Interview Articles Interview: Michael Dougherty, Director of Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Movie "Godzilla King of Monsters" Interview with Michael Doherty

Japanese version>

- Whate was your reaction when you were asked if you 'd like to direct this film?

Interview: Michael Dougherty, Director of Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Dougherty:"Yes." That was my reaction very, very quickly. I felt flattered, honored...and that continues to this day.It was a dream come true.And lots of pressure.Immense, immense pressure.

- I'm told that you're a big Godzilla fan. Which of the movies is your favorite?

Dougherty:The original 1954 film, because that was where he was born, and that was how he was introduced.I especially appreciate its tone.It's very beautiful and poetic, while still being terrifying and exciting.


- I'm also told you helped write the screenplay for this film. What were some challenges you faced with that?

Dougherty:I think one of the biggest challenges was crafting a modern Godzilla film that balances the desire to see more of these creatures and all of that spectacle, while still creating a story with human characters that we care about.

Interview: Michael Dougherty, Director of Godzilla: King of the Monsters


--Was it difficult to maintain continuity between this film and the previous one?

Dougherty:Well, I think I had to be mindful of the reaction to the previous film.So it was a matter of trying to look at the previous film, and look at what worked, which I thought was the tone, the scale, the design for Luckily, we got to bring in Ghidorah, Mothra, and Rodan, which helped, because of these are the crown jewels of Toho, so I felt like we already had the advantage of getting to bring in antagonists and allies for Godzilla, which were beloved legacy characters, so that was a huge, huge help.

- Tell us about your design concepts and choices made for the various monsters.

Interview: Michael Dougherty, Director of Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Dougherty:With Godzilla, I really liked what Gareth had done in the previous film with Godzilla's look, so I just wanted to make tiny tweaks, like changing his back spikes to look like the 1954 Godzilla. These in particular were taken right off the back of the original 1954 Godzilla. So I took Photoshop, and just photoshopped these spikes onto the back of Gareth's film.I made the feet and the claws a bit bigger, because a predatory creature like him would have very powerful sharp claws to tear into his prey. So those were the main tweaks with Godzilla.Other than that, it really is very similar.I made the tail just a little bit more rounded, like the traditional Godzilla films.

--What about Rodan?

Dougherty:Very similar, I tried to come up with a look for him that felt like something that could have crawled out of a volcano.So, [in] the look of his scales, even the color of his body, there are elements of volcanic rock , because I wanted to create a creature that looked like it could live inside a volcano if it had to. But also, it's meant to look like something Mother Nature could have created.

- And Mothra?

Dougherty:For Mothra, I tried to capture the power of the original Mothra with her color palette, making sure that she had the eye spots on her wings.The eye spots are designed to look like Godzilla's eyes, because I wanted to create a connection between Mothra and Godzilla.I tried to make her look more like a traditional insect that exists in the world, but also gave her slightly larger feet because I wanted her to be able to defend herself and fight with the other creatures that she had to, and if she didn't have longer legs or claws, she'd be too vulnerable.If you look at moths in nature, they do have very long legs, so I tried to create something that was beautiful, and feminine, and elegant, and looked like a true goddess, but also dangerous if she had to be.


- Last, we have King Ghidorah.

Dougherty:The fun of him was trying to create a dragon which was unique, but clearly Ghidorah. So his wings are different, but also something that could take flight and own the skies if he had to. The other fun thing we did is we gave each head its own different personality, so each head is a little bit different than the other one.I like to think that the center head is the smartest, alpha head. Of the three, he's the one who's really in charge, and the other two Are sort of his lackeys. Again, each creature had to be unique from the other, but also pay tribute to all the creatures that came before.We worked closely with Toho to make sure it lived up to their standards, so that's why he has To have two spiked spiked tails and his golden colors.To do that, we looked at a lot of different animals in nature, so different reptiles, different lizards and snakes, cobras, especially king cobras, [and studied] their scales to craft something that looks like it could be realistic.The big rule for al l the creatures was, if they discovered the fossils for these creatures, you would believe that they could have existed.

--What do you think of the prototype for the SH MonsterArts Godzilla 2019 figure from Bandai Spirits' Collector's division after seeing it in person?

Dougherty:Beautiful! I mean, it's just gorgeous.The color, the texture... I have to admit, for a while I was nervous, but they're stunning.I can't wait.I want a lot of these to give as Gifts. They capture the spirit of the creatures perfectly. Beautiful work. I love the whole thing, but I especially admire the back spikes, and the detail of the parts. Very very intricate. This is artistry.

- I hear you have a particular fondness for Rodan.

Dougherty:Yeah, Rodan has been one of my favorites since I was a kid.I had, back in the '70s and '80s that was one of my favorite toys, but this figure is gorgeous. Very powerful, lots of personality... I 'm especially amazed by the colors.

Interview: Michael Dougherty, Director of Godzilla: King of the Monsters

--And what what you think of SH MonsterArts' King Ghidorah 2019?

Dougherty:This is...epic.It would be fun to create a stop-motion film with all of these, because they're so intricate.My hope is that, in the same way that my Godzilla toys inspired me to make films, other kids will create films with these toys.

--In this movie, I felt like the monsters being almost depicted as gods that have transcended the bounds of living creatures.

Dougherty:We are putting the "god" back in Godzilla.I grew up as a huge fan of mythology, dragons specifically, and my love of Godzilla, and my love of mythology and dragons all sort of combined. My middle name is actually "Dragon" in Vietnamese. I have two middle names; one is Patrick, and the other one is "Long," which means "dragon" in Vietnamese. So it was important to me that these creatures be treated as if they were gods, because the mythology for the film, for our story, includes the idea that thousands, if not millions, of years ago, kaiju and humans did exist with each other.Some lost civilization worshipped these creatures as gods. Then the creatures went into hibernation, and we lost that connection to the creatures, and we started to believe that the stories about them were just fairy tales and myths, when in fact they were real, they're historical.So now that they're waking up again, humans are forced to look at these ancient myths for guidance about who these creatures are, and how we could possibly reconnect with them. But yes, these aren't just monsters, these aren't just animals; they are the first gods.

- What would you say is the main theme for this film?

Dougherty:"Respect nature." Respect and fear it.

--What was the biggest challenge you faced while making it?

Dougherty:There were so many challenges.It's a marathon.An endurance test.You're commanding an army of thousands of people, many of whom you never actually get to meet, so just trying to maintain the quality, and the heart, and the spirit of Godzilla from beginning to end is a huge challenge.But I had an amazing crew and collaborators to help me, so I'm extremely grateful for that.

- Finally, is there anything you 'd like to say to all the Godzilla fans in Japan?

Dougherty:I hope I did Godzilla justice. I think I did, and I hope you all love it as much as I do.


- Thank you for your time.

Recorded on: Friday Nov. 30, 2018
Recorded at: The Peninsula Tokyo
Interviewer: Satoshi Nakamura (Tokusatsu Writer)

Article Cooperation / Monthly Hobby Japan
Photography / Studio R



Michael Dougherty

Michael Dougherty

Born in the State of Ohio, USA.
Director and co-writer of the upcoming Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019),
He has a broad ranging knowledge of the Godzilla franchise developed from an early age.
Known for his work as a writer for both the X - Men series and Superman Returns (2006).

S.H.MonsterArts An action figure series featuring "Kaiju (Monsters)" using the movable action figure technology cultivated by S.H.Figuarts. This is S.H.MonsterArts.


  • Images are for illustrative purposes only.
  • Products may differ slightly from the images and illustrations shown.
  • Please note that products that have been on the market for some time may no longer be produced or sold.
  • Information on this website, such as product names, release dates, and prices, is subject to change.
  • Product release dates refer to their original release date in Japan. If you are looking for release dates outside Japan, please check with a store in your region.
  • If you cannot find information about the status of a product, please inquire with your local retailer.
  • This website includes Tamashii Web Shop products shipped after July 2012.
    Note that some products sold by TAMASHII NATIONS will not be listed on this website.
  • This site lists previously released products with the new tax rate (10%) that would apply if purchased in stores today.
    Please note that the listed price may differ from the initial release price (which applied the previous tax rate).
  • The price listed reflects the manufacturer's suggested retail price including consumption tax.
  • The price on Tamashii Web Shop reflects the retail price including consumption tax.
  • The "Buy Now" button that appears when a Tamashii Web Shop item is available for purchase is a service that allows you to add the desired item directly to the Premium Bandai cart. It may not function due to Premium Bandai maintenance or your device settings.
  • If Premium Bandai experiences heavy traffic, pages on the website, as well as the "Buy Now" button, may not display properly. If this happens, please try again later.
  • If you are using an iPhone, the "Buy Now" button outside Japan may not work. It may be improved by turning off "Prevent tracking across sites" in the browser settings.

Rate This Page

Did you find this page useful? 

Leave a comment:

  • 日本語
  • English
  • 简体中文
  • 繁體中文
Cookie Settings