Not Godzilla, GOJIRA!
When there is a need for a stately Japanese character in a starring role in a big movie, Ken Watanabe's name is often at the top of Hollywood's list.
After all, it's been that way since his Oscar-nominated US debut in Tom Cruise's The Last Samurai (2003).
He was also the respectable businessman in Memoirs Of A Geisha (2005), a general in Clint Eastwood's Letters From Iwo Jima (2006) and boasts two acclaimed movies helmed by Christopher Nolan - Batman Begins (2005) and Inception (2010).
So when it came time to cast Japanese scientist Dr Ishiro Serizawa in the latest big-budget remake of Godzilla, which stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Bryan Cranston, Watanabe was the obvious choice.
Directed by British film-maker Gareth Edwards, this new version follows closely to the 1954 Japanese original Gojira, where the giant lizard is the spawn of nuclear energy.
Having devoted his life to the search of Godzilla, Dr Serizawa is happy to join in the military pursuit when massive unidentified creatures started to terrorise Japan and San Francisco.
Watanabe naturally felt protective towards the made-in-Japan monster.
When we met him recently at JW Marriott Essex House in New York for a round-table interview, the 54-year-old told M that he was initially afraid Edwards would destroy his country's revered icon.
But when he learnt about Edwards' vision for Godzilla - and how much he respected Japanese culture and what Godzilla means to Japan - Watanabe agreed to join the production.
Here, he explains the symbolism of Godzilla and why he refuses to call the creature by its Western name.
ON WHAT GODZILLA MEANS TO HIM
"He's a symbol of human conscience. To me, there's some sadness in its roar. It's like he's scolding humanity's foolishness on what we did to nature.
"He was born out of fear after World War II, when people began to be fascinated by nuclear weapons.
"After 60 years, we are still facing similar challenges. We worry over nuclear plant meltdowns - especially when earthquakes hit us, such as what happened to Fukushima."
"I insisted that the first mention of the name must come from me. That's very important to me (as a Japanese).
"When I said the name, Gareth and the other Western producer asked me to pronounce it the English way - Godzilla. I refused.
"To me, he's Gojira, never Godzilla!"
ON GARETH EDWARDS BEING CALLED THE NEXT CHRISTOPHER NOLAN
"Everyone told me that, but I didn't believe them. No one can be like Chris Nolan. Chris is a genius. He's such a great visionary. I'll follow him whatever he tells me to do. Gareth is very generous and kind. And he has the same kind of vision as Chris."
ON NOT MOVING TO HOLLYWOOD
"I have a good life in Tokyo. I don't have paparazzi following me as they are all afraid of me.
"I think it's better for me to be invited over to Hollywood as a Japanese actor. Then I can bring a different sense of culture, a different mindset and perspective to a movie.
"Also, as English is not my native language, it will be difficult for me to be a Hollywood actor."