Friday, May 7, 2010

Giant Monster Attack Hawaii - Avery Guerra Interviews Film Maker Dane Neves

Written By: Avery Guerra / Robert Hood / Ken Hulsey

If you were a giant monster, where would you want to attack? Japan? No, its been done. New York City? No, its too crowded. London? No, too rainy.

How about Hawaii? Yeh that would work, mix in a little business with pleasure. Sounds like a plan!

Well that is exactly the premise of film maker Dane Neves' upcoming animated short, "Giant Monsters Attack Hawaii!". Lucky for us, Avery Guerra was able to get an interview with Neves, where he spills all the details on his little film.

First off, though, Neves told Avery all about himself:

I was born and raised in Hawaii (graduated with a film degree at the University of Hawaii) and I have noticed that Hawaii is one of the few places that has never had its own fictional giant monster (i.e. Japan has Godzilla, New York has King Kong, Korea has that Host tadpole thing). In film school, they encouraged us to make true-to-life, character driven, emotional films… but those kinds of films don’t interest me. My thesis film was called “The Monkeyboy Fever”, about a boy who gets bitten by a monkey and turns into one himself the day of his prom. It was the furthest thing from what I was expected to create, but it ended up an award-winning local hit because it’s a crowd-pleaser. I hope to generate the same excitement with this current giant monster movie, which is not a student film but a completely independent production.

Then he went into the film's plot:

The story follows a team of giant monsters on a rampage in Waikiki. It is implied that the human military bombed their monster island home and Hawaii is the first stop in their revenge attack. They are Abercrumble (a Godzilla-like reptile), Maulister (a human-insect hybrid), Cruehl (an obese Kraken), and Zillabong (a frog-hybrid) … and, yes, their names are parodies of popular clothing brands. Zillabong is our protagonist. He is the youngest, smallest of the monsters … the black sheep of the bunch. In the end Zillabong must help his comrades face up to a giant military robot — but does he have the power to do so?

Now to the Q&A:

The audience?

This is a film aimed at younger audiences [though like Pixar's work it looks like it embraces adults, too]. I really enjoy making all-ages movies because I can distribute them to the widest audience possible.

How will the monsters be created?

The monsters in this film do have dialogue and they will be voiced by actors. Abercrumble, Cruehl, and Zillabong will be realistic hand puppets and Maulister will be a guy in a suit (think Power Rangers on crack). All of these characters will be shot against a green screen and then later inserted into on-location shots of various Hawaii landmarks. I enjoy using puppets instead of CGI because, with puppets, there is more of a realistic dimension to them as if the audience can believe they can reach out and touch them. Although CGI has become a very useful tool in creating characters, it is just not the medium I would like to turn to for this particular project.

The concept poster and early concept art included in this post is by artist Richard Dang. Note that in the latter the frog-monster is named Smokely. Why’s that?

Smokely is his former name … he is now officially Zillabong. Also, the character Abercrumble will most likely not look like how he does in the concept art. I really want him to be more reptilian.

The production schedule?

Shooting will commence over the course of the US summer. It will star Grant Uchida, Jobe Allen, Chris Ricketts, Dennis Noah, James Chan, Michael Hardy, and Duane Kiyota.

Your aim in making the film?

My goal for making this film is to prove to the rest of the world that there is a lot of talent in Hawaii and that we can create something on a large scale like this. I would like to start off by submitting it to various local, national and international film festivals and see where it goes from there.

The cream on this particular giant monster chocolate cake is the fact that the author — and owner of Undead Backbrain (Robert Hood) — played a part, albeit unknowingly, in the film’s development. How’s that, you ask?

A lot of it is inspired by Robert Hood’s Daikaiju books. I read them for inspiration for this film. Please tell him I said “Thank you” for editing those books … really great material.

Then Robert (Hood), being the gentleman he is, responded this way on his website:

It’s a pleasure, Dane. My co-editor Robin Pen and myself are just happy we could help contribute to the genre in this way.

For those reading this who don’t know, a few years ago I edited (with Robin Pen) three anthologies of original giant monster stories collected from around the world: Daikaiju! Giant Monster Tales (Agog! Press, 2005; Prime Books US, 2006), Daikaiju! 2: Revenge of the Giant Monsters (Agog! Press/Prime Books US, 2007) and Daikaiju! 3: Giant Monsters vs the World (Agog! Press/Prime Books US, 2007). The first book (which took the Best Collection category in the Ditmar Awards — the Australian popular SF awards — in 2006) sold out two print runs in Australia and a few of the local editions of the other two are still hanging around. But US editions of all three are now available from Amazon. If you don’t have them, go and buy them now. You won’t regret it.

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Burbank, CA – March 29, 2010 – Legendary Pictures announced today that they will develop and produce a new film based on Toho Company’s famed GODZILLA character. Through the terms of the agreement, Legendary Pictures has acquired the rights to produce a movie inspired by Toho’s Godzilla, a franchise the Japanese company created and has nurtured for over fifty years.

Toho’s GODZILLA franchise boasts one of the most widely recognized film creatures worldwide, resulting in a series of books, television programs, video games and more than 25 films worldwide. Legendary intends to approach the film and its characters in the most authentic manner possible. The company will, in the near future, announce a filmmaker to helm the film for an intended 2012 release. The film will fall under the company’s co-production and co-financing deal with Warner Bros. Toho will distribute the film in Japan."

"Godzilla" is coming back -- this time, with Legendary Pictures taking the lead, co-producing and co-financing with Warner Bros. for release in 2012.

Legendary announced Monday it had obtained rights to the iconic monster character from Japan's Toho Co., which has overseen more than 25 "Godzilla" films. Toho will release the pic in Japan.

Legendary said it's planning to announce a director shortly.

In addition to Legendary, producers on the new film will be Dan Lin, Roy Lee and Brian Rogers. Yoshimitsu Banno, Kenji Okuhira and Doug Davison will exec produce.

"Godzilla is one of the world's most powerful pop culture icons, and we at Legendary are thrilled to be able to create a modern epic based on this long-loved Toho franchise," said Thomas Tull, Chairman and CEO of Legendary. "Our plans are to produce the Godzilla that we, as fans, would want to see. We intend to do justice to those essential elements that have allowed this character to remain as pop-culturally relevant for as long as it has."

Legendary noted the film will fall under its co-production and co-financing deal with Warner Bros. Legendary's productions with Warners have included "The Dark Knight," "300" and "The Hangover."

Speculation about a new "Godzilla" has been active since last summer. The Bloody Disgusting web site reported in August that the project was in development.