Exclusive: Adam Wingard talks Godzilla vs. Kong
Back in May, it was announced that director Adam Wingard (The Guest, Blair Witch) would take the helm on the upcoming Legendary Entertainment and Warner Bros. film Godzilla vs. Kong. Today, ComingSoon.net caught up with Wingard at the junket for the Netflix manga adaptation Death Note (available August 25) and talked to him about his plans for 2020’s big Godzilla/King Kong battle movie.
ComingSoon.net: You just did “Blair Witch” and “Death Note,” now you’re moving on to “Godzilla vs. Kong.” What are some of the lessons you learned about dealing with properties that you’re going to bring to the Godzilla world?
Adam Wingard: It’s hard to say because each one is so different. The fanbases are so different. Anime fans have had a hard time in general because a lot of times Hollywood movies haven’t really respected the properties or taken them seriously, or made them too cartoony. For me on [“Death Note”] it was really about almost trying to approach it as if it wasn’t an anime at all, to wipe the slate clean and pretend we’re adapting a novel and you’ve never seen anything from this. What’s interesting is the anime sensibility is in the DNA of it, so it still creeps in. I was really impressed the first time I watched the rough cut of the film that it sunk in that some of the anime stuff is just in the movie. It wasn’t like we were trying to do “Speed Racer” or anything like that. The Godzilla/Kong fanbase is very different. They’re just really excited that anybody is taking this stuff seriously. They can smell a fake from a mile away, so if your enthusiasm isn’t real then they’ll eat you alive. As soon as you can prove that your intentions are true to the source material, that’s all that matters, specifically if you’re dealing with big monsters. You really have to take them seriously, almost as people.
CS: “Death Note” is a relatively recent franchise, whereas with Godzilla you’ve got 60+ years of mythology and expectations and material to sift through.
Wingard: Godzilla has gone through so many iterations. He’s been a bad guy, he’s been a good guy, he’s been a conflicted guy. There’s so many different things you can do with it, but it’s not drawing on one core story and its always been about the evolution of the character. They’re going in a great direction with it so far. I just went on the set of “Godzilla 2,” got to peak in on that and it looks totally awesome and the vibe that they’re going for is great. It’s a cool tradition to jump into, but it’s also one of those things where at a certain point you have to take it very seriously. Even though these are big, wild monster movies the origin of that is really from World War II and Hiroshima. If you watch that first film it’s really a sad movie. It’s a really depressing exploration of that, so you always have to remember at the end of the day the reason you’re here is because a major catastrophe took place. There’s this underlying darkness under it all, but at the end of the day it is for kids as well. Its evolved into this whole other thing that means so many things to different people.
The script for Godzilla vs. Kong comes to us from a writer’s room run by Terry Rossio, who co-wrote the Pirates of the Caribbean films and also holds a story credit on 1998’s Godzilla. The room also included Star Trek Beyond and Star Trek 4 writers Patrick McKay and J.D. Payne, The Kingkiller Chronicles writer Lindsey Beer, Queen of the Air writer Cat Vasko, Maze Runner and Pacific Rim Uprising writer T.S. Nowlin, and comic and television writer J. Michael Straczynski.
Earlier this year, we saw the release of Kong: Skull Island, and Godzilla: King of the Monsters, starring Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga and Millie Bobby Brown, is now in production. Godzilla vs. Kong was recently moved up a week from May 29 to May 22, 2020. This takes it to Memorial Day weekend (the holiday occurs on Monday, May 25 that year.)
When Legendary announced films centered on Godzilla and Kong, fans all over the world speculated these two characters might one day meet in the same film. Classic Toho monsters including King Ghidorah, Mothra, and Rodan will also join the Legendary pantheon of giant monster mayhem going forward.
What do you guys think of Adam Wingard taking the reins on Godzilla vs. Kong? Do you think his background in horror might give us a clue to the tone of the film? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us @ComingSoonnet.