Despite deciding not to take our notes on how to write dialogue for Godzilla (“’Raaaargh!’ But with a hint of sadness, as if his favourite TV show just got cancelled and he’s out of claw grease”), Frank Darabont is pushing ahead with his rewrite of Gareth Edwards’ new version of the city-stomping monster. And now he’s talking about his take.
Sitting down with the gang over at io9, Darabont first addressed his frustration with how the Godzilla character mutated (no pun intended) in the original Japanese films. “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 shit 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.”
Edwards has talked a lot about keeping things grounded, or at least as grounded as you can with a huge beast destroying buildings and battling other creatures. Darabont seems to be of the same mind. “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.”
So… yes. Given how well Darabont can combine genre and a real vein of humanity, we’ve got high hopes. For more from the man himself, head to i09’s site.
Godzilla, which should kick off shooting this year, is currently aiming at a May 16, 2014 release date.