Before CGI, there were actors in suits. The most notable suit actor was none other than Haruo Nakajima, who played Godzilla for 12 films. Nakajima passed away Monday from pneumonia at 88 years old.
Haruo Nakajima began as a stunt actor in Samurai movies likeAkira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai.
Nakajima was the first actor to portray Godzilla, starting with the first Godzilla film, Godzilla (1954) produced by Toho and directed by Ishiro Honda. Huruo said the original Godzilla suit weighed up to 100kg (220lbs) in an interview.
When preparing for the role Nakajima said he would go to the zoo and watch the animal, especially elephants. He said it was important to understand the pathos of animals.
Godzilla was a post-war film about a monster created by nuclear radiation unleashed by the Americans, and that monster, Godzilla, would go on to destroy Japan for 29 films.
“I am the original, the real thing. My Godzilla was the best.” (2014)