are relatively subtle.” “There is some proportional change or some additional spikes. “Obviously there’s pink, which is the biggest thing.”

For Wingard, it was important that Godzilla in “Godzilla vs. Kong” maintain continuity from “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” (2019) because “King Kong vs. Godzilla” had always troubled Wingard. In particular, the fact that King Kong changed from a stop-motion wonder to a man wearing a rather shabby suit seemed disturbing to the young Wingard. “When it came to this movie, as a fan, I’ve loved all the different versions of Godzilla over the years. I love that each era is defined by different looks and I was eager to do my own take on it,” Wingard said. In Wingard’s words, it was not important to him to update Godzilla “for the sake of nonsense”. Wingard said, “I wanted the evolution of his design to be a driving point for the story.”

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In particular, there’s one moment that really stands out: when Godzilla, inspired by Wingard’s own cat prank, decides to take a nap in the Roman Colosseum. (There are some photos of him in the Hollow Earth Base.) “We were trying to figure out where to put Godzilla to hibernate in the movie and we started talking about the Colosseum, and my cat was in her little It was in a cat’s nest. Its tail was hanging out and we took some pictures of it,” Wingard said. They later learned that “Godzilla Minus One” director Takashi Yamazaki had also been inspired His Cat. “The cats are really at the forefront of these current iterations of Godzilla. I don’t know why,” Wingard said.

Besides his own cat, we were curious to know what influenced “Godzilla X Kong.” Rewatching “Godzilla vs. Kong,” the opening, in which Kong wakes up on Skull Island, takes a bath, and walks around the island, is almost shot-for-shot the way Mel Gibson was first introduced in “Lethal Weapon.” Has been done (All to the tune of Bobby Vinton’s “Over the Mountain Across the Sea”). Wingard said, in general, he was inspired by the buddy films of the 1980s, particularly the “dysfunctional friendship” between Kong and Godzilla.

John Carpenter’s 1988 “They Live”, which Wingard says is his favorite film, was also a big influence. The scene in “They Live” where Rowdy Roddy Piper and Keith David are fighting over whether or not David will wear the magical sunglasses has been presented as a perfect template. “The best sequence of that film is the one in which the hero is not fighting the villain. These are two heroes fighting each other over a misunderstanding, and I knew from the beginning that this was going to be the inspiration for a rematch between Godzilla and Kong,” Wingard said. “This is not a simple matter, who would win, It’s more complicated than that.”

As far as whether or not there will be a third MonsterVerse film directed by Wingard, he hasn’t closed the door (and a $200 million opening weekend will probably blow that door open). Wingard said, “I’ve done two movies so far and there’s definitely an idea to make it a trilogy, but we’ll have to wait and see.” “I definitely have some ideas. We create lots of Easter eggs and hints about where the series will go. There is a definite idea of ​​direction and potential monsters that may appear next.

Hopefully Dan Stevens is ready for whatever monsters show up.

“Godzilla X Kong: The New Empire” is in theaters now.

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