Reporting Karl Smallwood
Kaiju (giant monster) movies have been around for decades, and with the release of Pacific Rim just around the corner, we wanted to pay tribute to perhaps the greatest actor to have ever lived, Haruo Nakajima AKA the guy in the Godzilla costume.
Though that statement may seem a little, presumptuous, we’re not kidding when we say that Haruo probably worked harder than any actor in history. For starters Haruo has a list of film roles longer than a male giraffe’s nether regions, most of which involved him wearing a 200 pound Godzilla costume.
That’s not an understatement we’re making, the original costume from Haruo’s most famous role in the OG Godzilla movie weighed in excess of 200 pounds. If you want to experience what that feels like, try wearing your sofa as a coat then having a guy dressed as a gorilla drop kick you in the small of the back.
But here’s why Haruo is a stone pimp: Katsumi Tezuka (Godzilla’s stunt double, yes, the giant atomic monster had a stunt double) could only walk a paltry ten feet in the costume. Haruo could walk triple that, making him at least three times as Godzilla as the next best guy. But his dedication didn’t stop there, because as you can imagine, wearing a 200-lb. rubber costume without any ventilation during a Japanese summer under hot studio light wasn’t a walk in the park, even for a man’s man like Haruo.
As this book details, Haruo routinely fainted while wearing the suit, not to mention all the horrific blisters and debilitating muscle cramps he suffered from, but the really disgusting part was the sweat. Haruo sweated a lot in the costume, to the point where a cup of his work juice was being drained from the costume each day. During the filming of the original Godzilla movie, Haruo lost 20 goddamn pounds but gained the respect of the entire world, just from wearing the costume.
Upon realizing that Godzilla had nearly claimed a real victim here in the meat world, Haruo was quickly given a new costume made to his exact measurements, because when a guy is willing to wear a giant monster costume until his soul sweats out and evaporates, you give that guy a break.
Sure CGI dominates today’s movies, but when you next watch a film with giant monsters in it, spare a thought for the tiny Japanese guy who embodied Godzilla so hard, Godzilla got a star on the Hollywood walk of fame for it.
Karl Smallwood is a freelance comedy writer you can hire! His work has been featured on Cracked, Toptenz and Gunaxin. You should probably click those links to make sure he isn’t lying. He also runs his own website where he responds to the various pieces of hate-mail he’s gotten over the years, in fact, he got so much hate-mail that he wrote a book about it that you can buy on Amazon. When he isn’t writing, Karl also Tweets and uploads pictures of himself drinking on Facebook.