Nearly 25 years after it first hit theaters, the response to Roland Emmerich’s Godzilla hasn’t gotten any nicer. The film was routinely torn apart by critics and fans alike upon its release in 1998, largely due to its deviations from the original Japanese films that inspired it. Overall, the consensus seems to be that the studio never should have hired Emmerich to direct the movie in the first place. But surprisingly, it’s an assessment that Emmerich himself appears to wholeheartedly agree with.
Emmerich discussed his approach to Godzilla while speaking with The Hollywood Reporter about his latest film, Moonfall. He explained that he wasn’t interesting in directing Godzilla at first. That’s because before TriStar offered them the project, he and co-writer Dean Devlin were busy developing another film about an asteroid heading for Earth. Regardless, they agreed to come aboard on the condition that they could use their own design for the titular creature. Unfortunately, this proved to be one of the movie’s biggest mistakes. And to add insult to injury, 1998’s double-whammy of Armageddon and Deep Impact effectively put Emmerich and Devlin’s asteroid film on ice for good.
“I didn’t want to do Godzilla,” said Emmerich. “But they made me a deal, which was unheard of. I said, ‘OK, let’s go about this really radically. I’m not doing big-belly Godzilla. I’m doing him as a lizard.’ That was supposed to tell everybody I can’t do this movie. [Godzilla owner Toho] said, ‘Oh, we’ll call this the new Godzilla, the Hollywood Godzilla. Then, we can still do our fat Godzilla.’ I said, ’S**t!’ I was constantly working on my meteor film. It just got swept away by Godzilla. And then all of a sudden, Michael Bay came along and did it first.”
Although Godzilla’s ending teased Emmerich and Devlin’s ideas for a sequel, plans for future installments stalled after the movie failed to do big numbers at the box office. However, its characters later showed up in animated form on Godzilla: The Series, which lasted two seasons on Fox Kids. Years later, the film’s Godzilla design reappeared as a rival kaiju named “Zilla” in Toho’s Godzilla: Final Wars.
What do you make of Emmerich’s latest comments about his Godzilla film? Let us know in the comment section below!
Recommended Reading: The Art of Godzilla: King of the Monsters
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