Saturday, March 4, 2017

GODZILLA VS. MOTHRA! Director and Suit Actor Reunite to Celebrate This Heisei Series Cornerstone!

Director Takao Okawara (left) and suit actor Kenpachiro Satsuma (right) enjoy reminiscing about making Godzilla vs.Mothra (1992). Photo by Brett Homenick.

Tonight, I attended a great event devoted to the biggest moneymaker of the Heisei series, Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992). It was my first time to see the film in 35mm -- in fact, it was my first time to see the film in many years. I can't remember the last time I watched the whole film, but I may not have seen it in its entirety since the 1990s. 

Takao Okawara listens to a question from the audience. Photo by Brett Homenick.

In attendance for the event were director Takao Okawara and Godzilla suit actor Kenpachiro Satsuma. Takao Okawara began working as an assistant director at Toho on such films as Submersion of Japan (1973), Kagemusha (1980), and Godzilla 1985 (1984). Okawara-san went on to direct Godzilla vs. Mothra, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II (1993), Orochi the Eight-Headed Dragon (1994), Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995), and Godzilla 2000 (1999). 

Kenpachiro Satsuma demonstrates how to do Godzilla the right way. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Also on hand was Godzilla suit actor Kenpachiro Satsuma. Does he really need an introduction? He played Hedorah in Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster (1971), Gigan in Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972) and Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973), and of course Godzilla from Godzilla 1985 through Godzilla vs. Destoroyah

Following the screening, two guests of honor answered questions about their career. Okawara-san confirmed that Akira Kurosawa was extremely tough to work for on Kagemusha, and he also said that Wataru Mimura's script for Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II was too long, so he (Okawara-san) had to edit it down.

Although it had been a long time since I last saw Ken Satsuma, he was just as friendly and energetic as he's always been. I always enjoy hearing his Pulgasari stories, which would make for a more interesting movie than the actual one we got!

While I've met Okawara-san a couple of times before (most notably at Koichi Kawakita's memorial event at Toho Studios in 2015), I'd never had a chance to take a photo with him. I'm glad to have finally had the chance.

So ends another great evening. Many thanks to everyone who made it all happen!

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