When a film fails in Hollywood, everyone involved is usually quick to pass the buck – and with good reason. Films that fail costs studios money, and when studios lose money, there’s usually at least one sacrificial scapegoat offered up to the movie gods to keep everyone happy. Usually, that sacrifice is a studio exec, but directors, actors, and writers can all take the blame for a bad movie as well. With careers potentially on the line, it’s not a surprise that everyone involved points their finger at someone else when things go bad.
It’s refreshing when it doesn’t happen, which was the case when Bloody-Disgusting caught up with screenwriter Dean Devlin at this year’s Saturn Awards ceremony. Devlin was the guy who wrote the script for the dreadful 1998 version of Godzilla.
Devlin was asked about the Gareth Evans-helmed reboot, which made him introspective about his take on the giant green lizard. Surprisingly, he’s all in favor of the reboot and took a lot of the blame for the 1998 film’s failings onto his own shoulders.
“Listen, I think there's a lot of wonderful stuff in that movie, I really do," he said in the film's defense. "[But] I think the problem with that movie was the script I wrote. I think Roland did an amazing job directing it, I think the actors are great, I think when people look back now on the Blu-ray and see the visual effects, it's a lot better than what people said at the time. The problem was the script! I made some big errors in that script. I wish I hadn't, I wish I had a chance to fix it. But in another way, it's allowed me to be a better writer since, because I made the mistakes on one, and I realized I'm never gonna make those mistakes again!”
Sure, it’s great that Devlin takes responsibility for the disappointing film, and we’re glad it’s served as a learning experience for him, but we bet there’s a studio executive reading this today thinking “I’m glad we could spend $130 million bucks for Dean Devlin to learn how to be better at screenwriting.”
Kidding aside, Godzilla did earn a profit and gave Devlin a mantra for his career that we’re sure makes most executives break out in a cold sweat: “if you’re gonna fail, fail big!”