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Godzilla - Bryan Cranston interview

Godzilla

Interview by Rob Carnevale and Matthew Turner

BRYAN Cranston talks about the appeal of making Godzilla, why the film work s on a human level and how he made amateur Godzilla movies in his mum’s kitchen as a child.

He also reflects on his own career and how the success of Breaking Bad has helped to give him a lot more control. He was speaking at a UK press conference.

Q. You said that the script kind of blew your mind. What was it about it that captured your imagination?
Bryan Cranston: I think at first I… was thinking that this was going to be just a monster movie, and it really isn’t. And the thing that iced it for me, as far as wanting to be a part of it, was that it has a very strong, character-driven narrative to it. A husband, a wife, a father, a son… a multi-generation. I thought that was very clever. I’ve always thought: “Why not?! Why can’t you meld those?!” Because you have the great, epic, iconic battles with monsters, in a monster movie, and then you also have this group of people that you follow and care about and root for, and you can have it all. And it dove-tailed very nicely into this movie.

Q. How many of the old Godzilla movies have you watched, and which is your favourite?
Bryan Cranston: I always hark it back to the first one I ever saw, from 1954. I was a huge Godzilla fan as well. In fact, I had the little figurines of Godzilla and I would go into my mother’s kitchen and get cups and bowls and things and fill them with dirt… and glasses and things. And then I’d turn them upside down, like moulds, to make my own little city, and then my Godzilla would come through and crash through the whole thing [laughs]. I just loved it. But I remember the Raymond Burr version of it, when they inserted him into the Japanese movie, and later on when I realised how they actually did that I thought it was very clever. By doing that they gave it a universal appeal, so it wasn’t just in the Japanese market and it created a fervour throughout the world. There have been some other films that have come along that have had a measured degree of success. But I’m really happy with this one because of the fact that we really took the time to invest in the characters. In a way, if you just took the storyline of the characters, you could have a separate movie in itself – that they’re fighting to get back and reunite their family. But to have both makes the experience more rewarding.

Q. The film’s about Godzilla but is also a very human story. Could you talk about working on this compelling father and son story?
Bryan Cranston: I am a father so it’s easy to roll into that and he [Aaron]‘s a father too so it’s easy for that relationship to take place. You know, when you sign on to do a piece like this you really are looking at the material, you talk to the director, you agree to it and then you hope that when you get on the set you’ll make a connection. It’s not imperative that you do but the fact that we got along and like each other just made it easier to meld into that relationship. He acted like my son. I would say something and he would roll his eyes… [laughs]. The general disrespect for the elderly!

Q. Since Breaking Bad your celebrity status has reached new levels. How has your life and career changed since this enormous success?
Bryan Cranston: I was dubbed the new darling of Hollywood just like Elizabeth [Olsen]! You know, an actor really is only hoping for opportunity and we’ve been very fortunate to have that come to us and if that’s what stardom means then I accept that. You know, that’s what it means to me… that I can work on a greater level of material and to be able to have more say in what we do. When you first start out as an actor if your agent calls and says: “They like you to do…” You say: “Yes!” before they’re finished with what project it was because you need the job. So, that’s why when you first start out you have a lot of product that you’ve done that you’re not particularly proud about [laughs] but everything was a stepping stone to get to an opportunity where you can then have more control of your own destiny. For a Breaking Bad or a Kick-Ass you don’t really know how it’s going to be received. You do a project in a bubble and you like the work, you like the people you’re working with and you hope for the best. Breaking Bad became this larger than life mushroom cloud that none of us could ha’ve anticipated. We’re very grateful for it but it’s certainly not something that we were working toward that becoming. It’s the public, it’s the fans that create a classic film or television show. It’s up to them to decide if it weathers the test of time and so too will be this version of our film. In time, people will look back and say: “Godzilla of 2014 was fantastic, except for a couple of the direction…” [laughs]

Read our review of Godzilla

Read our interview with director Gareth Edwards