“It’s kind of unreal,” Brown told Variety at the premiere. “I’m like, ‘What is happening right now?’ It’s so bizarre and unreal, and I never thought I’d be doing this. I really didn’t.
Brown and the cast shut down Hollywood Boulevard on Saturday night for the massive premiere at TCL Chinese Theatre, posing with the fans that lined the street before they walked the black carpet, which featured a special appearance from Godzilla himself.
“I used to actually walk down here and look at this [theater] and my dad used to say, ‘ This is where they do premieres,'” the 15-year-old actress recalled. “And now I’m here.”
Brown stars in the film as Madison Russell, a girl caught in a clash of the titans as Godzilla takes on iconic monsters, including the character’s main nemesis Ghidorah, in an effort to help save mankind. Since the titular king of monsters began gracing (or terrorizing) our screenings in 1954, he has fought a host of legendary characters including King Kong. So how did the young star get the role as his leading lady?
Director Michael Dougherty said it was a “no brainer” to cast the teen after seeing her as Eleven in “Stranger Things.”
“I’ll be completely honest that she was such an amazing breakout performance there,” Dougherty said of her acclaimed performance on the hit Netflix show. But he shared that what really won him over was bonding over their mutual love of animals.
“We spent more time talking about animals and the natural world and our love of wildlife than anything else,” he continued, saying it was “an honor and a privilege” to work with the young star. “Millie is actually an old soul. So as much as she looks like, you know, your average 15-year-old, she has a wisdom and a strength about her that is rare.”
Kyle Chandler, who plays Brown’s father Mark Russell, also took a moment to praise his co-star for her sweet and professional demeanor on set.
“She’s a kid, and she’s a cool kid. She’s got a great curiosity and she likes to study what she does so she knows her craft,” Chandler said of his on-screen daughter. “She’s a pretty interesting young person in the business. I think you’ll see a lot of her do a lot of different things in the future.”
Chandler also has a special connection to the monster universe, as one of the only actors who has appearing on-screen with both Godzilla and King Kong before the two face off in next year’s movie. (He appeared in Peter Jackson’s 2005 film about the ape.)
“When you go on the town with Godzilla, it’s sort of a rough night. It’s destroying things and what have you,” he joked about his experiences with each monster. “You go out with King Kong, he’s more of a ladies’ man. It’s two different deals.”
O’Shea Jackson Jr., Chief Warrant Officer Barnes, had a much different take on the monster.
“Listen, I’ve loved Godzilla since I was 5 years old,” he said. “When we did ‘Straight Outta Compton,’ they asked me to list my five heroes — The Rock, Kobe Bryant, Goku (Dragon Ball), Sonic the Hedgehog and Godzilla. You know, none of those guys have ever let me down.”
In fact, Jackson is such a big fan of Godzilla that he was gifted a custom necklace, featuring the monster and designed by jeweler Johnny Dang, to wear on the red carpet.
“There was one practical effect on set and it was Godzilla skin,” he went on. “I never thought I’d ever be able to touch Godzilla. Little kid O’Shea is freaking out. And the day that the skin was on set, the day I got to touch Godzilla, was the day my little girl was born. So, it all came full circle.”
Unlike Jackson, Brown wasn’t a fan of Godzilla before signing onto the movie, but this experience changed her perspective. “One of the things you should know is that if you are a diehard Godzilla fan, you’re going to love this movie. If you’re not one, you’re going to be a diehard Godzilla fan [after it].” she said.
Brown continued, laughing: “I never knew Godzilla before this. I had never met him. [But] he’s a great guy. I swiped right on Godzilla.”
“Godzilla: King of the Monsters” hits theaters on May 31.