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‘Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire’ Stars Joke That CGI Monsters Were “Such Divas” on Set

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire is the 38th film in the Godzilla franchise and the 13th in the King Kong franchise. Throughout the years, the monsters have become some of the biggest stars in Hollywood — both literally and figuratively.

Dan Stevens, who joins Rebecca Hall and Brian Tyree Henry as leads in the film, confirmed the monsters’ star power at the Los Angeles premiere on Monday, joking he approached the CGI creatures “much like standing opposite any great movie star, really. There’s a little bit of trepidation, there’s some nerves — are they going to be mean? Do they live up to their reputation?”

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He reassured, though, that “they were both lovely. Kong and I developed a pretty special bond, got pretty intimate with Kong in certain scenes, and there’s a lot of trust involved.”

Henry took a similarly lighthearted tactic, saying he prepared to work with two giant monsters by doing “neck exercises as much as you can because more than likely you’re going to be craning your neck [up] for about 12 hours a day,” while also trying “not to get too jealous of all the special treatment that they get that you don’t get.”

The Bullet Train actor continued, “they’re epic, they’ve been around forever and everybody loves them — and not you as much as they love them — so you just have to be humble, I think is the best way. They’re such divas, Jesus Christ, but it was a fun time, it really was.”

The movie serves as a sequel to 2021’s Godzilla vs. Kong and sees the two characters team up to face a colossal threat hidden deep within the planet. It is the fifth film in Legendary and Warner Bros.’ MonsterVerse and comes on the heels of the Oscar-winning Godzilla Minus One, as Stevens notes, “Godzilla’s having a good year.”

Director Adam Wingard told The Hollywood Reporter that he met with Minus One director Takashi Yamazaki towards the end of his film’s post-production and discovered that “we both based our take on Godzilla’s mannerisms on our cats — I have a cat named Mischief, and she’s a real inspiration to me. So it’s kind of funny that for whatever reason these little feline friends have become the big inspiration for Godzilla directors.”

Wingard said he was also inspired by a shot in Minus One‘s trailer to add a scene where the monster crushes the pavement and pushes the ground up (“I thought, ‘Oh my god, that’s what our shot is missing'”) and spoke about the collaboration with Toho, the Japanese company famous for creating Godzilla.

“They’re watching out for him. They’re making sure you’re not doing anything that’s ultimately out of character, even though the MonsterVerse version of Godzilla is very different than the Minus One or especially the Shin Godzilla, which is a very different character,” the filmmaker explained. “They’re watching after him, but they still give us a lot of flexibility, and we’re able to really push him in different directions. But at the end of the day, and I can’t say what those are, there are things where they’re like, ‘Godzilla would never do that.'”

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire hits theaters on Friday.

Ryan Fish contributed to this report.

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