[Editor's Note: With Godzilla Minus One now in theaters across the US, fans have had the opportunity to check out what I feel is one of the best Godzilla films ever made on the big screen! Ahead of the premiere, Christy had the opportunity to catch up with both Takashi Yamazaki and Ryunosuke Kamiki to learn more about the making of the film, including how Takashi Yamazaki's work on Godzilla the Ride played a part in the preparing him and Ryunosuke Kamiki for the film.]

What was your first experience watching Godzilla movies? Do you have a favorite?

Takashi Yamazaki: I first saw Godzilla on my TV set as a child, and it was in black-and-white back then. Because it was monochrome like that, Godzilla seemed even more scary. I was a very scared child, but I was drawn to it at the same time, so there was this dichotomy. I was a kid who liked dinosaurs as well, so that was another draw. My favorite movie would definitely be the first, original Godzilla, and then after that would be Shin Godzilla and GMK (Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack).

Ryunosuke Kamiki: To be honest, I never saw Godzilla as a child in the movie theater. As a kid, I actually didn't like anything that had to do with fighting and battles. I was more about the non-fighting movies. I didn't have much of a connection with Godzilla until I was reading Godzilla [Minus One]. Of course, I knew about Shin Godzilla and that King Kong vs. Godzilla existed overseas, but I hadn't sat down and watched one.

How did your experience on Godzilla the Ride prepare you for Godzilla Minus One?

Ryunosuke Kamiki: For my role, it was a great learning experience. I had to act against the green screen the entire time, but the ride was especially helpful [in better understanding] when I'm looking at Godzilla from the ground up, and also when I'm looking down at him as well. Those things were very key experiences in the ride. It's almost as if the director had made that ride for me, so I would understand that point of view.

Takashi Yamazaki: I'm obviously here talking with you about Godzilla Minus One, but I have another message for all the Godzilla fans out there. You have to ride the Godzilla Ride in Japan. There's only one, because we made it and we actually experienced it. We thought, "Oh, my God, we made something really scary." We know not all of the fans haven't quite gotten around to it yet, so I’m definitely pushing for that.

[Editor’s Note: Godzilla the Ride: Giant Monsters Ultimate Battle was written and directed by Takashi Yamazaki, and is located at Seibuen Amusement Park in Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture]

Can you talk about the decision to set the film in post-World War II Japan and why that was so important for you when telling this story?

Takashi Yamazaki: I've always loved Godzilla set in the Shōwa era, but I was also very intentional in [wanting to show] how low the human psyche could be. At this point in history, you're talking about civilians who, especially with Godzilla, have no weapons and have a dysfunctional government. I felt that to be able to tell the story of a group of people's perseverance to try to fight Godzilla would make a really interesting film.

Godzilla Minus One is already a huge success in Japan. Can you talk about both of your experiences at the Japanese premiere, and what it was like to see the film with a crowd of Godzilla fans for the first time?

Takashi Yamazaki: At the Japanese premiere, I definitely felt the love for the Godzilla franchise and just how much that people were looking forward to the new Godzilla movie. Not to compare with my other works, but I really felt that love and heat from the Godzilla fans. Going into the premiere, I was a little worried as well.

Generally, Japanese audiences don't react to movies like American audiences do. I do know that at the end of the movie there was a lot of applause, and just that love emanating from the screening. It was a really good reaction. Then when I hopped online and saw everything on social media, it was such positive comments and so encouraging that on one hand I was like, "Uh-oh, I think I might've raised the bar for myself."


To find out where Godzilla Minus One is playing in your area, visit: https://tickets.godzilla.com/