Right now I can easily say that this is the biggest news so far in 2004. Anyone who has seen a Ryuhei Kitamura film knows what an incredible talent he is – if you’ve seen Versus, then you know whom I speak of. Besides shocking the hell out of me by announcing he will make the 28th Godzilla flick, Kitamura speaks about his re-shoots for Ultimate Versus, which we heard so much about last July, along with news on when we will definitely see Versus 2! Read on for the story of the year, you’re not going to believe your “eyes”
Fangoria writes, “Having just come off making the splatter-packed AZUMI (which I just picked up on Ebay), a smash hit in its native Japan, director Ryuhei Kitamura looks toward his next release: an updated version of his popular, hyperactive zombie/gore flick VERSUS. “I’m releasing ULTIMATE VERSUS soon in Japan,” the director tells Fango. “I reshot some scenes two months ago; this was four years after originally making the film. I took the cast and crew back up into the mountains and shot an additional 10 minutes, which have been re-edited into the movie. It works great-I had fun with AZUMI but not as much fun as I had when I made VERSUS.”
However, fans will have to wait a little longer for an official sequel to VERSUS, although Kitamura does maintain that it is on the drawing boards. “The sequel! Ah yes, I’m working on it,” he assures. “It’s just a matter of when I make it. I will have my first U.S. movie come out next year, and then do a sequel to VERSUS for 2005 or 2006.” The good news for fans of the first film (available on Media Blasters DVD) is that Kitamura plans to have VERSUS 2 follow the adventures of the original film’s star Tak Sakaguchi (a.k.a. Prisoner KSC2-303).
“I really don’t care when I make it, because the actors and crew of VERSUS are like my family,” adds Kitamura. “VERSUS is now very famous all over the world, so it is no longer a problem to get money for VERSUS 2. I was in hell making VERSUS because I had no money at all, but first things first-I have to make my next Japanese movie this year. But if I have time at the end of this year, then next year you will see VERSUS 2.”
Meanwhile, rumor has it that Kitamura’s “next Japanese movie” will be the 28th GODZILLA film. The 50th anniversary of the original Toho classic is this year, and one suspects that something special is planned for the behemoth’s birthday. (Rialto Pictures is granting the original, uncut, undubbed 1954 film a U.S. rerelease to mark the occasion.) Fango asks the director if there is any truth to his involvement with this project, which one source says is currently called 5ODZILLA. “I can only say that it’s a rumor,” laughs Kitamura. “Everyone is saying that just now! It is true that I’m working on a big Japanese movie, and then my first U.S. movie,” he goes on to hint. So, does Kitamura deny his involvement with the new GODZILLA? “Well, I don’t deny it,” he teases, before adding, “I just can’t tell you that right now.”