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Anders Holm: Monarch: Legacy of Monsters

Do you think that TV is actually the best place to tell a Godzilla story, given that you’ve got 10 hours to play with? Because in the films, so often the human characters get overshadowed . . .

Watching the big blockbuster movies, I do think, yes, it’s hard for the human stories to compete with the scale of the monsters fighting and all that. But I’ve got to give props to Chris [Black] and Matt [Fraction], the co-showrunners, who took on that challenge and were like, “No, we’re going to make the human story just as interesting in different ways than these huge monster battles.” It’s pretty 50/50 as far as huge, epic, monstrous fights, and then really making sure that the human stories are grounded and have their own high stakes that are character-based — and not just on the run from giant monsters.

Did you study John Goodman’s performance in Kong at all to inform your take on his younger self?

You know, it was funny, because as soon as they go, “Hey, so you’re going to be playing young John Goodman,”
I was like, “Well, about that . . .” And they were like, “Don’t worry. You don’t have to be John Goodman.” And I was like, “Great, because I can’t do that!” [Laughs]

If being John Goodman was easy, everyone would do it . . .

Exactly. He’s just so charming and watchable and commanding — and yet somehow in other roles he has the ability to not appear that he’s commanding, and be the “side character” that has more of a sense of humour. He’s got all the arrows in his quiver, and I think I might have, like, a couple arrows? [Laughs]

In the 1950s storyline, Bill, Lee and Keiko form this really effective, albeit fraught, team as the creators of Monarch. What makes them a good trio?

I think Keiko and Bill, my character, they’re dreamers — albeit my dreams are more fantastical. And Lee is “here and now,” he’s more pragmatic. But Lee and Keiko are more fact-based, where I’m kind of like, “Anything’s possible.” And Lee and I, we were both in the military, we have that background [in common]. It just works. We all know our strengths and weaknesses, so there’s a mutual respect that goes around. But of course, Bill and Lee are falling for Keiko as we get to know each other more intimately and we’re “in the trenches,” so to speak, with each other.

Godzilla tends to be both the “disaster” in these disaster movies and sort of the hero as well. You don’t see that too often in cinema . . .

Essentially, Godzilla . . . you can’t stop him. He represents life. You can’t stop life from coming at you. You can’t control it. You can’t tell it to “chill out.” In that way, I think it’s an interesting metaphor for society. At the point when the original movie came out in the ’50s, we were kind of going off the rails with war and nuclear weapons — and this was a reminder that, if you keep pushing Mother Nature, it’s going to push back. And then on a smaller scale, life’s gonna come at you. You think you’re in control? You’re not. So just do your thing, do your best, be good to yourself and the planet, and I think you’ll be alright.

Monarch: Legacy of Monsters, streaming Friday on Apple TV+


Growing up in Evanston, Illinois — spending his Sunday nights watching old Godzilla movies on Channel 50 — Holm is best known as one of the stars and co-creators of cult-hit sitcom Workaholics, where he played debaucherous telemarketer Anders Holmvik for all seven seasons. You’ve also seen him in The Mindy Project, Inventing Anna and The Muppets Mayhem.


A younger version of the character brought to life on the big screen by John Goodman in 2017’s Kong: Skull Island, Holm plays Bill Randa, an eccentric scientist who, along with Japanese colleague Keiko Miura (Mari Yamamoto) and U.S. Army man Lee Shaw (Wyatt Russell), founds monster-hunting agency Monarch in the 1950s.

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