UPDATED 5/31 – Director Adam Wingard took to Twitter, with a wink, following the confirmation that he would direct Godzilla vs. Kong for Warner Bros. and Legendary Entertainment:
Taking bets now.
— Adam Wingard (@AdamWingard) May 31, 2017
EARLIER: Legendary Entertainment and Warner Bros. appear to have set filmmaker Adam Wingard (The Guest) to direct their forthcoming monster mash Godzilla vs. Kong. Setting two of cinema’s most iconic monsters characters has been in the works for sometime now as this feature will culminate the movie universe that began with Godzilla (2014), this spring’s Kong: Skull Island and the upcoming Godzilla: King of the Monsters, currently in production. The feature surely marks the largest profile assignment to date for Wingard, a budding director who has earned acclaim from critics and moviegoers with his low-budget horror projects like You’re Next and The Guest. The Hollywood Reporter was the first to report this story.
The selection of Wingard continues the theme – not just for this particular franchise, but for big-budget Hollywood franchise filmmaking writ large – in that major studios appear more and more eager to tap young filmmakers (notably mostly men) with roots in the indie/genre realm to helm expensive properties. Godzilla (2014) was directed by Gareth Edwards, who beforehand had only helmed the small-budget genre picture Monsters (he has since directed last year’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), while Kong: Skull Island director Jordan Vogt-Roberts had previously only made one movie prior, the Sundance comedy The Kings of Summer (2013). Godzilla: King of the Monsters is being directed by Michael Dougherty, veteran of smaller-scaled horror film Krampus and Trick ‘r Treat.
While specific plot details on Godzilla vs. Kong are not known at this time, aside from the dueling stars themselves, Warner Bros. and Legendary have put together a crew of writers to work on the film. A few months back, it came to light that Terry Rossio, a vet of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, was named head of a writing team that consists of Star Trek: Beyond scribes Patrick McKay and J.D. Payne, Lindsey Beer, Cat Vasko, T.S. Nowlin (The Maze Runner), Jack Paglen (Transcendence) and Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski.
The monster mash-up comes on the heels of a re-vamped Godzilla, which three summers ago earned over $500 million worldwide and starred Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Sally Hawkins and Ken Watanabe. This spring’s Kong: Skull Island has earned $565 million worldwide and also featured an august ensemble in Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson and John C. Rielly. Godzilla: King of the Monsters, due in theaters on March 22, 2019, has set Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Stranger Things breakout Millie Bobbie Brown and O’Shea Jackson Jr. (Straight Outta Compton) to star, with both Hawkins and Watanabe returning to continue the continuity started with the 2014 reboot. As of now, no casting announcements have been laid out for Godzilla vs. Kong.
Aside from You’re Next and The Guest, both of which generated excitement among critics and horror fans, Wingard has directed A Horrible Way to Die as well as entries in horror anthologies V/H/S and The ABCs of Death. Last year, he helmed the Lionsgate reboot Blair Witch. His next project is the recently completed Netflix thriller Death Note starring Lakeith Stanfield (Get Out), Margaret Qualley (The Nice Guys), Nat Wolff (Paper Towns), Willem Dafoe (The Grand Budapest Hotel) and Shea Whigham (American Hustle).
Godzilla vs. Kong is scheduled to hit theaters on May 22, 2020.