Ken Wanatabe and Richard T. Jones

(L-R) Ken Wanatabe and Richard T. Jones

*In an exclusive EURweb interview, ‘Godzilla’ star Ken Watanabe talked about the film and a particular skill. No one can forget Liam Neeson’s line in “Taken” about his “particular set of skills.”

Before a coterie of journalists interviewed Watanabe at the JW Marriott Essex House Hotel in New York City, they waited in a holding room, chatting and eating. A Japanese writer asked me how familiar American audiences were of Watanabe. It was explained to him how Watanabe left an indelible mark on our minds with his performance in “The Last American Samurai,” that made the movie one of Tom Cruise’s best.

As someone who is concerned about the environment, it is not surprising Watanabe has a certain affinity for the film.

Ken, why do you think so many people are still interested in Godzilla?

It has been 60 years since the 1954 movie that was born out of fear after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, not to mention the cold war. Not that the nuclear fears ever left, but the earthquake and tsunami that caused the collapse of the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan several years ago only intensified those fears. So many people are still fascinated by Godzilla, whose existence is the result of radioactive waste. Even though this is the 21st century, mankind has yet to be as accommodating to the environment as it should. So Godzilla is just a metaphor.

I’m quite sure you are aware of the 1998 “Godzilla” failure, so what made you want to do this film?

You know, when I met director Gareth Edwards the first time and he gave me some kind of vision about the theme, I found it quite interesting. It’s been 60 years since the first Godzilla, but we have some of the same fears. Things that terrify us have not change so I wanted to join the project.

 Are you surprised at all at your success?

No. It’s just that the pressure is past. It’s just a footprint. I can look back at it and say, ‘ok, gotta go forward.’ So it’s just something to put in my pocket and look forward.

In addition to your screen, stage and Samurai skills, I understand you played trumpet in your high school concert band?

Yes, I did.

So can we look forward to hearing you perform one day?

Hopefully, I will do that.

“Godzilla” opens May 16, and also stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Juliette Binoche, Bryan Cranston, David Strathairn, and Richard T. Jones.

Syndicated Entertainment journalist Marie Moore reports on film and TV from her New York City base. Contact her at [email protected]