Monarch: Legacy of Monsters is the newest entry into the MonsterVerse franchise and takes us to the heart of things: Godzilla and more terrifying creatures. Apple TV+’s new Godzilla series continues this Friday with the sixth episode, “Terrifying Miracles“, which picks up after the 2014 Legendary Godzilla film. Created by Chris Black and Matt Fraction, the show delves deeper into the monster-filled world of that universe. We sat down over Zoom for an exclusive interview with Mari Yamamoto and Anders Holm, who play Keiko Miura and Bill Randa in the streaming show.
The duo shared what it was like filming the show and a story about a huge and scary four-legged visitor they encountered in the Canadian forest. Anders Holm shared whether or not he got advice from John Goodman before taking up the mantle of his character from Skull Island. Mari Yamamoto opened up about her fear of heights and how filming a challenging scene in the first episode, which involved being quite high up, unintentionally served as exposure therapy for her. Read the interview to learn more, but beware, mild spoilers are ahead.
The interview with Mari Yamamoto and Anders Holm about Monarch
[Please note, this interview has been lightly edited for clarity. There are also mild episodes for Monarch: Legacy of Monsters ahead. You can listen to the full interview below, find it most places podcasts are available, or read on. Lastly, please consider showing your support for this podcast and website at buymeacoffee.com/cosmiccircus.]
Ayla Ruby: Hi. It’s so nice to meet you both.
Anders Holm: Hey, what’s up?
Mari Yamamoto: Nice to meet you too.
Ayla Ruby: So I have a lot of questions for you, and I’m going to start with you, Mari. So your character dies in the first episode. This is not a spoiler because it’s the first episode. Did you film that? Was that the first thing you filmed, or was it non-linearly filmed? Did you film the scenes from 53 and 54 beforehand? How did that work?
Mari Yamamoto: I think the first day, the first week of the shoot was the scene where we encounter the Russian boy in the forest, and that was a really eventful day because we encountered a bear in the forest. So that was really fun. In the Canadian forest.
Ayla Ruby: What did you do?
Mari Yamamoto: We clapped and said, “Go away, bear.” There’s a video of that moment, and I think it’s Wyatt, but he’s like, “Bear, go away, Bear.” And trying to-
Anders Holm: Yeah, I’ve stood behind Wyatt [Russell] and he handled the situation.
Mari Yamamoto: I slowly backed away and then, yeah, that was an eventful day. That was the first day and I sprained my ankle and all these things, so-
Anders Holm: That’s right.
Mari Yamamoto: That was, yes, a very fun first day. And I think that scene came after, I think we shot the stuff inside the lot and next, and then it was the reactor scene.
Ayla Ruby: Oh, wow. So Anders, for you, your character is essentially a young John Goodman, his character from Skull Island. Can you about, did you get any advice from him before doing this? What did you do to get into the mindset?
Anders Holm: I wish. We were kind of ships in the night. He filmed his bit and obviously was in Skull Island, and then I was filming my stuff separately. It was a strange show. You’d see people coming and going, and you’d never work with them, but you’d be like, but you’re my granddaughter. You know what I mean? It was very fascinating. Sometimes you’d run into people and introduce yourselves and be like, “Hey, so how’s your side of the show?” It was interesting.
But yeah, I wish I could get advice from him. He’s one of the all-time greats. And a piece of advice they gave me when the show started, they’re like, “Don’t worry. You don’t have to do a John Goodman impression. You don’t have to do what he does.” And I was like, “That’s great. I can’t do what he does. He’s John Goodman,” you know what I mean? He’s got that John Goodman energy and I just kind of did my thing and hopefully people don’t care and it’s okay. We’ll see.
Ayla Ruby: Well, I think it works out great. I love the show, and I’m, again, so excited to talk to you both. So besides the bear, because that seems really challenging; can you talk about, Mari, and for you too, Anders, was there anything really challenging that you can talk about that’s not a spoiler to bring to life? To just kind of get on screen as an actor or just filming technically? Anything like that?
Mari Yamamoto: I would say you did ask me about it, the scene where I fall to my death. I think I have an extreme fear of heights and speed. And I was on the wire. They asked me, “Do you mind being dropped on the wire?” And I was like, “Yeah, sure, sure, sure.” I just thought that’s what you do.
So I said yes, and then we started doing it, and I was like, Uh-Oh, what did I sign up for? And it was extreme exposure therapy, so I would wait for them for the last minute to take me up because if you’re suspended for a while up there, I was just going to have a panic attack. So I just went up right before and then dropped and then kept doing that. I think I’ve conquered maybe the height bit. I think I’m okay now, so that was great.
Ayla Ruby: Were there a lot of takes to that or was that kind of once you’re up there, you’re done?
Mari Yamamoto: No, we did multiple. We did a lot. Yeah.
Ayla Ruby: Oh boy.
Anders Holm: It’s a human yo-yo.
Mari Yamamoto: Yeah, literally. Yeah, that was me.
Ayla Ruby: How about for you, Anders?
Anders Holm: I would say the hardest part of the shoot was keeping my pants high so that it was period accurate. And then probably the easiest thing for me was driving stick. As Mari knows, it was pretty smooth. I’d never done it before. And then we got in the car, and it was just a super smooth sailing, not bumpy at all, no one got hurt.
Mari Yamamoto: No, not bumpy at all. No seat belts. Yeah.
Anders Holm: I’ve never driven stick so that was rough.
Mari Yamamoto: The car did catch on fire one time.
Anders Holm: That’s right.
Mari Yamamoto: There was that too. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Ayla Ruby: How?
Anders Holm: Yeah, we were on a processing trailer and I think there was just a piece of, I don’t know, plastic or something that got caught by under the tire, and then it just started smoking as we were driving. And I was like, “I think it smells like fire.” And people were like, “No, it definitely doesn’t”. And I’m like, “Well, its smells like burning rubber and I don’t know what’s going on.” And then a flame just showed up next to us, and we’re like, “Okay, let’s go out that door and get another car on the trailer or something.” Yeah, a lot of crazy things happen.
Mari Yamamoto: Adventures on set. Yes.
Anders Holm: Yeah.
Ayla Ruby: Wow. Okay. Moving away a tiny bit from the show. So, do you guys have a favorite Godzilla iteration? Besides yours, there’s 70 years of history for this universe.
Mari Yamamoto: I have to say the original. Yeah, I always say this, but so I don’t know.
Ayla Ruby: It’s incredible.
Mari Yamamoto: It’s just such a part of our Japanese identity that film, so it means so much to me that I get to be part of the world of Godzilla now. And that’s where it all started. So yeah.
Anders Holm: Yeah, I mean, I’ll jump on that. I hadn’t seen the original until signing on to do the show, and I was like, well, let’s get into it. And watching it, it’s unbelievable what they do with just, for me, it was the sound. The soldiers are all getting together and all you hear is the boom, boom. And I’m like, oh, Spielberg ripped this off for Jurassic Park. You know what I mean? You start seeing how good they were at using sound to create this atmosphere of something larger than life nearing. And the acting was unbelievable. It was just a true spectacle that holds up entirely.
Ayla Ruby: Well, thank you both so much.
Mari Yamamoto: Thank you.
Anders Holm: Yep.
Where to watch Monarch: Legacy of Monsters
The first season of Monarch: Legacy of Monsters is now streaming on AppleTV+. Have you seen any of this new Godzilla Monsterverse series yet? What do you think of it? Let us know on social media @mycosmiccircus or in The Cosmic Circus Discord.