When small-budget-big-threat thriller Monsters tentacled its way on to screens in 2010, the world appeared to be witnessing the birth of a pretender to Ridley Scott’s throne in British director Gareth Edwards. So, when he was given a reported £100m to spend on Godzilla, and once the wages of Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen were subtracted, all eyes were on the skies to see how he’d splash the cash.
“I learned something interesting,” he says. “You can be scarier with a 12A rating than with more explicit gore or violence. You have to cut away, so things are left to your imagination, which can create worse things than any filmmaker can show.”
And the reality of the decimated cityscapes he creates is so much more frightening than the hungry face of an overgrown dinosaur could ever hope to be.
“It was oddly liberating, because there is so much disaster imagery from the past decade. We’re so familiar with the imagery, where in the past it was nuclear war.”
Our recent history is put to incisive use, with helicopters circling crumbling towers and coastlines engulfed by tidal waves. Edwards reminds us that he doesn’t take those scenes lightly.
“You can’t just exploit catastrophes where people recently lost their lives,” he says, “but with Godzilla the fear comes from how relatable mass destruction now is.”
Godzilla is released 18 May