There are so many movie projects that could have been — whole documentaries have been made about some of them, whole cult followings have risen up around axed movies — but every now and then, we get a failed film that might have spared us a little pain in the long run. One such one was Jan de Bont‘s failed Godzilla project, which the Twister and Speed director was developing before Roland Emmerich’s infamously disliked 1998 version.
In an interview with Polygon about his 1999 remake of The Haunting, Jan de Bont revealed some details about his failed Godzilla reboot, which almost happened — before Emmerich got involved.
The “him” in this case is Emmerich, the director who at the time was coming off three big sci-fi hits: Universal Soldier, Stargate and Independence Day. So while on paper, it might have made sense for the studio to go with a more dependable hitmaker — de Bont at the time was still fairly early in his career, despite directing two action hits Speed and Twister — Emmerich’s finished product, which starred Matthew Broderick and was soundly criticized for making Godzilla look more like a dinosaur than a mutant kaiju, left much to be desired.
But it’s still nice to think about what could have been, and de Bont teased a vision of Godzilla that “stayed true to the old Godzilla movies, but then taking place in the United States”:
But while Emmerich’s version remains a blemish in the Godzilla franchise, the kaiju has somewhat recovered its reputation in the States since then, headlining the 2014 Gareth Edwards blockbuster, Michael Dougherty’s 2019 sequel Godzilla: King of Monsters, and going up against King Kong next in 2021, with Adam Wingard’s Godzilla vs. Kong.
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