‘Godzilla Minus One’ Director Says Upcoming Black and White Version ‘Feels Like a Different Film’

Since “Godzilla Minus One” smashed into theaters nationwide on December 1, it has been a low-key phenomenon, becoming the highest-grossing Japanese language film ever in the United States with over $50 million domestic (putting its worldwide total at $95.6 million) and picking up several awards, including the Austin Film Critics Association’s award for Best International Film. And now, for the final part of its theatrical run, “Godzilla Minus One” will become “Godzilla Minus Color,” a black-and-white version of the original film.

TheWrap spoke to “Godzilla Minus One” director Takashi Yamazaki and asked about the thought process behind this new version of the film.

“The original 1954 ‘Godzilla’ is, of course, in black and white. But that in and of itself made us interested in what a ‘Godzilla’ film would look like created with modern technology in black-and-white,” director Yamazaki said (through a translator). “But simply removing the color alone wouldn’t evoke the same type of emotion we were trying to instill in audiences, which is why we went back to the colorist and we actually mask[ed] different portions of each shot and adjust the contrast by hand, as opposed to simply hitting the remove color button.”

This process, according to Yamazaki, gave each shot the look that makes it akin to “like it was composed by a professional still photographer.” “For us, removing the color in some way increases the reality, feeling almost like a documentary and making audiences feel that Godzilla actually exists,” Yamazaki said. The filmmaker said this version of the film is “way scarier than ‘Godzilla Minus One’ with color” and that “even the team members working on it, we’d get goosebumps…Because, in many ways, it does feel like a different film,” Yamazaki said.

“Godzilla Minus Color” will play in domestic theaters starting on January 26, alongside the original, full-color version.

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