Pssst — Godzilla has a secret. And it’s threatening to pierce the hermetically sealed marketing campaign of the summer’s biggest film. Despite attempts to keep the deadly lizard’s salient characteristics under wraps, one choice detail — think The Crying Game — has leaked out. Now some say the studio, TriStar, and production team, Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin, are responding with a crying game of their own.
After the L.A. Times disclosed on April 10 that Godzilla will possess a rather unique sexual idiosyncrasy, TriStar backed away from a Times feature on the movie’s effects, according to Times executive film editor Anne Hurley. TriStar said it ”was withdrawing cooperation,” says Hurley. ”I guess that was our payback.” The studio insists the story was never guaranteed. ”Have I stopped cooperating with the L.A. Times?” says Columbia TriStar exec VP of publicity Ed Russell. ”The answer is no.” Yet the move follows Emmerich and Devlin’s reported firing of two Godzilla licensees, Fruit of the Loom and Tiger Electronics, apparently after monster photos were leaked to the Net and the media. Neither firm will comment, though a Fruit of the Loom spokeswoman says a lawsuit is pending but refuses to specify against whom.
Which raises the question, At what point does a little secrecy become full-fledged overreaction? In other words, is Godzilla stepping on its own tail? Admits Devlin: ”Keeping this thing a secret has been a nightmare. All you can say is, ‘Look, I’m trying to tell a joke — please don’t ruin the punchline.’ ”
(Additional reporting by Chris Willman)