Gareth Edwards directed the much-anticipated sci-fi action adventure Godzilla (2014), starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen, Juliette Binoche, Sally Hawkins, David Strathairn and Bryan Cranston. Godzilla marks his second feature following the critically acclaimed 2010 independent film Monsters.
Edwards hails from Nuneaton, a small town in the middle of England, where, from the age of six, he was determined to become a film director. For his university graduation project, he was one of the first student films to combine live action with digital effects. Understanding the influence of computer graphics on the creative process of filmmaking, Edwards began a ten-year career as a visual effects artist working from his bedroom for BBC documentaries like Hiroshima (2005), for which he won a BAFTA Award.
His visual effects skills led to directing the epic drama Heroes and Villains: Attila the Hun (2008) for the BBC, personally creating all 250 visual effects for the project. He then entered Sci-Fi London’s 48-hour film contest, answering the challenge of making a short film with no crew and just one actor in only two days. The result, Factory Farmed (2008), won first prize.
Inspired by this guerilla approach to filmmaking, Edwards went on to make Monsters, a sci-fi thriller about an alien attack on Earth and its effect on a cynical American journalist, played by Scoot McNairy. With just a minimal crew, he served as writer, director, cinematographer and completed all the creature design and visual effect shots himself.
For Monsters, Edwards garnered a BAFTA Award nomination for Outstanding Debut for a British Director or Producer; won three British Independent Film Awards, including Best Director and Best Technical Achievement, for the film’s effects; an Evening Standard Film Award for Best Technical/Artistic Achievement, for the film’s cinematography, production design and VFX; the London Film Critics Circle honor as Breakthrough British Filmmaker; and the Austin Film Critics Award for Best First Film. The movie itself won the National Board of Review Award as Top Independent Film and the Saturn Award as Best International Film from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror.
The success of Monsters drew the attention of Hollywood, leading to the opportunity to direct the epic rebirth of Godzilla.