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Mountain View's Brian Rogers talks about reviving 'Godzilla'

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Working with a 393-foot-tall reptilian monster named Godzilla is serious business, as in hundreds-of-millions-of-dollars serious. Yep, we're talking the just released "Godzilla: King of the Monsters" sci-fi film, the second movie in the Godzilla trilogy that Mountain View movie producer Brian Rogers was told wasn't likely worth anything when he signed on to resuscitate the Japanese franchise a decade ago.

As executive producer, Rogers has ushered the big lug back onto the big screen in a big way. In 2014, he helped create "Godzilla," the first film in the rebooted monster trilogy and the franchise's first full-length motion picture since Sony Pictures' 1998 version.

"I believed that there was room to go back and do kind of a 21st-Century version of it using state-of-the-art computer graphics instead of the traditional approach, which is a man in a rubber suit, you know? And to go back to the roots of what Godzilla looked like and felt like, as a character," the Mountain View High School alum told the Weekly before a special screening of "King of the Monsters" at the ShowPlace Icon in Mountain View last week.

Rogers' vision for updating Godzilla has paid off so far. With "King of Monsters" finished, he is currently working on the third Godzilla picture "Godzilla vs. Kong," set for release in 2020.

Rogers said he became involved in the franchise after Japanese director Yoshimitsu Banno and independent producer Kenji Okuhira approached him about creating an IMAX 3D short film of "Godzilla." The trio ended up negotiating with Toho, the Japanese production company that created the Godzilla franchise, to make a full-length motion picture. They then took the project to Los Angeles' Legendary Pictures -- a big fan of the Godzilla franchise -- and decided to make a trilogy that included 2014's "Godzilla," which boosted the career of director Gareth Edwards and grossed $529.1 million worldwide.

"Producing is a multi-faceted role. And sometimes you're involved with everything, sometimes you're involved with certain things, and sometimes you're in and out of things quite a bit," said Rogers, who has worked on a diverse slate of projects during his career, including " Men in Black" and the 3D production "Race for Atlantis."

"I think I've been all things on this project ... but Legendary (Pictures) has always taken the lead in terms of setting everything up, and I'm always glad to give my notes on the script and my thoughts on directors and things like that," he added.

Rogers' stroke of genius has roots in his belief that the screen -- what he calls "that big canvas to paint on" -- is at its best with epic-scale cinema, like personal favorites "Lawrence of Arabia" or "2001: A Space Odyssey."

"There's something magical when you're sitting in a theater and seeing something unfold on the big screen. No matter how big a television you have at home, there's something unique about the shared experience of seeing something on a big screen," he said.

— Peter Canavese

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