GODZILLA EXCLUSIVE: "The Event" at SDCC
In San Diego for Comic-Con, Legendary Pictures is painting the town wrecked with the presence of next year's Godzilla, which will be distributed by Warner Bros. in May 2014. This is highlighted by the so-called "Godzilla Event."
Interview conducted by and copyright Edward Gross
Located on J Street between seventh and eighth, the set-up is more about celebrating the history of Godzilla. Once you get past an exterior sign warning about it being a "Radioactive Strike Zone," you're in an area of images, memorabilia and large Godzilla models (none, it should be pointed out, from the new movie). From there, you're ushered into a chamber filled with workers and computer consoles, the monitors of which seem to be tracking....something. Presumably Godzilla. Then warning klaxons sound and you're ushered into an elevator that brings you to floor just below the rooftop. There is rumbling, shaking and it all culminates with the image of Godzilla passing you on the street "outside," turning to peer in the window, failing to see you and moving on - but NOT before giving off the traditional Godzilla roar.
All in all, pretty cool, as was the opportunity to catch up with Barnaby Lee, a lifelong Godzilla fan and member of the Legendary team who helped pull together this particular exhibit.
SCIFI MEDIA ZONE: What's your role in all of this?
BARNABY LEGG: I'm part of the Legendary team. I don't want to suddenly become the figurehead of this; there's been a huge team working on this project.
SCIFI MEDIA ZONE: Right now, though, they're making you the figurehead.
BARNABY LEGG: I guess you're right. You can say that I headed up the fan experience here. I'm a passionate Godzilla fan, as everybody is at Legendary, so I've probably taken the lead in terms of trying to make this the most powerful gift possible for the fans.
SCIFI MEDIA ZONE: Were you in charge of coordinating all of this?
BARNABY LEGG: To a certain extent, yes. As you can probably tell, something like this is so much more than one person. We've got dozens of people behind the scene making everything run and go. It has brought together just a killer team of artists, designers, collectors, and researchers , all in partnership with Gareth and the guys who are making the Legendary film. We just want to make sure that it's something all of Legendary can feel proud of and, hopefully, fingers crossed, something that is getting the fans excited as well.
SCIFI MEDIA ZONE: Since you're such a Godzilla fan, I wonder if any of the things on display are from your collection.
BARNABY LEGG: There are a couple of pieces that are mine. There are a lot of comics in there that are mine and I have specified that I want them back! We reached out to a lot of different people, a lot of different private collectors, doing a lot of buying online, we took a couple of trips to Tokyo to acquire some pieces. It's been a really exciting experience just assembling the ultimate Godzilla treasure trove.
SCIFI MEDIA ZONE: What is it about Godzilla that appeals to you so strongly and why after all these years do you think the public is still fascinated by him?
BARNABY LEGG: Great question. I guess I have to answer two ways. Firstly, I think you have to accept that Godzilla is a lot of things to a lot of different people. Some people prefer that ferocious, terrifying, primal monster. Other people love that more whimsical, savior of mankind side to his personality - using the word whimsical tactfully there, because I know some people think that it gets a little silly in places. For me, I've always loved the spirit of the original; that true fear that the character kind of created. In summary, I just think it's the attitude. He just expresses that anger at the world that we all feel, though that is just my personal feeling. I think Godzilla is many things to many different people.
SCIFI MEDIA ZONE: The last time we had a Godzilla film in the U.S....well, it wasn't really a Godzilla film. Yet people seem excited about this new production.
BARNABY LEGG: I think he's one of those icons. I think it's something we realized even more in our research; that he is indelible in the same way that King Kong is indelible. Or Batman is indelible. He's so embedded not just in our popular culture, but in our psyches that I don't think he'll ever truly go away. People have their own take on it, but ultimately the icon endures.
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