Exclusive: ‘Godzilla’ loses two producers but gains a start date

It looks like Godzilla’s path of destruction en route to a start date for the Legendary Pictures update of the classic Toho monster has claimed two new victims, as producers Dan Lin and Roy Lee depart the project this week.

Both Lin and Lee are major production partners for Warner Bros, and I’m sure they’re both plenty busy with other upcoming films.  Lin, for example, is a producer on the “Lego” movie that is in production now, he’s part of the ongoing “Sherlock Holmes” series, and he’s attached to remakes of Stephen King’s “It” and the anime series “Death Note,” both in development.  Most importantly, he’s part of the team working to figure out “Justice League.”  Lee is partnered with Lin on “Death Note” and “It,” and he’s currently busy with plenty other projects like the “Oldboy” remake, the “Poltergeist” update, a sequel to “The Woman In Black,” and a brand new “Battle Royale.”

Recently, there was an event on the studio lot where director Gareth Edwards put together a show-and-tell in one of the stages on the Warner lot to walk the studio through his vision of the film, and it went well enough that the studio now seems committed to a March start date for the film.

I recently was talking to someone who seemed confused about the idea that Warner Bros would want to make two giant-scale movies about giant monsters, but there’s going to be a pretty major difference between what Edwards has in mind for “Godzilla” and what Guillermo Del Toro is doing for “Pacific Rim.”  Guillermo’s movie is all about world-building, designing an entire alternate history for our world and trying to imagine all the changes that would happen if we were faced with a decade-long war against creatures from some other world.  Edwards is trying to ground his take on “Godzilla” in a very recognizable present-day.  The world of that film is our world, and anyone who saw the Comic-Con presentation last summer can attest to the serious tone of the footage.

I’m just excited to see someone treat this iconic character with reverence in a new film.  I’m still wincing every time I think of the Devlin/Emmerich version, and I’m glad that they’ve taken their time getting this one ready.  I’m not sure why Lin and Lee were let go, but basically this is a case of the studio and Legendary finally having a clear idea of what film they’re making and just being sure that everyone onboard the picture shares that same vision.

Right now, “Godzilla” is being thought of as a 2014 release.