Godzilla Minus One is in Theaters.

Director Takashi Yamazaki opens up about taking the king of monsters back to its roots for a modern audience.

In the almost 70 years since Toho’s original Godzilla feature astounded filmgoers with its practically created depiction of monstrous, atomic devastation, Toho’s larger franchise of kaiju-focused projects has expanded and evolved to include battles with robots, three-headed monsters, and even King Kong. But all that growth has never really erased the King of Monster’s textual origins as a metaphor for the pain Japan experienced during World War II and the global fear of nuclear weapons that swept across the world in the war’s wake.

After years of watching one of his favorite characters transform on the big screen, Godzilla Minus One director Takashi Yamazaki felt it was high time for the radioactive icon to get back to its allegorical roots. When I sat down with Yamazaki to talk about his new film, he told me that — more than anything else — he wanted to tell a story about humanity’s resilience and commitment to survival in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges.

Those are hallmarks of some of Toho’s most memorable stories centering on Godzilla, but to do them justice for his new movie, Yamazaki knew that he was going to have to go back to the very beginning.