It's rare to walk on to a set and drop an awe-inspired, "Holy sh-t," to yourself after more than half of a decade of being spoiled by visiting film sets. Much of the blockbuster film fare calls for green screens surrounding small pieces of a vehicle or building. Walking into Doctor Strange's Sanctum Santorum is quite a memorable moment, as is touching the Batmobile on the set of Zack Snyder's Justice League. Still, few sights compare to that of the massive 60-foot-long skull created one just one stage of the Australian set of Godzilla vs. Kong, which prompted an audible reaction once the intense visual of merely one of many sets was fully processed.
When ComicBook.com visited the set of Godzilla vs. Kong, the massive skull modeled after a dragon was quite a mystery, seeing as Godzilla: King of the Monsters hadn't yet hit theaters. The room was dark, quiet, and had a mind-boggling center piece with glowing neon wires draping from it and a control room big enough for multiple 6-foot humans to stand inside. Now, it's clear to see, this was the skull of massive left head of Ghidorah which Godzilla had severed and it's about to play a key role in Godzilla vs. Kong.
It should come as no surprise that Godzilla vs. Kong is going big. On a cool day in Australia back in early 2019, the cast and filmmakers allowed us to see just how big the neon-colored, globetrotting, city-smashing event will be. Walking into Stage 8 at Village Roadshow Studios on Australia's east coast, the scope of the Godzilla vs. Kong starts to sink in. Stepping into the production, we are greeted by darkness, followed by little cloth baggies to put on our shoes as to not scuff the fully reflective floor on the other side of a curtain which helps the neon lights stemming from Ghidorah's skull glow and illuminate the room, reflecting back on the skull itself. It's quite a moment to take in, knowing this gigantic creation before my eyes is part of a fictional story, but still looks like something which belongs in the Smithsonian.
Close behind it, atop a metal staircase which is part of the film's canon, the control room of it all seems to hint this is somehow tied to Mechagodzilla. It all gives vibes of a Pacific Rim-like drift to give someone control of the gigantic robot.
On this day, Millie Bobby Brown's Madison is back in action to get to the bottom of it (literally, she and her two new friends, Brian Tyree Henry's Bernie and Julian Dennison's Josh are snooping around this location from below, dodging armed guards and looking for answers while also serving up a few laughs).
"She's just trying to become a young woman, and that can be really hard," Brown says of her Madison character, who was last seen more than four years ago in the timeline of the films. "With the help of her little trio, she's really growing as a person." Brown's character is going to have a special connection with Godzilla, further than what we have seen before. "The first movie, King of the Monsters, her relationship with Godzilla was pretty distant," Brown explains. "There are moments in King of the Monsters, where she gets to have amazing scenes with him, but definitely this movie, Godzilla vs. King Kong, it's much more about the technical side of it, learning more about the data of him as a Titan."
Of course, the main event of the film is the pairing of two Titans in the film for a showdown (of which there will be "several" according to production designer Tom Hammock). Four years after King of the Monsters and about four decades since Kong: Skull Island, the showdown between Godzilla and King Kong is more evenly matched than it would have been if the giant monkey were the same size as when we last saw him.
"Kong is bigger in this film, there’s a line in Skull Island that he’s still growing, so he’s an adolescent in that film," Godzilla vs. Kong producer Alex Garcia explains, sitting at the end of a conference table in the film's concept art-plastered war room. "Where we begin 40-something years later, he is significantly larger but he’s still the Kong you know. He has a few tricks up his sleeve, just by virtue of being around in a modern world and things that he can use and use tactically that Godzilla can’t." Still, "[Kong] has the odds stacked against him."
Although there are large amounts of time between the preceding movies featured the films titular Titans, Godzilla vs. Kong director Adam Wingard is quick to share his appreciation for the work of directors who worked in this world before him. "One of the most important things was, is that this feels like a legitimate sequel to those movies," Wingard says, referencing 2014's Godzilla, Kong: Skull Island, and Godzilla: King of the Monsters. "Even though Kong is a little bit different in this film, it's only because he's aged from the time of the last movie. So, he's a little more grizzled and all those kinds of things, but I guess what I'm trying to get at is that part of the problem with King Kong versus Godzilla, the original movie, is that we'd already established Godzilla, he looks basically like he did in the earlier films, but this was sort of a new King Kong."
Still, the glaring question remains: why are they fighting?
While the answer was readily available as a means to preserve spoilers, it does seem that humans are going to be playing a key role after Godzilla starts acting up and the story will dive into backstories, looking at the past for the characters along with their futures. When the Kaiju beast seems to be a threat to humanity, the humans attempt to enlist King Kong as their defender but their retrieving of Kong from Skull Island goes awry when a shackled Kong is met by Godzilla in a exaggerated Jaws-like sequence, if the epic concept art on display is any indication.
"A second mission is commissioned to go into the Hollow Earth…but it’s much more dangerous journey," Garcia explains, taking a surprisingly deep dive into the film's story details. "[Alexandeer Skarsgard's] Nathan, who at first is resistant is eventually, through some very emotional means, convinced to go. He’s told they have new crafts [HEAVs] for this journey into the Hollow Earth through this different portal. But Nathan only agrees to go if they take Kong with them. The belief is that if they have a creature they believe came from Hollow Earth." It's probably a smart play, too, considering there will be all sorts of new monsters in the film, especially in the Hollow Earth sequences.
"They take Kong off Skull Island, start making the journey toward Antarctica, and eventually intersect with Godzilla who we start to realize has been acting the way he’s been acting is because he is trying to stem any other threats to the balance he maintains," Garcia says. "Kong obviously hasn’t been off Skull Island for a long time, the fact that he’s off is causing a disruption to the balance. There’s a massive action sequence – which was one of the first things Adam pitched to us; it’s really a phenomenal sequence – where Godzilla attacks the fleet…and there is a massive battle with Godzilla taking out the ships. He’s like a shark in the water approaching Kong, and they have a massive face-off in the water."
As for what is causing Godzilla to act up, Garcia and the gang get a bit hush, but one can assume the massive Apex corporation could be a part of this. The group, which Garcia describes as a "megalithic technological conglomerate," is the group which has acquired Ghidorah's skull. As Ghidorah "haunts this movie," it would seem there is something brewing here, especially considering Shun Oguri's Ren Serizawa is involved and he might just have a bad taste in his mouth after his father sacrificed himself to juice up Godzilla.0comments
"It’s not really written in the movie, but how he imagines it, is his father, they were close once, and his father was very occupied solving world problems with Godzilla, and he did sort of follow into his father’s footsteps, but he doesn’t believe he was heard by his father," Oguri said, as translated from Japanese on set. "In general, he is a character who wants to protect the Earth and that is his goal in general," the translator on set explained per Oguri. "I think the means to get to the goal is a little bit different from everyone else."