LOS ANGELES – The original 1950s Godzilla movies stomped into theaters carrying a metaphor about nuclear destruction. Two years ago, “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” sounded alarms about climate change.
But don’t fret about finding a message amid the mayhem as the towering radioactive lizard clashes with that instantly-recognizable giant ape in "Godzilla vs. Kong," debuting Wednesday.
"It’s about two big guys bashing each other around," laughed actor Rebecca Hall, who plays a researcher studying King Kong. "There is a sense that the less that humans meddle with stuff, the better, is a general theme.
“But yeah, it’s mostly a big fight," she said.
Director Adam Wingard’s clash of the titans caps Legendary Entertainment’s “Monsterverse” series, which includes 2014′s “Godzilla” and 2017′s “Kong: Skull Island.” While not all were winners with critics, they’ve grabbed plenty of cash at the box office — more than $1.4 billion worldwide.
All four films take their central creatures seriously — both within the stories and by pouring money into nuanced special effects — while often winking at audiences with self-aware references. The films have featured performances from top-caliber actors enjoying the silliness of it all: Bryan Cranston, Ken Watanabe, Tom Hiddleston, John C. Reilly, Sally Hawkins, Vera Farmiga.
In the newest entry, the returning Millie Bobby Brown and Kyle Chandler are joined by Hall, Alexander Skarsgård, Brian Tyree Henry and Eiza González, among others. No matter the scene, the actors always knew who was filling the top spots on call sheets during production — Godzilla and King Kong.
“They’re divas, that’s what’s so difficult. You go on to set, they don’t look at you in the eye. It is in their contracts. Whatever. I found it really difficult to work with specifically Kong, just because he thought he ruled the roost,” cracked Brown. “You just want your close-up. And Zilla is like ‘rawr’ and you’re like, ‘Bro, calm down.’”