This May, writer-director Michael Dougherty's Godzilla: King of the Monsters will stomp into your local multiplex. But did you know there was another Godzilla: King of the Monsters movie in the works back in the 80s, and did you know it was all set to hit our eyeballs in 3D? Well, it's true.
The movie was officially called Godzilla: King of the Monsters in 3D and it was set to stomp its way to us from the killer genre team-up of director Steve Miner (Lake Placid, Friday the 13th Part 2, and Friday the 13th Part 3D) and screenwriter Fred Dekker (The Monster Squad, Night of the Creeps). The quick version of the story goes that in 1983, Miner struck a co-financing deal with Toho for the development of the new project and hired Dekker to write the screenplay "on a fluke."
The story of this movie-that-never-was has been well documented over the years, but today we have word that Fred Dekker has finally weighed in on his thoughts on the film over on the podcast Best Movies Never Made. Here Dekker recently recalled:
"I basically tried to come up with a story that would be interesting even if Godzilla didn't show up. That was kinda my pitch. The main plot point... the main plot twist.. was an idea I had that I subsequently realized was a ripoff of a movie called Gorgo. We followed the Jaws template... we did that on a massive scale for the first act of the movie. We suggest Godzilla's out there, but we don't actually show him. And then the end of the first act, our spy guy gets a call from the state department or the feds or whoever... he goes to Mexico... there's this giant dead reptilian creature the size of an apartment building on the beach. But what we find out is that it's the progeny of Godzilla. And that the real dude is much, much, much bigger. Godzilla comes looking for the baby Godzilla."
The full story goes that in 1983, Steve Miner struck a co-financing deal with Toho for the development of the new project. Miner hired Fred Dekker to write the screenplay "on a fluke" and the screenwriter completed the first draft in a few weeks. Powers Boothe and Demi Moore were considered for the lead roles.
Miner hired William Stout to provide storyboards and concept art, and Stout later convinced Miner to hire him as production designer. Stout created hundreds of storyboards, completing 80% of the special effects sequences. Miner intended to use miniatures, stop-motion animation, and the good old man in a suit to pull off the SFX. He hired David W. Allen to provide the stop-motion effects and Stephen Czerkas to create a stop-motion animation figure. Master FX maestro Rick Baker was even hired to build a full-scale animatronic Godzilla head but never got around to building it.
Director Steve Miner on the origins of the project.
"I had always been a fan [of Godzilla] since I was a kid. Once seeing it as an adult, I realized that this could be remade as a good movie. My original idea was to do it in 3-D. I had just done Friday the 13th in 3D and wanted to do a good movie in 3D, and I thought the miniatures would lend themselves to doing good 3-D effects. So it was a combination of trying to do a really good monster movie and doing it in 3-D. I had to get the rights, so I went to Japan and made a deal with the Toho people to co-finance the development of the project, myself and Toho."
It's really too bad that this version of Godzilla: King of the Monsters never made it to the screen. But that said, all is not lost as Dougherty's version looks to be a truly kick-ass monster mash. This new version stars Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Bradley Whitford, Sally Hawkins, Charles Dance, Thomas Middleditch, Aisha Hinds, O'Shea Jackson Jr., David Strathairn, Ken Watanabe, and Zhang Ziyi. It stomps into theaters on May 31, 2019. Dekker's part of this story was shared on the Best Movie Never Made podcast.