Japanese actor (1929–2017)
Haruo Nakajima (中島 春雄) (January 1, 1929 – August 7, 2017) was a Japanese actor, best known for portraying Godzilla from the 1950s through the early 1970s.
"Haruo Nakajima Interview" , Kaiju Conversations (1995)Edit
As quoted by David Milner, "Haruo Nakajima Interview", Kaiju Conversations (March 1995)
- Shortly after I was offered the role, I realized that although it would be possible to replace all of the members of the staff and all of the other actors, it would not be possible to replace me. I also realized that if I didn't go into work because I was sick, none of the members of the special effects staff would be able to do their work. All of this gave me a tremendous sense of pride.
- Katsumi Tezuka and I both tried on the Godzilla costume during the first day of shooting. The costume was very stiff and heavy. I could walk about thirty feet in it, but Mr. Tezuka could only walk about ten feet in it. There were three cables coming out of the back of the costume. Two were for the operation of the eyes, and one was for the operation of the mouth. Eizo Kaimai was responsible for the movement of the eyes and the mouth. The ASA speed of the film that was used at the time was very slow, so the set had to be very brightly lit. Another actor complained that the lights made it too hot inside the costume, but I never complained. Batteries were installed in the Godzilla costume that was made for the second Godzilla movie. They were for the operation of the eyes and the mouth. The batteries made the costume even heavier than the one that had been constructed for the first Godzilla film.
- Working on GODZILLA RAIDS AGAIN was easier for me. The Godzilla costume that was built for the movie was made to fit me, whereas the one that had been built for GODZILLA - KING OF THE MONSTERS had not been made to fit me. The most difficult aspect of working on GODZILLA RAIDS AGAIN for me was shooting the ending. I had to stand in the middle of the set while a large amount of crushed ice came tumbling down on me.
- I controlled [Rodan's] wings with my arms. While we were shooting the scene in which Rodan flies over the bridge in Saikai Village in Kyushu, the pulley from which I was suspended broke. I fell from a height of twenty-five feet, but the wings and the water, which was about one and a half feet deep, absorbed much of the impact.
- It was helpful for me to study the movements of only large species. Smaller species, unlike Godzilla, Varan, and so on, move very quickly. So, it wasn't helpful for me to study them.
- Playing Godzilla for GODZILLA - KING OF THE MONSTERS was very difficult. Playing Rodan also was difficult because the legs of birds, unlike those of human beings, bend backward.
- My stomach was very badly burned when we filmed the shot of a truck exploding underneath Varan.
- Mr. Kurosawa would spend an entire day filming one shot. None of the other directors with whom I worked would do that. Working with Mr. Kurosawa was like working on a play instead of a movie. We would spend a great deal of time rehearsing. It was torturous.
- Mr. Tsuburaya was a gentleman. He was very charismatic. Mr. Tsuburaya would never express his anger at me or the other monster actors. However, he would express his anger at the members of his staff. Mr. Tsuburaya often pretended to be asleep when he in fact was just thinking about his work. Once he had decided what he wanted to do, he would pretend to wake up. He then would begin giving instructions to the members of his staff. There were two things Mr. Tsuburaya hated. One was snakes and the other was bloodshed. I remember that someone once asked Mr. Tsuburaya why he never showed bloodshed in the monster films on which he worked. Mr. Tsuburaya replied that he never showed it because he knew that children went to see the movies. One day, a Toho employee suggested that the studio produce a film about a giant snake. Mr. Tsuburaya didn't like the idea, so the movie was never made. Mr. Tsuburaya would try to inspire the people with whom he worked. His inspiration helped me keep playing giant monsters for eighteen years.
- Mr. Honda, like Mr. Tsuburaya, was a gentleman. He was very likeable. Mr. Kurosawa always told the actors with whom he worked exactly what to do, but Mr. Honda would give those with whom he worked as much freedom as he could. That's the way Mr. Tsuburaya worked as well.
- I based the choreography I did for WAR OF THE GARGANTUAS on the techniques of professional wrestlers. I think it turned out very well.
- When I was playing Godzilla, we would show him wrestling with the other monsters. These days Godzilla and the other monsters only are shown firing their rays at each other. Period films are enjoyable because they feature sword battles. Westerns are enjoyable because they feature gun battles. The recent Godzilla movies are like period films without swords and westerns without guns.