Movie Interviews

Published on March 26th, 2021 | by gareth

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Godzilla Vs Kong: Legendary Comics Prequel Comic Interview

Here are the extended interview questions I did with some of the staff for the various Godzilla Vs. Kong Prequel comics and books from Legendary Comics.

There are multiple people being interviewed for the various titles.

Interview Questions for Marie Anello (Kingdom Kong)

Writer Questions

From Justin (Skewed & Reviewed) for Marie

  1. Did you work with anyone involved in the MonsterVerse films in regards to the story?

My main contacts were my editors Robert Napton and Nikita Kannekanti at Legendary Comics, so I didn’t speak with anyone from the film directly. However, in the early stages when we were breaking the story, my treatments would be sent to the film team for review and approval. Though I never spoke to them personally, it was always really exciting (and nerve-wracking) to know that the people making this big-budget movie were seeing my work!

  1. Are there any classic Godzilla (or non-Godzilla) or Kong films that you draw inspiration from?

Not so much Godzilla since this book is specifically Kong’s story, but I really wanted to balance out Kong’s earlier iterations while staying true to his characterization in Skull Island. On one hand, I wanted to tap into the type of early monster movies that the 1933 King Kong exemplifies, that sense of mystery and danger. Kaiju are so imposing, so otherworldly, and yet Kong over the decades has become so sympathetic and relatable to us as viewers. I wanted to honor both the monstrousness in those old movies and the empathy that’s grown over time.

  1. Do these comics set up the upcoming Godzilla vs. Kong movie, and if so, how?

Yes! Kingdom Kong is a direct prequel to Godzilla vs. Kong and sets up a lot of the circumstances we’ll see in the opening of the film. I don’t want to give too much away, but a big factor in writing this script was making sure that certain characters and technologies were accurately introduced to help give more context for the movie audience.

  1. Will we see any classic foes in these comics?

Not in Kingdom Kong. We’re introducing an entirely new Titan, the death bat Camazotz!

  1. Are these standalone stories or will we see more?

Right now, Kingdom Kong is a standalone that’s meant to precede the film. I’d love to see more stories featuring Kong and our human protagonist Audrey, but so far this is the only one.

From Gareth (Skewed & Reviewed) for Marie

  1. How did you become attached to the project?

My agent reached out to me back in 2019 (two years to the day that I’m writing this!) to introduce me to Legendary Comics’ editor Nikita Kannekanti, who was auditioning potential writers for a tie-in movie project. I had very little information about the project due to NDAs and was asked to write a pitch based on a short creative brief. Apparently and unbeknownst to me, Nikita knew my work from the YA anthology Shout Out, liked my pitch, and selected me for the project. It still feels so unreal, and I feel so lucky to have been a part of this comic. It just goes to show that a huge part of making comics is being true to your creative instincts and finding ways to put stuff out there – you never know who will see it!

  1. With so much lore for the characters how do you balance moving things forward yet staying true to the legacy that has come before?

You rely heavily on Legendary’s mythology department! In the early stages I was emailing the mythology team constantly about every detail to make sure that I was on the same page with Legendary and what they envisioned for this world. I think a big part of staying true to these characters’ legacies is remembering that no matter how their stories change, whether they’re fighting humanity or saving it, they are inhuman. They don’t have the same priorities (though sometimes they line up) and their experience of the world is exponentially longer than ours.

  1. At what point in the creative process for GvK did you start on the comics?

As far as I know, when I was brought on to the comic, Godzilla vs. Kong had already begun principal photography. Since my comic was to be a prequel and introduction for certain characters, I was given a shooting script so that I’d have context for what I was foreshadowing.

  1. Has the delay of the film caused by the Pandemic changed the approach of timing of the comics?

Yes and no. When things really started getting serious last March, I was already about halfway done with the comic’s manuscript. The release date being moved didn’t affect me much, though I know it probably altered things for Zid.

  1. Do you plan to do future comics in the series or ones around other classic monsters?

That’s up to Legendary! I’d love to tell more stories within the Monsterverse, and not just in the timeline of the film franchise. This is a world where these creatures have always existed but were hidden and obscured by myth. How does that change the details of our history? What would it be like if, I don’t know, a 12th century peasant caught a glimpse of a Titan, how would that affect their life? What kind of other groups existed before the founding of Monarch? There are a lot of rich veins to explore. Rodan’s a personal favorite of mine because I love flying monsters, so it would be awesome to write a comic starring him.

From Michael (Skewed & Reviewed) for Marie

  1. Were you big (sorry for the pun) fans of King Kong growing up? Any memories of your first encounter with him on either the big or small screen?

I can’t say I was a fan of King Kong as a kid. If you look at the timeline of major films starring Kong, there’s this 20-year gap that perfectly intersects with my childhood in the 90’s, he just wasn’t in vogue. But he was already such a ubiquitous image in culture, I can’t even remember the first time I saw him. I feel like it must have been as some parody on a cartoon, or maybe that Energizer Bunny commercial from 1993. I do remember when someone actually explained to me how King Kong ends, I was really upset! Poor Kong!

  1. What other franchises outside of King Kong and Godzilla did you draw inspiration from? Any nods to other monster franchises in the book?

I was a huge fan of Power Rangers growing up, and there’s a lot of that in here, I think. Classic Voltron as well, which Zid totally keyed into. You have this elite team of humans with strong personalities, their own baggage and goals, learning to work together to fight a giant monster. Also, I was fully raised on anime, and I think Audrey’s character arc was influenced a lot by anime like Gundam Wing and Evangelion, stories about people in extraordinary situations struggling with their demons and the challenges placed on them.

  1. How do you personally perceive King Kong? Hero/ Villain? Both/Neither/

Personally, I try not to think of Titans in human terms like hero or villain, because those labels presume human morality. However, I do think, unlike much older Titans, Kong has only ever known our world and he’s had to experience it without others of his kind. I think that, because he’s always been near humans, and because of his experiences with Skullcrawlers, he’s developed a protectiveness of life on Skull Island. He won’t hesitate to kill something that threatens him, but he has a sense of empathy, and you can see that in his quiet moments. It makes him very easy to root for.

 

 

Interview Questions for ZID (Kingdom Kong)

Artist Questions

 

From Michael (Skewed & Reviewed) for ZID

  1. Were you big (sorry for the pun) fans of King Kong growing up? Any memories of your first encounter with him on either the big or small screen?

Sorry to be a giant disappointment, but I wasn’t. In Malaysia there wasn’t much exposure to either King Kong or Godzilla on television. There were more Tokusatsu shows, Ultraman, and Kamen Rider for a kid growing up in the late 80s here.

 

  1. What other franchises outside of King Kong and Godzilla did you draw inspiration from? Any nods to other monster franchises in the book?

Monster Hunter. I’ve been OBSESSED with it since 2006 when I found this strangely addictive game on the PSP. I think fans of the video game can see it clearly since The Birth of Kong.

 

  1. How do you personally perceive King Kong? Hero/ Villain? Both/Neither/

A victim of circumstance. He’s neither a hero nor a villain. Traditionally he’s been set up to be a tragic character, but I like how he is more in the Monsterverse. He’s seen as a protector, but he’s just doing what he can to survive being the last of his kind.

 

 

Interview Questions for Kiki Thorpe (Kong and Me)

Writer Questions

 

From Gareth (Skewed & Reviewed) for Kiki

  1. How did the idea to do a children’s book arise?

The idea of doing a children’s book for GvK originated at Legendary Comics. When Jann Jones, the editor, approached me about writing it, I was intrigued because a children’s bedtime story is not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of this franchise. But it was a fun challenge—how do we adapt this for a new audience? We envisioned this as a story that film and comics fans could read with their young kids to introduce them to these characters in a way that felt age-appropriate.

  1. How do you take a misunderstood character like Kong yet one who is associated with violence and adapt it for children?

Of course, we weren’t going to focus on the violence. But there’s so much more to Kong than that. There’s a gentleness that’s core to his character, and we see that come through in his friendship with this young girl, Jia. So that’s what we chose to spotlight. There are many aspects of their relationship that will be familiar to kids. Kids understand feeling small. They understand the desire to be both protected and in charge.

When we decided to set the story on Skull Island, it opened up so many fun possibilities for what might take place. It’s just an incredibly rich world, with all these different environments and intriguing monsters. The artist, Nidhi Chanani, has a really vibrant, playful style, and I think she did a good job of making all the monsters more appealing than scary.

  1. Why do you think Kong is appealing to kids?

I think monsters are always interesting to kids. Kong has the added advantage that his features are familiar; it’s his size that makes him fearsome. Also, this story is told from Jia’s perspective, so we see Kong through her eyes. He’s this 300foot+ monster who’s got her back. Who wouldn’t want that?

  1. At what part of the GVK process did you start on the book?

I’m not sure where in the production timeline I started, because COVID-related shut downshifted that schedule. But there was a final script, so I was able to read that. I haven’t seen any of the film though. I will be watching it on March 31 like everyone else!

  1. What do you hope readers will take away from the book?

That great friendships can occur between people (or monsters) who are very different. Also, that no matter how small you are, you are important to someone.

 

 

Interview Questions for Nidhi Chanani (Kong and Me)

Artist Questions

From Gareth (Skewed & Reviewed) for Nidhi

  1. How did the idea to do a children’s book arise?

I would love to take credit for the idea, but I can’t. The project was offered to me after Legendary had a script from the wonderful Kiki Thorpe.

  1. How do you take a misunderstood character like Kong yet one who is associated with violence and adapt it for children?

Drawing Kong was an exciting challenge for me. I wanted to make him sympathetic but also retain his imposing nature. His impressive size and tremendous power aren’t diminished. His relationship with Jia makes him accessible and gives his character depth and balance.

  1. Why do you think Kong is appealing to kids?

Monsters have always had a place in children’s books. Not with violence or gore, but simply as monsters. There are countless examples from Where the Wild Things Are to a recent title, El Cucuy is Scared Too. Presenting Kong in a picture book makes sense. It allows kids to explore his monstrous character in a safe and self-directed environment.

  1. At what part of the GVK process did you start on the book?

I began working on Kong and Me in April of 2020.

  1. What do you hope readers will take away from the book?

It was an absolute joy to illustrate Kiki’s words. I hope that readers will enjoy the art and text which invites readers to understand that unconventional friendships can be fun, challenging and important.

Interview Questions for Greg Keyes (Godzilla Dominion)

Writer Questions

 

From Justin (Skewed & Reviewed) for Greg

  1. Did you work with anyone involved in the MonsterVerse films in regards to the story?

Oh, yes. Dominion isn’t a story I pitched to Legendary, it’s one they brought to me. I was part of a much larger team that conceived of and carried out this project, from the initial brainstorming to the various stages of execution.

  1. Are there any classic Godzilla (or non-Godzilla) films that you draw inspiration from?

Certainly the first one, Godzilla. I was also a huge fan of King Kong movies, and movies about kaiju in general. As a young child, I had dreams – not always nightmares – about giant creatures. I remember one, when my family was living in the Navajo Nation, of a gigantic horned creature peaking over the Lukachukai mountains at me. I also draw inspiration from the monsters of myth and legend from all over the world.

  1. Do these comics set up the upcoming Godzilla vs. Kong movie, and if so, how?

They give us a glimpse of what happens between Godzilla: King of the Monsters, and yes, some of the events in Dominion lead directly into Godzilla vs. Kong. Going much further than that, I would be moving into spoiler territory.

  1. Will we see any classic Godzilla foes in these comics?

One, and you can probably guess which one. And one other, sort of.

  1. Are these standalone stories or will we see more?

They are integrated into the Monsterverse, so they are part of a much larger story. I hope – and believe – that Dominion holds up on its own, and it’s quite different in its own way, but it is no way separate from the Monsterverse.

From Gareth (Skewed and Reviewed) for Greg

  1. How did you become attached to the project?

I wrote the novelization of Godzilla: King of the Monsters. I had a conversation with Mike Dougherty, Zach Shields, and the Mythology Manager from Legendary at the time in which we discussed material I might add to the novel. The novel contains a short scene from Godzilla’s point of view. I guess they liked it, because they asked me to write a graphic novel along the same lines.

  1. With so much lore for the characters how do you balance moving things forward yet staying true to the legacy that has come before?

Legendary has a Mythology Manager and Toho has a Chief Godzilla Officer. Much of the balancing act you’re talking about involves me saying, “I want to do this, and I want to do it this way”. Then I’m told what works about what I’ve proposed and what doesn’t. While it certainly is informed by the classic movies, the Monsterverse has its own internal logic. As a writer, I’ve spent a lot of time playing in the universes of others. I always make every effort to tell a new, interesting story while respecting the house I’m a guest in.

  1. At what point in the creative process for GVK did you start on the comics?

I’ve touched on this above, but in terms of timeline, it was while Godzilla vs. Kong was still in production. I was provided with an early version of the script. That way I could see where things were going after the end of the graphic novel, and lead into those events.

  1. Has the delay of the film caused by the Pandemic changed the approach of timing of the comics?

It gave us a lot more time than we normally would have had to polish it up. From my point of view that’s a good thing. Almost certainly the artist Drew Johnson and the colorist Allen Passalaqua would agree. I think it really shows in the work, which is just gorgeous.

  1. Do you plan to do future comics in the series or ones around other classic monsters?

If asked, I would do so happily. But there are a lot of voices out there that can add depth and diversity to these worlds.

From Michael (Skewed & Reviewed) for Greg

  1. How do you get inside Godzilla’s head? To be able to visualize the world from his point of view

I’m not sure exactly how I do this with any point of view I write from. I guess I try to find something inside of myself that might seem analogous to the character. I do research. For Godzilla I re-watched films, but I also read a lot of mythology. I studied real animals, past and present. I watched nature documentaries. One day while brainstorming for the graphic novel, I was fortunate enough to catch two anole lizards fighting over territory on a vine-covered fence in my backyard. One of them looked old and beaten-up, with a stub of a tail. He was no longer agile. He sometimes stumbled, missing footholds. His opponent was young, with a long, sleek tail. But it was the younger anole who was eventually driven off. It made me think about Godzilla, patrolling his territory, making sure everything is as it should be.

  1. What was your first encounter with Godzilla on the large/small screen and what sort of impact did it make on you at the time? and as you prepared for this novel?

We didn’t have a television for big chunks of my childhood, or lived in places with no reception and no cable. We also didn’t see a lot of movies. I was, however, a big fan of such creatures in books, and a complete dinosaur nut. I first saw Godzilla when I was probably ten or eleven, at a screening at the local community college, but I was aware of him because of models and such long before that. And eventually, there was the Saturday morning cartoon. Preparing for the books, I went back and watched a lot of the older movies, but the one that still strikes me pretty deeply is the first one.

I was also always fascinated by the Mothra Faeries.

One movie that had an early impact on me was Jason and the Argonauts. I saw part of it on a black-and-white TV when we were visiting a relative. In one scene, a gigantic bronze “talos” comes alive and proceeds to crush argonauts underfoot. They killed it by opening a plug on the back of its heel, and on the black-and-white TV it looked like the talos was bleeding sand. That was such a weird image to me, it stuck with me for years. It was only much later, in my twenties, that I discovered what movie it was and saw it in color, only to discover it was bleeding molten metal, not sand.

  1. With the numerous times Godzilla has teamed up with other titans/monsters who do you think complements him the best?

Mothra for me, with Rodan coming in second.

  1. How much insight were you given into the Godzilla vs Kong movie did you have in preparation for the graphic novel?

I saw an early version of the script and had a number of discussions with the folks at Legendary, so quite a bit.

 

Interview Questions for Drew Edward Johnson (Godzilla Dominion)

Artist Questions

 

From Michael (Skewed & Reviewed) for Drew

  1. How do you get inside Godzilla’s head? To be able to visualize the world from his point of view.

I try to consider his motivations—He’s a King, by instinct and ferocity. He’s driven by an animalistic sense of duty to protect his planet and its creatures, who are all viewed through his eyes as his territory…His kingdom. He’s gotta enforce the unspoken, yet understood rules and boundaries of that kingdom. A king or queen naturally faces threats to their rule from competitors or their citizenry, so as a King, Godzilla must fight all comers, and deal with petty squabbles among the (literally) little people. This is the daily business of being Godzilla. I mean, it sounds silly, but if you consider all of these as non-verbal, instinctual factors of Godzilla’s existence, it makes (a strange sort of) sense. That’s where my head goes when I’m trying to get into his.

  1. What was your first encounter with Godzilla on the large/small screen and what sort of impact did it make on you at the time? and as you prepared for this novel?

My first viewings of Godzilla were all on Los Angeles’ KTLA Channel 5’s MOVIE FOR A SATURDAY or SUNDAY AFTERNOON or EVENING. The movies were hosted by the Great Tom Hatton, who would give the viewers bits of behind-the-scenes trivia on the intros back from commercials. On many visits to our grandparents’ house, my brother and I would take our chances on whether or not Tom would have a cool movie on one of those afternoons. Sometimes we got lucky and we got to see Godzilla films, or sometimes other giant monster films. Between these and watching ULTRAMAN when I was little, I believed that no battle was worth anything if it wasn’t fought by giant creatures or giant aliens. My first childhood drawings were of Ultraman fighting giant monsters who could breathe toxic fog or shoot beams from their eyes. Godzilla and giant monsters were the gateway to a life of drawing. Every time I’ve sat down to work on a Godzilla page, I access memories of me and my brother, sprawled on the sofa in my grandparent’s den and watching some poor city getting stomped by titans.

  1. With the numerous times Godzilla has teamed up with other titans/monsters who do you think complements him the best?

When I was a kid, I really dug Jet Jaguar. That’s probably because he reminded me of Ultraman, who I always wanted to see teamed up with Godzilla, but only after an initial fight upon meeting him for the first time. Now, I like Mothra best. I really love the Godzilla: King of the Monsters’ Mothra in both design and personality. She’s the deadly partner who can back up Godzilla, or who just might beat him if necessary.

  1. How much insight were you given into the Godzilla vs Kong movie did you have in preparation for the graphic novel?

Not much. I think I might know something, but I won’t be able to verify it ’til I see the movie….I’m probably wrong though….Maybe.

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About the Author

Syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. His work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site and publication “Skewed and Reviewed”. He has three books of film, game reviews and interviews published and is a well-received and in demand speaker on the convention circuit. Gareth has appeared in movies and is a regular guest on a top-rated Seattle morning show. He has also appeared briefly in films such as “Prefountaine”, “Postal”. “Far Cry”. and others. Gareth is also an in-demand speaker at several conventions and has conducted popular panels for over two decades.



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