Flashback Friday: Godzilla vs The Gryphon

Sources: Todd Tennant / Jeff Farley / G-Fan Magazine

Most Monster Island News readers should be very familiar with Todd Tennant and his tireless work (See Above) in creating the Godzilla 94 online graphic novel from the unused Terry Rossio and Ted Elliott screenplay for "Godzilla vs The Gryphon." Many of you may also be familiar with Todd's quest to get his creation published by a major comic book label. Well imagine Todd's surprise when he picked up the latest issue of G-Fan magazine and found an e-mail from special effects guru, Jeff Farley, describing his experiences creating a Godzilla concept sculpture for Sony.

Her is a copy of the G-Fan posting by Jeff Farley:

"A few years later (after failing to get a job on the GODZILLA VS. BIOLLANTE effects crew in Japan), I was sculpting some bendy figures for the Trendmasters Godzilla line. I was contacted by a friend at Sony Imageworks to sculpt a scannable Godzilla maquette for their bid (and also for a Sony Imageworks cgi test). I was lucky enough to get that job. We only had three days to produce the clay sculpture. It was then packed in dry ice and shipped off and shipped off to the company that actually made the scan. Even though I never got to see it, I heard that they had The Big G stomping around the MGM Studios. You can view it by going to the sculpture page at my website: http:// www.obscureartifacts.com/index.htm. Even though it was only the "American" Godzilla, I was very happy to have been involved in some capacity."

You can imagine that this perked Todd's interest, so he quickly contacted me with the info. I in turn, quickly went strait to the horses mouth, and contacted Jeff Farley myself.

Jeff e-mailed me back with a few more details about how, and under what circumstances, his sculpture was created.

"Yeah, it was a very abrupt situation when the G'94 project got going. We didn't have much time to do it so I broke the sculpt down into three sections, with myself handling the head, Chris Bergschneider on the bodyand Dirk Von Besser on the tail. Mike Hood at Precision Effects was also sculpting a larger scale head that had a very cool, retro G'54 look to it but was altered to look more like the design I had come up with,which was really just a slight tweaking of the corners of the mouth andeyes to give him a meaner look."

For those of you who have never heard of the ill-fated "Godzilla vs The Gryphon" movie project that ultimately lead to Tristar's 1998 awful re-envisioning of the famed movie monster, here is a brief history.

Way back in 1994 there were several movie studios and production companies, that had approached Toho about creating an American Godzilla movie for the monsters 40th anniversary. The most notable of these was Tristar's "Godzilla vs The Gryphon," which was written by Terry Rossio and Ted Elliott, and was set to feature special effects by Stan Winston. Winston had spent a lot of time working on concepts for "The Gryphon", in fact several photos of him and his monster design appeared in magazines at the time. As we have learned from Jeff Farley, Sony was also working hard on a production to present to Toho as well. Ultimately Tristar was given the green light to proceed, but the idea for "Godzilla vs The Gryphon" was scrapped in favor of Roland Emmerich's vision for Godzilla. That screenplay was also written by Rossio and Elliott. As we know Godzilla fans worldwide turned their noses up at the film and its iguana inspired new Godzilla design. That is when graphic artist Todd Tennant stepped in, to create an online graphic novel from the original "Godzilla vs The Gryphon" screenplay in order to give Godzilla fans a vision of the movie that they unfortunately never got to see.

I encourage fans to got to Todd Tennant's American Kaiju website to check out the Godzilla 94 online graphic novel.

First Posted April 03, 2008