SciFi Japan interviewed Michael Schlesinger about his Godzilla 2000 sequel set in Hawaii... what?
Yup! Schlesinger wrote the script for the American version of Godzilla 2000, back in the day, but was never credited or paid. Godzilla Reborn was to be a low-budget, $20 million sequel, produced by Columbia using Toho Studios effects artists with Godzilla fighting a volcanic, bat-like creature named Miba. They would have used suits, like other Godzilla films, but the added budget was to get Hollywood actors and actresses like Jamie Lee Curtis.
There was a big focus on humor in the film, with a lot of banter between the characters. This would help the audience take the monster scenes more seriously. Schlesinger said this about his approach to the human element:
I took many of the Godzilla archetypes and turned them inside out. The lead character was a woman — a novelty right there — an L.A. TV reporter on vacation; she’s tired of doing fluff and wants to do more serious journalism. The male lead is a skirt-chasing smartass who owns the Honolulu hotel where most of the principals stay. The two of them squabble constantly — a sure sign they’re interested in each other. There’s a convention of international pipe-smoking scientists — but most of them drink, wisecrack and flirt with women. (One of them is Japanese; Miyasaka is his sidekick.) The inevitable belligerent Army general is, as noted, a Bronx Jew who peppers his dialogue with Yiddish. And the Honolulu chief of police drinks on duty because there’s never any crime. There were other characters, of course, but those were the main ones.
A Godzilla movie with Yiddish scares me, but if it's heavily influenced by Schlesinger's god, Mel Brooks, I think I can get on board.
Sadly, after a script was ready, a new head at Columbia scoffed at a $20 million movie of any kind and wouldn't even look at the script. Toho wanted a big payment up front before allowing him to shop the script around. Why am I not surprised?
Sorry to hear that this never made it past a draft - no art to be had! The interview is a very interesting read and worth your time, if only to imagine Curtis on screen with the big guy, himself.
Source: SciFi Japan