Producer swap, Darabont rewrite come weeks before production

Some serious rumblings are coming from Legendary Pictures’ “Godzilla” just weeks before lensing is set to begin.

Scheduled for a March start, “Godzilla” is going forward without producers Dan Lin and Roy Lee, as Legendary has exercised its option to remove the Warner Bros. lot-based production partners from the project they brought to the studio in 2010. In the same stroke, the studio is bringing aboard “Pacific Rim” producer Mary Parent, who’s based at Paramount.

Meanwhile Frank Darabont, who brought life to “The Walking Dead” at AMC, has been hired to work on the script, studio sources confirmed to Variety. Studio is considering several actors for parts, including “Man of Steel” star Henry Cavill, Scoot McNairy and Caleb Landry Jones.

Legendary announced plans for “Godzilla” under its co-production and co-financing deal with Warner Bros. in March 2010. Lin and Lee, who both have first-look deals with Warners, were involved from the start, but Legendary is buying them out. Legendary’s Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni remain as producers, along with Brian Rogers.

Lin and the studio had no comment about the development, first reported on the website Hitfix. Deadline first reported the Darabont and Parent developments.

“Godzilla” is set for a May 16, 2014 release with a promise that Godzilla will return to “its epic roots with a gritty, realistic actioner.” Gareth Edwards directs from a screenplay by David Callaham, David S. Goyer and Max Borenstein. The 3D film will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. except in Japan, where it will be distributed by Toho Co.

Legendary had announced in March, 2011, that it had closed the rights deal for “Godzilla” with Japan’s Toho Co., which has overseen more than 25 “Godzilla” films.

Lin is a producer on the “Sherlock Holmes” films and “Gangster Squad,” which premieres in Los Angeles on Monday opens Friday. He’s partnered with Lee on “Lego” and a remake of Stephen King’s “It.” Lee is working on an “Oldboy” remake for FilmDistrict.

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