The 1998 Hollywood adaptation of the legendary Japanese property Godzilla remains a polarizing film, to say the least – being the first to go drastically different in look, production style, origin story, and more. Over time, the film received some support and developed a cult following to a degree, though the Godzilla film we know could have played out with some prominent differences.
During the very early pre-production stages of the film, the film tapped writer and director Jan de Bont (Twister) to helm the US adaptation, which was said to "discard the character's atomic origin and replaced it with one wherein Godzilla is an artificial creation constructed by Atlantians to defend humanity against a shape-shifting extraterrestrial monster called The Gryphon." Later on, the director was replaced due to budget concerns, offering a completely different take on the titular character. In a recent interview with De Bont for Yahoo! News, the director elaborated on the variations to his proposed film and a major difference with the depiction of Godzilla.
De Bont explains to the publication, "I really wanted to make Godzilla; I wanted it so badly. I loved what he was in Japan. I love that it wasn't so perfect. It was a guy in a suit! It was so great. The movements, there was something human about it. The guy in the suit was sweating like a pig, and he said he was losing two pounds every minute because it was 125lbs and it was rubber… he said he could only do one take at a time."
The writer and director went on to add, "We had a really good script, and everybody loved it. [But] the reason they got rid of me is because they said my budget was higher than Roland Emmerich. I said that's impossible because they're going to use the same effects people as I do, and they're going to charge exactly the same. Because the guy was in the suit, the motions were very different to what a dinosaur would do, and that was very attractive to me."
More than two decades later, the timeless Godzilla franchise has seemingly found the perfect format for western audiences (via Toho and Legendary Pictures), but there's nothing wrong with a different perspective once in a while – even if it doesn't always land the way a studio would like it to.