Legendary Pictures is trying to pull off what no American studio has been able to do yet: make a good Godzilla movie.
As you may recall, it's been tried before with Godzilla 1985 (made in Japan with Raymond Burr, released in the States by New World Pictures), and the bloated 1998 blockbuster that wasn't, directed by ID4's Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin.
Both were disasters, and neither really captured what makes Godzilla so fun and cool to his fans. (I've always assumed Godzilla is male, although he laid an egg when he gave birth in Son of Godzilla.)
Legendary hopes to get Godzilla on the screen by next year, and recently David Goyer came aboard to help out with the script.
It makes sense because Legendary produced the new Batmans, and Goyer co-wrote the screenplay for Batman Begins, as well as has story credit on The Dark Knight, and the upcoming Dark Knight Rises. Other notches on Goyer's gun include Dark City, the Blade films, as well as the upcoming Superman reboot Man of Steel.
Back in my Creative Screenwriting days, I interviewed Goyer when he was working on the last Blade movie, and he was a really nice, down to earth guy, who looks pretty normal until you see his sleeves of tattoos, which is unusual for a screenwriter.
Goyer got his first tattoo when he was 22 to celebrate selling his first script, and he's been filling in his skin ever since.
"I basically said, 'Wow, I sold my first script, I'm never gonna have a real job. When I first started going into meetings at Disney early in my career, I'd wear long sleeves," Goyer recalled.
"Then I started saying screw it, it's who I am, and I'd go into a meeting with Jeffrey Katzenberg with a short sleeve shirt on. When people meet me, they find I'm nicer, more refined, or more reasonable than they'll think I'll be. My tattoos used to be an issue before, now I guess they work for me. They've become part of my brand, even though it wasn't intentional."
Goyer is also a good choice for Godzilla, because he knows what it's like for a genre to be lowballed. Just as Godzilla couldn't get any respect in this country, being laughed off as kid stuff, he also recalled when comic book films weren't taken very seriously, until the success of X-Men, Spider-Man, and Batman Begins that is.
"I think there's more acceptance on the part of the studios for the comic book genre, which I do regard almost of a genre in and of itself, like westerns or horror films. I think when you're dealing with films that were based on comic books in other decades, you would get things like Dick Tracy, where sometimes there was almost on an assumption on the studio's part, even the filmmakers part, that they were a little embarrassed by what they were doing," Goyer continued.
"Once you've got people like Art Spiegelman doing covers for The New Yorker, comic books winning the Pulitzer Prize, movies like Road to Perdition and Ghost World being nominated for Academy Awards and getting public acceptance, I don't think it's something that people are embarrassed by anymore. If anything, saying something's a comic book movie is a bonus, not something that's a negative factor."
So here's to hoping Godzilla can make a similar turn around in the States - without sacrificing his "man in a suit" charm.