No stranger to the world of kaiju, storyboard artist Richard Bennett has utilized his artistic talents to help bring Godzilla vs. Kong, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, and Kong: Skull Island to life on the big screen, and now he's teamed up with Clover Press to launch a Kickstarter campaign for Godzilla & Kong: The Cinematic Storyboard Art of Richard Bennett, a new hardcover coffee table book collecting his amazing storyboard art from all three of those colossal creature features (including deleted scenes)!
We had the pleasure of catching up with Bennett in a new Q&A feature to discuss his career as a storyboard artist and what readers can expect to find within the pages of Godzilla & Kong: The Cinematic Storyboard Art of Richard Bennett.
You can check out the Q&A and a preview from the book below, and to learn more about Godzilla & Kong: The Cinematic Storyboard Art of Richard Bennett, visit:
Thanks for taking the time to answer questions for us, Richard, and congratulations on the Kickstarter launch for Godzilla & Kong: The Cinematic Storyboard Art of Richard Bennett! I understand that before you were a storyboard artist, you were a comic book artist. How did you initially get involved with the film industry as a storyboard artist?
Richard Bennett: About a decade after working in comic books I decided to attend full time at Art Center College, with the goal of becoming a concept illustrator for movies. Of course that plan shifted. During the last term I got the opportunity to work on Alien vs. Predator; so that was my first gig in the industry. I was hired at a very early stage on the project, so initially the director asked me to do some concept designs besides storyboarding. Then later, as the project went further I concentrated on the storyboards.
For those unfamiliar, how would you describe what a storyboard artist does and how they help bring movies to life?
Richard Bennett: After reading the script, we meet with the director and talk about the scenes that will need to be storyboarded. Some projects require more or less scenes to be boarded. I listen to the director’s ideas, and if there’s anything specific that they want me to incorporate in the scene. Then I go ahead and draw a first pass, in which I also include my own ideas. We meet, review that, and usually work on some revisions or adjustments on what’s drawn. Then on to the next scene, and so on.
It’s an effective, fast way to plan out and visualize the script before shooting.
As a storyboard artist, how much time do you typically spend working on a movie?
Richard Bennett: Ohh, that depends greatly on the type of project. The longest I’ve ever been on a project was about eleven months, but that time depends on the type of movie, budget, etc. Sometimes, also, I get called for reshoots after principal photography (on the same movie I worked on during pre-production).
Godzilla & Kong: The Cinematic Storyboard Art of Richard Bennett will collect your storyboard art from Godzilla vs. Kong, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, and Kong: Skull Island. What are you the most excited for readers to experience when they open your new book for the first time?
Richard Bennett: It’s exciting to imagine that they’ll get a behind-the-scenes look and learn more about the extremely collaborative journey that helps make the film possible.
Were you a fan of Godzilla and King Kong before you became involved as a storyboard artist on the new movies?
Richard Bennett: I have to admit I became a real fan after the first Godzilla movie. With Kong, however, yes, I loved some of the previous films done, including the 1933 one directed by Merian C. Cooper. It’s already a great film just the way it is. If on top of it you put in the context of when it was made… I think it’s a masterpiece.
I remember being impacted by the 1976 one by John Guillermin. Particularly the scene in which he parts the giant python in half, and when Kong gets killed not by airplanes but Hueys instead… Maybe I was too young, but those helicopters seemed more lethal than any fighter jet at the time. Peter Jackson’s is one of the best action films I’ve ever seen. I love the intro/montage scene and how he sets the mood with the music. Also, the T-Rex/precipice fight is absolutely insane.
You’ve worked on so many iconic movies and TV series throughout your career as a storyboard artist. How did you decide to focus on the recent Godzilla and King Kong films for this new book?
Richard Bennett: Before the pandemic I approached the guys at Clover Press with the idea of putting a storyboard book together, compiling some of my work. After seeing the most recent projects I worked on, they came back with the idea of publishing a book that would concentrate on those three films. Then I confirmed that I did enough work on those three movies to produce a book, and we decided to go ahead with it.
As a storyboard artist, sometimes you help envision scenes for movies that don’t make the final cut or are never filmed. Throughout your career, have there been any deleted scenes in particular that you’ve storyboarded that didn’t make it on screen that you wish had made it into the final cut?
Richard Bennett: I can’t honestly say that I do. Scenes get deleted or unused for a variety of reasons: budget, changes, in the story (on Skull Island the third act changed substantially and you’ll see that in the book), or simply the way things evolve as far as plot goes. Sometimes a scene is not the final one and still can include beats from several previous versions of the same sequence. It’s hard because I can’t avoid getting emotionally invested in some of the scenes, putting in a lot of work, and then the script changes… But the short answer is that I can’t recall a deleted one that I’d wish had made it to the final cut.
What has it been like to team up with Clover Press for this new coffee table book and Kickstarter campaign?
Richard Bennett: It’s been amazing! I knew Ted and Robbie back from the Wildstorm days already, so it’s been a pleasure to come full circle and work together again with them. I have to credit them also with taking the initial idea I presented and expanding it tenfold. All of them have been great. On top of it, Robbie graciously agreed to design the book, so I know the work couldn’t be in better hands. Back when I drew comic books, I always aimed at drawing a book that I’d want to buy at the store. I’ve seen previews of the interior for this book, and without any doubt I’d get it!
Ultimately, what do you hope readers take away from Godzilla & Kong: The Cinematic Storyboard Art of Richard Bennett?
Richard Bennett: Hopefully they’ll get insight on the filmmaking process, which also includes storyboarding the scenes, and therefore increase their enthusiasm about these movies by learning more about the work behind what’s finally on the big screen.
In addition to Godzilla & Kong: The Cinematic Storyboard Art of Richard Bennett, what other upcoming projects are you excited about, and where can our readers go online to keep up with your work?
Richard Bennett: The current project, I can’t talk about it yet, except I can tell you it is a big movie. Later this year, I think Black Adam will be released, also from Legendary. I did a lot of work on that movie. She-Hulk comes this year, too, if I remember, as well. All the projects I worked on, and will still come out can be seen on my IMDB page:
I’m also on Instagram: richardbennett_storyboards
Thank you very much for your time, Richard!
Richard Bennett: Oh, thank you for your interest in the work!
Below, you can check out the official press release and preview of Godzilla & Kong: The Cinematic Storyboard Art of Richard Bennett, and to learn more, visit:
Press Release: (April 11, 2022) - Richard Bennett is one of the most respected storyboard artists working today, having collaborated with directors David Fincher, Christopher Nolan, Brad Bird, and JJ Abrams, among others. Now, Bennett and Clover Press are launching a Kickstarter campaign for a stunning hardcover coffee table book which showcases Bennett’s storyboard storytelling and two of the biggest stars in the history of cinema with Godzilla & Kong: The Cinematic Storyboard Art of Richard Bennett. The stunning new book is the result of a licensing deal between Legendary Comics, Toho Co., Ltd., and Clover Press.
Godzilla & Kong: The Cinematic Storyboard Art of Richard Bennett features storyboard art from a selection of the best sequences from Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ blockbuster trio of hits Godzilla vs. Kong, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, and Kong: Skull Island, along with some never-before-seen deleted scenes. Featuring full color stills reflecting the final shots in the film, the book is sure to be a must-have for movie buffs, film students, industry professionals and, of course, all Kaiju aficionados!
"This book is an opportunity to both spotlight the process of making a Hollywood blockbuster and the craft of storyboard storytelling,” said Bennett. “It will showcase lots of material displaying the early planning for each scene and will also give fans a chance to peek into some of the deleted scenes that never made it onto the big screen. I started out as a comic book artist, and fans of both comics and films will see how that experience informs my work.” Bennett has worked on over 60 major motion pictures, including Zodiac, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Social Network, Star Trek, Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol, Avengers, Captain America: Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War, TRON: Legacy, Dunkirk, Tenet, and Spider-Man: No Way Home.
Presented in a deluxe 11.75” x 8.5” widescreen hardcover coffee table book with over 200 pages, Godzilla & Kong: The Cinematic Storyboard Art of Richard Bennett features an introduction by Godzilla vs. Kong director Adam Wingard and an afterword by Oscar-Nominated production designer Stefan Dechant, who writes, “Within these pages we find the imagination and artistry of Richard Bennett. He brings to life the Kaiju of cinema’s yesteryear through the modern retelling of Legendary’s Monsterverse.”
For updates, follow Clover Press on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Godzilla & Kong: The Cinematic Storyboard Art of Richard Bennett is now on Kickstarter. To support the campaign, visit Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/
projects/cloverpress/godzilla- and-kong-storyboard-artbook? ref=9c1zo0.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Richard Bennett started his art career as a comic book artist in the early 1990s, penciling and inking the Cyberad series for Continuity Comics. He worked on various X-Men titles for Marvel Comics before moving to WildStorm in 1994. There, he co-created the character and mini-series Brass with Jim Lee, in which Bennett wrote the story and did all the artwork, and contributed to a variety of titles including StormWatch, Gen13, WildC.A.T.S, and Divine Right , to name a select few. Working on film was always his long-term goal while working in comics, and Bennett ignited his passion for the television and movie industry while working as a background and character design illustrator for the HBO series Spawn. A year later, he attended the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, graduating with a BFA in Illustration. Bennett has worked on over 60 major motion pictures, including Zodiac, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Social Network, Star Trek, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Avengers, Captain America: Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War, TRON: Legacy, Dunkirk, Tenet, and Spider-Man: No Way Home.
ABOUT THE PUBLISHER
About Clover Press: About Clover Press: Headed by IDW co-founders Ted Adams and Robbie Robbins, along with Matt Ruzicka and Hank Kanalz, Clover Press publishes a wide variety of collected and original content ranging from re-mastered reprints of Terry and the Pirates, horror graphic novels, and high-quality art books. Clover Press is working with a wide variety of creators including Kevin Eastman, Craig & Clizia Yoe, Dean Mulaney, Steve Niles, Gabriel Rodriguez, Ruben Bolling, Matt Bors, Timothy Truman, Ricardo Delgado, Ray Troll, Stewart Kenneth Moore, Aron Wiesenfeld, and more.
Toho Company, Limited, is a Japanese entertainment studio focused on the development, production, exhibition, and distribution of powerful live action and animated content including motion pictures, television and theater. Founded in 1932, Toho remains a prominent force in bringing brands and original storytelling with versatile talents to audiences worldwide. Its subsidiaries include Toho Cinemas, the highest grossing exhibition company in Japan, and Toho International, Inc., a U.S. established incorporated company that manages and commercializes Toho’s intellectual property portfolio. To learn more about Toho, visit: www.toho.co.jp/en/.