Godzilla vs. Kong director treated his monsters like action film stars
Where Gareth Edwards' 2014 Godzilla was monstrously serious and Jordan Vogt-Roberts' 2017 Kong: Skull Island was essentially a horror movie in disguise, Adam Wingard's Godzilla vs. Kong is a hoot of a surprise-filled adventure epic, even viewed on the comparatively puny screen you'll likely watch it on (the film is out in theaters and on HBO Max March 31).
"Each one of the films served a different purpose," says Wingard, whose previous credits include 2011's You're Next, 2014's The Guest, and 2017's Death Note. "Godzilla 2014 had to scoop Godzilla out of the hole he was in from the '98 Godzilla which was so campy and let such a bad taste in western mouths. Gareth did such a good job with that film, reintroducing him. They've done a great job with the MonsterVerse films of establishing different tones. I had the advantage of seeing what people responded to with those films and be able to say, as a fan of all these movies, well, what do I want to do with my version of it? My inclination is usually to go for a really fun, crowd-pleasing film. This movie in a lot of ways is a culmination of a life's work building up to this point. This is not a drill, you know. This is my chance to do Godzilla versus King. This only happens once every 50 years! So, I've got to take this opportunity and run with it."
Millie Bobby Brown and Kyle Chandler return from Godzilla: King of the Monsters to join a host of MonsterVerse newbies, including Alexander Skarsgård, Demián Bichir, and Rebecca Hall, who plays an anthropological linguist observing Kong in his natural habitat. Brian Tyree Henry, meanwhile, is a conspiracy theorist trying to figure out why Godzilla has returned after a three-year absence to wreak havoc. ("People that know me think that character is slightly based on myself," says Wingard.)
As for the titular titans, the director had the pair duke it out like real people — or Hollywood action stars, anyway. "Creating the fights was absolutely the funnest thing that I've ever done in my entire career," says Wingard. "You would think that that would be the most difficult part of the movie. But to me it was always the easiest because we always knew what the goal was, and it was just about making it as spectacular as possible. The trick is to treat a monster brawl the same way you would a normal action film. I don't like it whenever characters bang each other around and there's no evidence of the fight after the fact. I want to see people take damage."
Watch the trailer for Godzilla vs. Kong above and see exclusive images from the film below.