Would it be fair to say that this movie was almost therapeutic?
Yeah, absolutely. I think that’s an understatement to some extent, as it’s a lifelong goal and ambition. The reason I exist as a filmmaker is these types of films. I still remember when I decided I wanted to be a filmmaker, in terms of, I wanted to be the person who makes these films. I think it was 89, 88 I think. I remember that “Honey, I shrunk the children” came out, and I was so excited by “Honey, I shrunk the children.” I was obsessed with trailers, there was everything I wanted in a movie. And I remember a trailer being on TV, I was literally in a box when I asked my mom this, it was one of those things my parents figured out, s’ they had these big fridge boxes and just put them in our living room and we would make a playhouse out of it. And I remember sitting in that box and watching the “Honey I Shrunk Kids” trailer. and turn to my mother and ask her, “Who is the person who decides where to place the camera?” Is it the director or the producer? I heard these labels but didn’t know which ones they were. And my mom said, “Ahh, I’m not sure. Maybe a producer? And I said to myself: “I want to be a producer when I grow up! “And then of course you know later on I learned it was different. Well, maybe not all the time, the producers tell you where to put the camera, but that was at that moment that I had never looked back. I knew that was what I wanted to do.
It’s funny you mentioned that the producers were telling you where to put the camera, because with “Godzilla vs. Kong” you make a huge collaborative film, in which I imagine you had to fight for several things. I was curious about a few ideas: I know you already said you wanted to do the water fight scene from the very beginning. But was it your idea to have Kong punch Godzilla in the face in that wide shot? Can you tell me how you got there?
Yeah, I’m glad you mentioned this because I can share a few stories about it. So the first would be that the first time I read the treatment, it wasn’t even a treatment. Terry Rossio wrote it based on a writer’s room they were in, and it was so vague that he called it “a proposal”, which is probably a way of making sure that managers feel more comfortable. They’re more like, “Oh, it’s not defined, it’s a proposition. We love it. It felt good, and I used that, me and [Simon Barrett] when we do our “Face / Off 2” treatment; we just ripped off exactly what Terry Rossio did because it was awesome. We called it a proposition, made people feel good.
So I read the proposal and it happens to all the action scenes, and it happens to the naval battle. And it’s very vague: “Here we are at the naval battle, you are going to see Kong doing things that you have never seen him do before, he is going to jump from ship to ship, Godzilla and Kong fighting on a gate- planes, it’s gonna be amazing. And that’s basically how we left it. And the first thing I thought about was, “Can Godzilla and Kong get on an aircraft carrier?” I know people don’t come looking for these movies for the ultimate portrayal of reality, but I thought that couldn’t compromise credibility until now, right? I worked with my production designer friend Tom Hammock and he put together a little guide that showed a depiction of an aircraft carrier, as well as the actual size and weight of Kong and Godzilla as they are. existed in the Monsterverse movies. And he showed me that the length of an aircraft carrier is over a thousand feet, and the monsters themselves are around 300, 350 or more. And so we’ve kind of looked at that and you can see that they can fit in there. And then the next step was the art department staff – they set up a height test, and so obviously there’s no way to measure Godzilla and Kong’s weight, but to estimating how much space they take up and the size, weight that they have together, relative to the weight of what an aircraft carrier can supposedly support, it worked. The math works. And then I thought about it further, I thought, “Well, if you take two bears and put them on a boat, the boat is not going to sink to the bottom of the ocean, you see what I want. say?”