Monday, September 20, 2010

Kaiju Kobayashi, R.I.P.

The man who played the intense prime minister who stopped the United States and the Soviet Union from going to war after Godzilla attacked a Soviet nuclear submarine has passed away.

Left, Keiju Kobayashi.

Kyodo News is reporting:

Keiju Kobayashi, whose earnest performances endeared him to viewers throughout his nearly seven-decade long career, died of heart failure at a Tokyo hospital Thursday, his agency said Saturday. He was 86.

Kobayashi played Prime Minister Mitamura in Return of Godzilla (1984) (a.k.a. Godzilla 1985) in a very memorable performance. In that movie, the United States and the Soviet Union were about to go to war after a Soviet submarine was sunk by Godzilla. As the prime minister, he disclosed the real culprit for the sinking to both governments, thus averting war. He also resisted the U.S. and U.S.S.R. ambassadors' demands to use nuclear weapons against Godzilla.

His career spanned seven decades with his most recent role in Koisuru kanojo, nishi e. (2008).

Kobayashi appeared in roles ranging from prime ministers to police detectives in over 260 movies and television dramas.

He was also the recipient of medals of honor from the Japanese government for his achievements and cultural contributions.

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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.