Sunday, December 12, 2010

Kaiju Life

by Armand Vaquer

When I finalized my plans for a trip to Japan to promote The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan, I contacted Sonoe Nakajima, the daughter of the original Godzilla suit-actor Haruo Nakajima, and invited them to lunch or dinner while I was in Tokyo.

Sonoe Nakajima wrote back and said that they were going on a vacation trip at the time of my vacation in Japan and wouldn't be available. She did say that she would have a copy of her father's book, Kaiju Life (Kaiju Jinsei) that was published by Yosensha Co., Ltd. for me at my hotel, Hotel Asia Center of Japan.

I arrived late in the afternoon on Sunday, December 5 at the hotel. When I checked in, the clerk went to the back room and brought out a package saying it was from "Nakajima." I knew immediately that it was the book Sonoe said she'd leave for me. After I got settled in my room, I opened the package and there was the book and autographed "To Armand" with his signature and the date "2010.12.3" (December 3, 2010).

The book itself is an attractive softcover edition with a jacket. The book is in Japanese, but it contains many rare photographs of Mr. Nakajima in action as Godzilla and other monsters in Toho's stable as well as his private life and history. Some are in color on slick paper, the rest are in black & white and on non-slick paper. They are all well reproduced regardless. The number of photos Mr. Nakajima included in his book rivals the number contained in August Ragone's book on special effects pioneer Eiji Tsuburaya. There's that many of them!

Although the book is in Japanese, and I don't read Japanese, I would have bought a copy anyway just for the photographs. Fans of Godzilla and Mr. Nakajima would find this book essential to their collections.

In return, I left copies of The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan for the Nakajimas.

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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.