American movie production company Legendary Pictures announced yesterday plans for the 3D revival of Godzilla in 2012. It would be just the second Hollywood remake and the first Godzilla movie since 2004’s “Gojira Final Wars,” directed by Kitamura Ryuhei. Fans of the giant lizard will be hoping for something better than Roland Emmerich’s 1998 effort.
Legendary are working together with Warner Brothers, and the movie will be distributed in Japan by Toho. No director has been named to the project yet but the lineup of U.S. producers includes Dan Lin (Terminator 4), and Roy Lee, who has produced remakes of several Japanese horror movies. The Japanese side includes Banno Yoshimitsu, who wrote and directed “Gojira vs Hedorah” way back in 1971, as an executive producer.
Back in 2004, Banno said that Toho had given him the rights to make an IMAX Godzilla film, provisionally titled “Godzilla 3-D to the Max.” It later became clear that he wanted to make a sequel to his 1971 movie that the studio had blocked. It was reported that it would feature the Showa Era original Godzilla fighting a pollution-based monster called Deathla in South America and New York City. However it has been speculated that Banno’s involvement in the 3D movie is simply part of the deal to acquire the IMAX rights.
“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.”
“Godzilla is a signature Japanese character which we have nurtured over the years. It is a great honor to reach an agreement with Legendary Pictures, the parent to many a blockbuster film, and we are delighted in rebooting the character together to realize its much anticipated return by fans from all over the world,” said Toho President Takai Hideyuki. “We are anxious to find out where Godzilla’s new stomping will take us.”
NHK is seeing some more bad audience ratings for dramas this season. The new morning drama series “Gegege no Nyobo” started on Monday. It airs on the NHK General channel at 8am, 15 minutes earlier than usual and the first time slot change in 48 years. But the opening episode had an audience rating of 14.8% in the Kanto region, 10.1% in the Kansai region. These were both the lowest since the morning dramas began in 1964. The previous series “Welcame,” which ended last Saturday, was also reported this week as having continued the trend in record low average ratings.
“Gegege…” is the 82nd drama to be aired by NHK as a “renzoku terebi shosetsu” (serialized TV novel).A movie version is scheduled for theatrical release this autumn. It is based on the autobiography of Mura Nunoe (78), wife of the manga-ka Mizuki Shigeru (88), and will run until September 25. Mizuki is the creator of the hugely popular “Gegege no Kitaro” manga, which has given birth to many anime and movie spinoffs.
Talento Kitano “Beat” Takeshi (63, photo right) spoke out yesterday on the topic of cuts in government funding. Visiting the Tsukuba Space Center of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), he strongly criticized the decision to cut public funding to the organization and other scientific research such as a program to develop supercomputers.
The most prominent member of the government team, whose efforts were widely publicized, is former journalist and TV presenter Ren Ho (42). “I shared a hot bath with her when she was talento, so who does she think she is?” he joked. “A country that puts no money into scientific research is screwed.” Asked what he would cut if he were in her position, he said, “The number of Diet members.”
Other half-joking suggestions included requiring prospective politicians to put up ¥5 billion of their own money, or the creation of an equivalent of the House of Lords where wealthy politicians are less likely to become corrupt. His most outlandish idea was to say, “Japanese love foreigners and will do anything they say. So why don’t we give the job of running the Japanese government to someone like Bill Gates, who’s not strapped for money. We could make Mikhail Gorbachev the foreign minister and get the Northern Territories back (from Russia).”
GReeeeN are All Smiles
The four members of successful J-pop group GReeeeN are now all qualified dentists. Soh (29) announced on his blog yesterday that he became the last member to pass the national examination required for all dental practitioners. The four met while studying at a university in Fukushima and continued their studies even as their musical career took off. In order to keep their careers separate, they have never shown their faces in public. They will be featured performing in silhouette in new software to be released for the Nintendo DS on April 1.