MORE THAN JUST A FOOTNOTE IN G-HISTORY! Max von Schuler on His Close Encounter with Godzilla!

Max von Schuler circa 2007, during his days as a news commentator for Tokyo Metropolitan Television (Tokyo MX), posing with two of his news colleagues. Photo © Max von Schuler.

One of the Godzilla series’ most memorable (and even controversial) scenes is when the Godzillasaurus attacks the American soldiers on Lagos Island during the World War II scenes in Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991). The sequence made headlines in the West for its alleged anti-American content. Max von Schuler was there as one of the soldiers, and he shared his recollections of the shoot with Brett Homenick in this August 2019 interview.

Brett Homenick: When and where were you born? Where did you grow up?

Max von Schuler: I was born in Chicago in 1956. I grew up in the Chicago suburbs and South Central Wisconsin.

BH: When did you get interested in Japan?

MVS: All my life, I have been a military historian, and studying WWII sparked my interest in Japan at the age of 12. I knew then I must go there.

BH: What brought you to Japan?

MVS: I first came to Japan in 1974 with the United States Marine Corps.

BH: How did you get involved in the entertainment business in Japan?

MVS: I was a painter and got into a Japanese theater group doing jidai geki, or samurai dramas. I then later was introduced to TV and movies.

BH: What were some of your first jobs in acting?

MVS: (I had) uncountable numbers of acting jobs.

BH: Do you remember how you got cast in Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991)?

MVS: No, I was cast for tons of stuff.

BH: What role did you play?

MVS: I was U.S. Marine that got stepped on by Godzilla.

BH: Do you remember about what time of year your scenes were shot?

MVS: Not really.

BH: How long was the shoot?

MVS: A day.

BH: What was the shooting location?

MVS: Oizumi-Gakuen Toei Studios.

BH: How did you get to the location?

MVS: Sometimes I walked to that studio, four hours on foot.

BH: Do you remember who directed your scenes?

MVS: No.

BH: Did you have any freedom with your lines, or was it all just as scripted?

MVS: As scripted.

BH: Could you describe what the special effects crew did to achieve the stomping effect?

MVS: It was in a studio used for voice-overs. There was a huge movie screen; I stood in front of it, did my part, shooting upwards and screaming, “Run, men, run! Aaaaaaah!” as a giant Godzilla foot came down on me.

BH: Do you remember any of the other Americans in the scenes? Did you know any of them well?

MVS: No.

BH: Do you think the scene was done well, or could it have been done better?

MVS: I think it was done OK.

BH: What did you think of the controversy in the U.S. about the film supposedly being anti-American?

MVS: I think some people have too much free time, and think too much.

BH: Did you have any other involvement in the Godzilla series?

MVS: No, with Godzilla, once is it.

BH: What have you been involved in more recently?

MVS: I am an author. I have six books out.


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