While no one will be heading to the theater or clicking on HBO Max this week to watch any of the typical human characters do typical human things in Godzilla vs. Kong, viewers should at least give credit to one of the more interesting non-monster roles featured in the probable blockbuster.
Oscar-nominated Mexican actor Demián Bichir (A Better Life) stars as Walter Simmons, the CEO of Apex Cybernetics, a company that is funding a group of scientists to travel to a place inside the Earth known as Hollow Earth to find a powerful energy source he thinks can keep them safe from dangerous titans.
Growing up in Mexico, Bichir said he knew about Godzilla and Kong, cinema’s most famous monsters, as much as he knew about other American film and TV characters and actors.
“I knew them as much as I knew about [Charlie] Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy and Tarzan–all those films,” Bichir told Remezcla during a recent interview. “The whole family used to go together to watch them. We grew up watching these guys.”
When comparing cinematic rivalries, Bichir thinks Godzilla and King Kong is a top-tier matchup. Even if the original Japanese movie, King Kong vs. Godzilla, premiered nearly 60 years ago, it’s one that has stood the test of time.
“It’s like the same rivalry as Rocky and Apollo,” Bichir said. “People want to see more of the good stuff. That’s what happens when you have some good tacos. You want more.”
While his character in the film has some major flaws, Bichir doesn’t consider him a full-fledged villain. For him, it’s more complex than that.
“He’s a human being,” he said. “We can be beautiful human beings or terrible human beings. We have that choice every day of our lives. We have the choice to be a villain or a hero. This character is not bad or good. He’s both.”
A decade since earning an Oscar nomination, Bichir said the most important thing he’s learned during that time is to choose roles based on what you want for your career. That means passing on projects that don’t meet your criteria as an actor.
“You have to make that clear,” he said. “You have to say no to the things you don’t want to do, be patient and continue working really hard to get the roles you want.”
Godzilla vs. Kong hits theaters and HBO Max simultaneously March 31.