SID, NANCY, AND GODZILLA! Writer-Director Alex Cox on His Involvement with the Godzilla Franchise!

Director Alex Cox meets Godzilla series director Ishiro Honda during his first trip to Japan. Photo © Alex Cox.

Most people know Alex Cox as the director of such films as Repo Man (1984) and Sid and Nancy (1986), as well as as the co-screenwriter of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998). Most Godzilla fans, however, know Alex Cox as a fellow Godzilla fan who has written Godzilla comic books, participated in a British G-documentary, and even petitioned Toho Co., Ltd., to direct a Godzilla film of his own. In 2006, Mr. Cox answered Brett Homenick’s questions about his involvement with the Godzilla franchise. (Note: This interview contains a January 2019 addendum with additional questions.)

Brett Homenick: When did you discover Godzilla?

Alex Cox: In the pages of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine. Then in the cinema, in one of his many sequels. Finally, on TV.

BH: In general, what do you think of the Godzilla series?

AC: Well, I think they are very variable. Some are very good, and others are very bad.

BH: Which Godzilla films are your favorite? Which is your least favorite?

AC: Original Godzilla. I don’t remember the bad ones.

BH: How’d you get started in the film industry?

AC: As a student, at Bristol University in England and at UCLA in Los Angeles. Before that, I directed some plays, acted in other plays.

BH: You wrote a letter to Cinema Jump magazine, in which you asked Toho to let you direct a Godzilla film. Why did you decide to go about it that way?

AC: How else should I have gone about it? Wait for them to ask me? What if they didn’t?

BH: What were your plans for a Godzilla movie?

AC: It’s long ago, so I don’t recall so well. But I do remember we had Mecha-Ghidrah, with Jack Nicholson as the super-villain, in one of the three heads. If Godzilla blew up the right head, he would save the world; if he blew up the wrong one with his fiery breath, the planet was doomed.

BH: In your letter to Cinema Jump, you talk about Godzilla as a female character and having part of the movie take place in prehistoric times in a dream sequence. Do you remember how Jack Nicholson and Mecha-King Ghidorah fit into that story?

AC: Godzilla’s egg was part of the plot, hence my conclusion that Godzilla must be female.

BH: At one point, you were attached to the TriStar film as a possible director.

AC: No, not Godzilla. I was the original director of Mars Attacks, which was a project I brought to Orion/TriStar. Sadly, I was never involved in Godzilla.

BH: What did you think of TriStar’s Godzilla film?

AC: Not very good! Certainly not compared to the original. A bit like King Kong, in that regard, perhaps.

BH: Please talk a little about your involvement in the British Godzilla documentary entitled Godzilla, King of the Monsters.

AC: I was just one of the interview subjects. Being an interview subject is pretty standard, whether the subject is Godzilla, or Spaghetti Westerns, or copyright law.

BH: I understand you wrote four Godzilla comic books. Can you tell me a bit about this project?

AC: They were published by Dark Horse Comics in Oregon and are still available in book form, maybe. The original comic books were Godzilla, King of the Monsters numbers 9, 10, 11, and 12. These were the time-traveling adventures of Godzilla.

BH: Do you plan any future involvement with the Godzilla franchise?

AC: I am always available for involvement with the Godzilla franchise. Also with the Baragon franchise if they are interested.

[January 2019 addendum]

BH: I understand that you’ve met director Ishiro Honda. What were the circumstances of that meeting?

AC: I met him on my first visit to Japan. Like all Westerners, I had asked to meet Mr. Kurosawa — and been told this was impossible. So I asked to meet Mr. Honda, and my friend Chigumi Ohbayashi took me to meet him at his house.

BH: What can you tell us about meeting Mr. Honda?

AC: He seemed like a very nice man. He told me he had known Kurosawa since they were small children at school — and on a recent film, Dreams, Kurosawa had asked him to collaborate, as Kurosawa had no experience of post-production visual effects! So they worked together on Dreams, and perhaps on Kagemusha and Ran, as well. Honda-san told me they both lived near the studio, and walked to work together.

BH: Have you met any other Godzilla personalities from Japan? If so, what can you share?

AC: Unfortunately, no. Just Mr. Honda.

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