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As I noted shortly after its release this past May, Gareth Edwards' Godzilla has a lot of trouble in the female character department. While the male leads Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Bryan Cranston and Ken Watanabe got to play solid characters and had an active role in the story, Juliette Binoche was killed off almost instantly; Elizabeth Olsen did little more than worry about her husband and look up in terror; and Sally Hawkins just mutely followed Watanabe around the whole time. This element definitely bothered me as an audience member watching the movie, and it turns out that I wasn't alone: it turns out that Juliette Binoche wasn't too happy about Godzilla's lacking female characters either.
Talking with Indiewire about her experience making Godzilla, the French actress revealed that she originally signed on to be in the blockbuster monster movie thanks to what she described as a "beautiful letter" from director Gareth Edwards - but also that she doesn't really think too much of the part she played or how the film treated its other female character. Asked if she enjoyed her "brief, dramatic scene" in the feature, Binoche said, laughing
"I don't know how much fun you can have when you have to die in two seconds, and you're the one real woman character and you're dead in three minutes and 45 seconds."
In the movie, Binoche played Sandra Brody, the wife of Bryan Cranston's Ford Brody. Her only real sequence in the movie is set in a nuclear power plant, and she is killed during an accident caused by seismic activity. While it doesn't sound like the actress connected too much to the character or the material, she did note in the interview that her performance earned high praise from one of Hollywood's best directors:
"[Quentin] Tarantino said to me, 'That was the first time I've ever cried during a 3D blockbuster. I had to take off my glasses to wipe away my tears.' I took it as a compliment."
The Pulp Fiction director isn't alone in his positive assessment of Juliette Binoche's performance, either. Our own Kristy Puchko, who loved Godzilla and gave it a five-star review, wrote a piece explaining that the English Patient star actually gave the most important performance in the movie and that there was more depth to the character than you might have realized in her short amount of screentime. It's definitely worth a read.
With any luck, the folks at Legendary Pictures and the filmmakers behind the upcoming Godzilla 2 will take these complaints about weak female characters to heart and improve their stature in the sequel's story. There's plenty of time to decide how to workshop them in, considering the film won't be getting released until June 4, 2018.