Pictured above are the three producers likely to have the biggest influence on this production
(in order): Yoshimitsu Banno, Roy Lee, and Dan Lin.
Written by Evan Brehany
Edited by Donny Winter and Evan Brehany
As to date, the only names given to us connected to the Legendary Picture’s Godzilla project are a list of producers. Executive and general producers. Through this article we shall introduce the producers' job and how their influence on a project could make or break a film.
Definition of "Producer"
Merriam-Webster world dictionary defines producer as such, ": a person who supervises or finances a work (as a staged or recorded performance) for exhibition or dissemination to the public." With that being said, while the director has the final word on the creative standpoint of the production, the producer does write the check therefore the producer can control certain aspects of production.
The producers that are presented with Legendary Picture’s Godzilla are Dan Lin, Roy Lee, and Brian Rodgers. Dan Lin is the first name to come up. A fresh faced Asian member to the Hollywood game, his resume does show some modest hits, including "Terminator: Salvation" (2009) and the recent smash hit "Sherlock Holmes" (2009). Dan does have some history with Legendary Pictures, specifically regarding his involvement with the film "10,000 BC" (a film done with the same crew that did the 1998 Godzilla flop). In an interview on the red carpet for "Terminator: Salvation" about being involved with set franchises and rebooting them, he said, "You want to honor the original mythology and at the same time bring in new fans so it’s a type rope." Dan Lin also mentioned that "we decided it was important to set up the mythology before we start the movie." When being interviewed specifically for "Terminator: Salvation", a film which is part of a franchise, two things stuck out which he said were good decisions for the quest to bring in new fans: the hireling of Christian Bale (of Batman fame) and Sam Worthington (who Dan called "a great new actor" before his work in "Avatar" (2009) and "Clash of the Titans" (2010)).
The next name is Roy Lee. A Korean-American producer of 41, Roy Lee is the largest name in the business when it comes to Asian remakes done by American studios. His projects includes the Ring Series, Grudge series, "Dark Water", "The Uninvited", "Eight Below", "Internal Affairs", "My Sassy Girl", "Shutter", "The Eye", "The Echo", and the up coming remake of "Oldboy". According to "The New Yorker", Roy’s job is that he "watches videos of every Asian movie ever made". Sounds fair enough, maybe even to the point that he may have seen some of the Godzilla films. When looking upon his resume, one seems to notice a pattern. Specifically, adaptations in which Roy Lee produces and a member of the original is also on (director or writer usually) is a box office success and is critically acclaimed. It’s hard to judge him. Genessee Kim said this about Roy, "Roy Lee is the man Asian studios turn to when they want top dollar for a Hollywood reincarnation of their successful original films." Not much is said about this producer’s involvement with the creative aspect of the film. Though any similar trends in the Grudge series and the Ring series (the American films) could reveal what could be his style. Along with that, with his tendency to bring in talents from the film franchise he reboots with Hollywood, Yoshimitsu Banno and Kenji Okuhira may not be the only names connected to the Godzilla franchise we may ultimately see.
The last name on the producers list is Brian Rogers. A producer with lesser experience with his only noticeable credits being a producer to some Z-List productions, his most notable title is that of a SFX artist, working on accouple of episodes of "101 Deeds for Eddie McDowd". However, it should be noted that he was part of the group that was to produce the film, "Godzilla: 3D To The Max". Recently he released an interesting comment that warranted a great deal of attention. At the 3DNext Summit, Rogers claimed, "Clash of the Titans' is important here...because it made the industry realize that you cannot do substandard 3D and charge full pricing." This has led fans to think that this film may be going for the extremes - either real 3D or 2D. Chances are it is going to be in 3D. Please refer to Ken’s write up for more information [http://godzilla2012.blogspot.com/2010/06/reason-to-be-optimistic-about-godzilla.html].
Definition of "Executive Producer"
Now, we go to the executive producers list. We have Yoshimitsu Banno, Kenji Okuhira, and Doug Davidson who are filling the job. Now, an executive producer is different from a regular producer. According to Wikipedia, an executive producer, "In major productions, can sometimes be a representative or CEO of the film studio. Or the title may be given as an honorarium to a major investor. Often they oversee the financial, administrative and creative aspects of production, though not always in a technical capacity. In smaller companies or independent projects, it may be synonymous with creator/writer. Often, a "Line Producer" is awarded this title if this producer has a lineage of experience, or is involved in a greater capacity than a "typical" line producer. E.G - working from development through post, or simply bringing to the table a certain level of expertise."
According to that definition, it sounds good. So let’s look at Yoshimitsu Banno. I think that all who read this blog knows who he is. The director of "Godzilla vs. Hedorah", one of the more obscene but darker (in it’s own right) Godzilla films. Banno, has shown that while the film he made back in 1971 was extremely influenced by the culture at the time, he managed to get the allegorical structure of the original Godzilla in with his film, making it a fan favorite and an effective anti-pollution film. Now, it is said that executive producers do have some influence over the creative aspects of the film, similar to a general producer. Because of this, he is up there with Dan Lin and Roy Lee. Now, with his age and the fact that he has actually worked on a Godzilla film (and some other Toho non-Goji tokusatsu works), that demands a certain amount of respect. Hopefully what ideas he does have will be taken into consideration and used.
Now, let’s go to Kenji Okuhira. He is not well-known, though he was united with Banno with the infamous "Godzilla: 3D to the Max" project. However, his shining achievement is with him being the producer of the award winning 1999 film, "Pups". Obviously due to his Japanese decent, he could be one who has seen the Godzilla films and may just as well also know what he is doing. If so, this is another creative mind which can help balance out the equation.
The last name is Doug Davison. Here is where the story starts to go full circle. The important part is that he has a history with one of the producers: Roy Lee. Together, the duo is most notably known for the finding of the company Vertigo Entertainment - an intermediary company that sells the remake rights for Asian films, on behalf of the rights-holders, to American studios and such. So most of the projects that Roy Lee is involved with, Doug also is. Most of the titles he also works with are done through Vertigo Entertainment.
What does this tell us? With producers having almost the same amount of power as directors, this gives us a good idea of what is to come from this side of the equation. As we are still waiting for the other important parts of the equations: screenwriter, director, and composer, we can at least now speculate and hope that what we are going to get is good.