Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Tall Tales of Fandom

You might have heard of Baron Munchausen. He's a character from German literature who was (in)famous for telling impossible tall tales. The best-known version of this tale is probably Terry Gilliam's 1988 movie The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.

It's hard to know why some people are motivated to make things up out of whole cloth. It's even more puzzling why people choose to believe such demonstrably false nonsense. In any event, I was recently sent just such a tall tale that had been shared on social media, and considering how stunned I was that this was actually getting passed off as the truth, I had to respond. Here is the fictional account posted on social media:

in 2005 when he came to G-fest, he asked the android to sit down and talk about ways to sell a 3D Hedorah idea to Hollywood and wanted connections to Hollywood... The android said the Hedorah idea probably wouldn't fly but Godzilla just might and if there was a way to sell the rights to Godzilla to a Hollywood company, might just be gold... That could work out very well for all parties... One phone call to a famous producer friend and 2 phone numbers later, Banno went to Hollywood to meet with the people on the other end of the phone numbers...

I don't know where to begin.

Mr. Banno announced his proposed film idea ("Godzilla 3D to the Max") to a gathering of American fans at a Roppongi dinner party in August 2004. Even though Mr. Banno told those gathered it was a secret, it didn't take long for news to leak out about his film proposal. It was the talk of fandom at the time, and with Godzilla: Final Wars on the horizon, it would give fans something to talk about while the Toho productions were on indefinite hiatus. A simple Google search can confirm this.

It was never going to be a Hedorah film. It was always a Godzilla movie in which he would battle a Hedorah-like monster called Deathla. Once again, the Google machine can come in real handy here.

At Gfest 2005, Mr. Banno brought a producer with him to the event and hosted a presentation on "Godzilla 3D to the Max." After the con, Mr. Banno's project remained in limbo for almost five years until the Legendary Pictures deal was announced in early 2010.

I stayed in touch with Mr. Banno after the event and remained in contact with him until just days before his passing. You probably won't be too shocked to learn that Mr. Banno never mentioned this individual to me and that he never described the evolution of his proposed Godzilla movie as anything remotely resembling the above account.

So refuting it is the easy part. All that's left is to figure out why, and that's where I'm stumped. Beats me. I sincerely hope his memory is just faulty, and if so, I'm glad to have the opportunity to set him straight.

But my guess is the "M" in M11 stands for Munchausen.

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