If you’re familiar with the American faces who occasionally appear in the Godzila series, you might recognize Eddie Quinlan for playing the role of the U.N.G.C.C.’s Frank Reynolds in Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla (1994). Born on May 19, 1946, in Philadelphia, PA, Mr. Quinlan grew up in Haddon Heights, NJ, and eventually moved to Japan in the early 1990s, which is when he had his close encounter with Godzilla. In this June 2020 interview with Brett Homenick, Mr. Quinlan recalls his experiences on the set of Space Godzilla.
Brett Homenick: Please tell me your background before you moved to Japan.
Eddie Quinlan: I started doing theater in Philly at 19, then moved to NY where I was represented by the Wilhelmina modeling agency and William Morris for commercials and soaps. I then moved to Hollywood to focus on nighttime TV, guest-starring on: Cheers, Dallas, Knots Landing, Dynasty, Matlock, to name a few.
At 48, I had enough of acting, and a Japanese multi-restaurant owner approached me while I was dinning at his L.A. establishment. He was opening a million-dollar, international restaurant in Tokyo. A quite generous expat package too good to be true — Tableaux [a restaurant based in Daikanyama, Tokyo].
I was the voice for Mercedes & BMW during the day, and when my agent submitted me for a part in Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla, I got the part as the United Nations rep to deal with this international problem.
BH: How long did shooting [Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla] last?
EQ: We shot for a week. Quite complex scenery with numerous extras involved. My hair was slicked back whist wearing a very smart Ralph Lauren suit.
BH: When did you have to arrive on set, and how many hours were you there?
EQ: 6:00 a.m.– make-up and hair, 8:00 a.m. — start shooting, 8:00 p.m. — it’s a wrap.
BH: What memories do you have of some of the other actors? For example, many other American actors appear in the film, such as Ronald Hoerr, Edward Sardey, and Andrew Smith.
EQ: It was 25+ years ago. I’m 74 years old now. I don’t recall, sorry.
BH: Do you remember working with director Kensho Yamashita? For example, what kind of direction he gave you?
EQ: Kensho-san was wonderful to work with. He’d set the scenes up, said what he wanted, and we just did it. Very smooth and very professional.
BH: Did you change any of your lines, or did you deliver them as written?
EQ: The English translation in the script was less than perfect. Kensho-san allowed me make my lines clearer.
BH: Do you have any other memories from the set of Space Godzilla?
EQ: That’s about it, Brett.
BH: How would you describe working at Toho Studios?
EQ: Pleasant. Great hair and make-up people. Lunch was quite different than a Hollywood shoot. When I guest-starred on Matlock, lunch was lobster and filet mignon. Toho lunch — bentos [box lunches].
BH: Did you like the movie? What was your opinion of it?
EQ: Saw it once — am not a Godzilla fan. ‘Twas just another acting job.
BH: How long did you live in Japan?
EQ: Seventeen wonderful years. Arrived [in] Tokyo 1994 [at] age 48, retired at 65.
BH: Did you do any other acting in Japan?
EQ: I had no time to audition, so I acquired a VO agent, Mickey’s Company. He just submitted my VO tape. Subsequently, as I previously stated, [I] was the voice for a number of BMW and Mercedes commercials. Far more lucrative than acting. Usually, an hour in the studio sound booth, I made $10,000 U.S.