Max Borenstein Talks About His Work On The Godzilla Reboot
Posted by Joseph Lee on 05.07.2014
He also wrote the prequel comic...
In an interview with Superhero Hype, Godzilla screenwriter (and author of the prequel graphic novel Godzilla: Awakening) Max Borenstein spoke about the upcoming reboot of the kaiju film. Here are highlights:
On his earliest memory of Godzilla: "It's funny, I've been thinking about it a lot. I've tried to think about specifically, what the first movie was I saw, I don't remember, but the way I got into it was when the "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" came out I was in middle school and I remember watching it kind of mystified, not getting it. I didn't like it in the way that other people did. I thought it was weird and intriguing and campy and I liked that, so I said "Where the hell did this come from?" So I did a little digging and went to the video store, and rented some early Godzilla films. I know I saw the original, I don't know if that was the first I saw but I never saw the Japanese cut. I just started watching them going in sequence for what they had at the Tower Video through the first series and then in the second series, and probably not getting all the way through the second series although subsequently I've caught up. Then eventually as one does at that age, just fell into other stuff. That was where Godzilla lay in my psyche as something I remember falling in love with in this weirdly fascinated alien way as a kid, but sort of left it there and that's why when this was brought up I was not thinking of it initially as a fan, I was thinking "What can we do with that that's going to feel really new and fresh?" That's why seeing the Japanese cut was so exciting, because that was the answer, it was right there, they'd done it in the very first film. They'd given us something that was timeless and fresh, and the thing about the campier films is that they're fun in a certain way but camp by definition is something that's very stuck in its moments, and that first film is very timeless and that was something the adult me was really most interested in trying to aim for in a new film. I think it's also something that has the best chance of resonating with a wide swath of people who are coming in with a predilection for monster movies."
On if the comic was something he thought up from the beginning: "It wasn't, though I should say this, it probably was, I'm sure it was by Legendary and particularly by Thomas Tull, who is the Grand Poobah over there. I don't know if you've had the pleasure, but he's awesome and passionate about all the movies they make and in particular about Godzilla. So I'm certain that that was somewhere in the back of their minds that at some point when the moment was right that was something to do because they have their comic division. I was approached, I can't remember exactly when, but it was somewhere while the film was being shot. So once the lion's share of the work was done on my part with the screenplay, they called and asked 'Would you be interested in writing a graphic novel in some way that expanded the universe?" And immediately my mind went to some of the back stories that I had thought about but not always had a chance to include in the movie, that sort of served as my own kind of knowledge of these characters and of these organizations involved, but that didn't always make it onto the page and onto the screen and so I immediately said "Yes please!" and thought of the story told in the graphic novel as being a perfect place to go."
On if readers should see the movie first: " I think it can go either way to be honest. There are no spoilers in the graphic novel per se, by any means, it would give you sort of an expanded take of some of the back story of an organization you're going to see featured in the film, characters you may see featured in the film, and a sense of Godzilla and how we interpreted this character. It's by no means required reading to go into the film and I don't think it would spoil the experience of the film in anyway, if anything it would just enhance it. I think it really depends on how fresh someone wants to be going into the film. I'm someone who doesn't mind coming in with some extra back story knowledge, but often times I'll go see a movie and then after, hopefully liking it, I'll go seek the external tangential materials. I think the graphic novel will hopefully play whatever role its consumer wants it to play, but it definitely won't step on the movie's toes."