“Godzilla” may be turning 60 this year but the monster 2014 remake aims to bring the franchise back to life in a way that modern audiences can relate to.
At the Los Angeles premiere of the film, held at Dolby Theatre last week, cast members said the film -- which opens Friday -- brings something new to the table while still paying homage to Ishiro Honda’s original 1954 monster.
“It’s not the 'Godzilla' a lot of people expect; we tried to do something different,” director Gareth Edwards said on the film’s carpet, which was black, not red, for the occasion. “I think hopefully we’ve injected some soul with this remake.”
It was Edwards’ approach to the film that influenced actress Elizabeth Olsen, who plays the main character's wife, Elle, to join the project.
“I didn’t really know why ‘Godzilla’ was created to begin with,” she said. “But the way Gareth approached me and I think all the actors was [by explaining] that the film represents a time in history when Japan couldn’t actually tell a story they were trying to tell about their experiences with the nuclear bomb, so they created a monster.”
In what she described as an “academic way of looking at the film,” Olsen said "Godzilla" still resonates because “we are still creating monsters in that kind of political way.”
“['Godzilla'] is this larger metaphor of humans having to be humbled by a source larger than them,” she said.
Actor Ken Watanabe, who plays Dr. Ishiro Serizawa, said it was important to him as a Japanese actor to be part of the film on its anniversary.
“Sixty years ago the first 'Godzilla' was born out of fear,” he said, noting the fear still exists in some ways.
However, Bryan Cranston, who plays Joe Brody, said he “didn’t focus on how this ‘Godzilla’ was different then the last or the one before that.” Instead, he said he “judges every project on its own merit.”
The remake allowed Cranston to tackle a different genre from AMC show “Breaking Bad,” in which Cranston played chemistry teacher/meth manufacturer Walter White.
“The scope of this ['Godzilla'] story is enormous,” Cranston said. “It was different from ‘Breaking Bad’ and yet had a very strong character-driven narrative: Husband-wife, father-son.”
Plus, like many, Cranston grew up with “Godzilla.”
“I remember I was 7 years old playing with Godzilla toys,” he said. “He was my favorite monster of all time.”
But what would the cast and crew do if Godzilla attacked Hollywood?
“Run would be the smart thing … stop and gawk is probably what I would do,” said screenwriter Max Borenstein.
“I would just pray … and drink alcohol,” joked Watanabe.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times