Monarch: Legacy of Monsters stars on the physicality of their characters

Monarch: Legacy of Monsters - ©2023 AppleTV
Monarch: Legacy of Monsters - ©2023 AppleTV /

The world of Godzilla and its monsters grew with the Apple TV+ series Monarch: Legacy of Monsters. Chris Black and Matt Fraction created the new series, which follows the events of the 2014 film Godzilla. 

One year after the re-emergence of Godzilla, siblings Cat and Kentaro Randa investigate their missing father Hiroshi’s connection to the Monarch, the organization that monitors giant monsters. The series stars Kurt Russell, Wyatt Russell, Anna Sawai, Kiersey Clemons, and Ren Watabe.

The world of Godzilla has had some highs and lows, with multiple iterations ranging from movies to TV. Monarch: Legacy of Monsters stands tall from the rest because of the grounded approach to the show that allows the characters to develop while not forgetting about these monsters. I’ve been impressed with the balance of timelines that highlights how the foundation of the Monarch developed into the present-day Monarch.

Check out the video version of the videos here.

Monarch: Legacy of Monsters stars talk about the new Apple TV+ series

Hidden Remote: Wyatt, the legacy of Godzilla has been around for many years, and with the story intertwining with an upcoming movie, what kind of research prep did you do for the role?

Wyatt Russell: I didn’t do any. Because when I heard the story pitch for what the story was going to be, it was before monsters existed. And that I was going to be learning about everything. And so, A, I didn’t just from an actor’s perspective, it’s like, oh, blank slate, cool. Like, don’t have to think about anything. B, just being lazy, and C, going in, I don’t want to have to ask the question if I know something. You can, like, kind of think yourself out of it if you’re If you go too deep down a rabbit hole, and it was just great, I don’t have to know anything about it, I’m going to learn everything about it as I go, and I’ll let it happen as it happens. So I was in an easy position that way.

Kurt Russell: Well, you’re also part of the creative process, working with the guys. We’re working together on what it was going to be, on what Lee was going to be, and who, you know—building the character. He was in strong control of it.

Wyatt Russell: It was important that the character was at the center of everything for us, not the monsters, and that was something that we worked very hard on creating a character we could both play. We were both interested in playing, and it was impactful, and that’s where most of our energy was focused.

Hidden Remote: Kurt, with Wyatt playing the younger version of the same character, how was it like taking those mannerisms and body language that Wyatt developed as Lee to bring to the version of the character that you play?

Kurt Russell: It was pretty simple, actually, kind of like observation. I’ve watched Wyatt do different roles, and I see how when Wyatt takes a role, he changes his physicality. He changes, becomes that person, and tells the story through the character. I like that a lot. He’s very good at that.

And so, that was an assumption I thought he would, I would, okay. He’s got that, and he’s going to do that. It’s going to be good. When we had worked together so much on it, and then I got to go on his set and watch him, it really did happen to me. I was like, man, I’ve known Wyatt all his life since the first breath he took.

But I’ve never studied him as an actor because we’d never been in a position of playing, I mean, never, and I, on top of which, I’d never I’ve never, ever in my 62 years, or whatever it is had somebody else start a character that I’m going to play. So, not only that, but a character that I’m going to have to do more like him.

He doesn’t have to worry about doing it like me, and he’s setting him up. But there’s this fine line where you don’t want to get too cartoony. There were some times, though, when I set my jaw a certain way, and we had some, you know, cinematic blending to do, and it’s like, I’m just going to try to capture, for the audience, I just want the audience to go, God, that’s Lee Shaw. Forget Wyatt Russell, forget Kurt Russell. That’s Lee Shaw, and it was fun to observe him and partake in.

Hidden Remote: The series is split between almost a fifty-year gap, but with Cate and some of the other characters, it’s based on their families; how did you work with the other actors to capture the same mannerism but also make Cate your own?

Anna Sawai: I don’t really recall having too many conversations with Mari. It really felt like we were on two different shows. But I think the reason why we were able to make it work is that we’re both very different. Japanese people talk different, they act different, there is a certain respect that you have to have when you’re talking to a stranger, things like that, and so, I think just knowing that helped, also, with my character. I’m playing a Japanese American, so I knew that I shouldn’t be too Japanese, so intentionally changing it up a little bit helped, but I hope that you can see in the show that there is that common mannerism between our characters.

Hidden Remote: How did the role of Kentaro come about for you?

Ren Watabe: There was a casting director in Japan who was in charge of casting the Japanese cast. He said that there was a young Japanese man who was required to speak in English and Japanese and thought I'd be good for it.

Hidden Remote: What is it like shooting scenes with the monsters?

Kiersey Clemons: That shoot was interesting because we were on the glacier, where we got to take in the environment. Then we moved to the sound stage, and it wasn’t the same as being able to do it at the glacier. But I felt really good and confident when reacting to the titans.

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Monarch: Legacy of Monsters streams on Apple TV+.