Godzilla update: Frank Darabont rewrite, casting and more

News Ryan Lambie

All sorts of Godzilla news snippets have emerged, including its new writer, cast shortlist and more...

Godzilla, the king of Japanese giant monsters, will be celebrating its 60th birthday next year. To mark the occasion, Legendary Pictures has been busily laying the foundations for the release of a movie, currently scheduled for May 2014.

The director of indie monster drama Monsters, Gareth Edwards, was confirmed as the director back in January 2011, and in the two years since, the project's been in pre-production, with a first-draft script written by David Callaham rewritten by David S Goyer, then Max Borenstein, and then Drew Pearce.

According to the latest reports, Godzilla is about to be rewritten again. This time, it's Frank Darabont's turn to give the script a reworking - and he's a wise choice, given just how many great genre movies he's been involved with over the past 30-or-so years.

Meanwhile, all sorts of casting reports have emerged, which suggest that Henry Cavill, Scoot McNairy and Caleb Landry Jones have all been shortlisted for the leading role. Joseph Gordon-Levitt was briefly on the list, too, before he was swiftly taken back off again (he'd reportedly been offered the role late last year, but turned it down).

With shooting scripts and actors still to be confirmed, it seems there's a slight difference in opinion between Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros, the latter of whom are heavily invested in Godzilla, and will be distributing it in every territory except Japan. Variety's insiders have said that Warner wants a relatively big-name actor like Cavill or the (now departed) Gordon-Levitt in the lead role, while McNairy and Landry Jones are Legendary's choices.

The Hollywood Reporter also states that Legendary's producers Dan Lin and Roy Lee have been "sparring over creative and financial differences" with Warner, which may explain the various script rewrites and casting choices. At any rate, Variety has reported that Lin and Lee have been ousted, and replaced with Mary Parent, the producer on Guillermo del Toro's own giant monster movie, Pacific Rim.

Godzilla's scheduled to commence shooting in Vancouver and Hawaii on the 14th March (under the codename Nautilus), so everyone concerned will have to move quickly to get the movie locked down in time. Studio wranglings aside, Frank Darabont's a fantastic genre writer, and with Edwards planning a realistic take on the property ("Imagine if this really happened... what would it really be like?" was how he put it last year), it's possible that the mighty Godzilla will get the birthday present he deserves.

You can read more at THR and Collider.

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