Guillermo del Toro's Long Roadmap to 2017
by Kevin Powers
September 4, 2008
We're about to start seeing a lot more out one of the most creative monster minds in the motion picture industry today - Guillermo del Toro. Variety tells us that the Hellboy series writer and director has many, many projects on the horizon, so much so that he might be booked up until 2017! As most know, for the immediate future - the next five years, in fact - Del Toro is to be working on the upcoming Hobbit films (two in total) alongside acclaimed Peter Jackson. During this period, del Toro will begin work on a variety of other projects (e.g. hiring writers and such) while working closely with executive producer Gary Ungar at his own production studio. As for what these projects might be, take a look at the long list below.
Universal executives feel Drood might be del Toro's next project following the Hobbit films. Based on a forthcoming novel by Dan Simmons, Drood "supposes that survival from a catastrophic train crash changed author Charles Dickens, plunging him into the depths of London depravity and possibly turning him to murder before he wrote his final novel, 'The Mystery of Edwin Drood.'" If you didn't know, Dickens was involved in a serious train crash in 1865 in which seven cars plunged off a bridge, leaving only one first-class car on the track, which happen to be the author's. Simmons' imagining that such an experience would drive the author to the dark side sounds like a pretty interesting movie concept. Donna Langley of Universal said, "It's the fantasy and gothic horror world Guillermo finds comfortable. It feels like a great fit for where (we expect) Guillermo will have evolved as a filmmaker five years from now."
On the horizon is also a remake to the classic monster tale, "Frankenstein," a story del Toro has loved for some time, particularly the 1931 film released by Universal. Of the mythology, del Toro said, "To me, Frankenstein represents the essential human question: 'Why did my creator throw me here, unprotected, unguided, unaided and lost?' What I'm trying to do is take the myth and do something with it, but combining elements of Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein without making it just a classical myth of the monster. The best moments in my mind of 'Frankenstein,' of the novel, are yet to be filmed." It's pretty much a safe bet that we'll see del Toro's Frankenstein eventually, as he added, "With that one, they will have to pry it from my cold dead hands to prevent me from directing it."
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Directing)
Almost as retold as many times as "Frankenstein" is the story of "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." For the new film, apparently del Toro, "wants to stick more closely to Robert Louis Stevenson's prose and explore the addictive high the repressed Jekyll experienced as his murderous alter ego." Stevenson released the split-personality psycho-tale in 1886, which has seen countless adaptations in the media since, both on the big screen and otherwise. Last I recall seeing the character was in the embarrassing comic book extravaganza League of Extraordinary Gentlemen in 2003. I definitely welcome del Toro's fresh new take.
As for a revisit to the 1972 original Slaughterhouse-Five, "Del Toro plans to provide a more literal interpretation" of Kurt Vonnegut's original story: "[focusing on] a prisoner in a German WWII POW camp who travels through time and space." Del Toro said, "There are ways that Vonnegut plays with and juxtaposes time that was perhaps too edgy to be tackled on film at that time." Definitely more odd than most stories, Slaughterhouse-Five originally presents "a first-person narrative from the point of view of Billy Pilgrim, who becomes 'unstuck in time' and experiences the events of his life in a seemingly random order, including a period spent on the alien planet of Tralfamadore... [and] his experiences during World War II."
At the Mountains of Madness (Directing)
Less-formed than the four other films, At the Mountains of Madness is a pet project of del Toro's. As we mentioned of the intended adaptation of the 1931 H.P. Lovecraft novella back in May, the story surrounds an expedition to Antarctica in which various manner of terror and creature is discovered, of which del Toro remarked, "I think we need to re-create the tentpole studio horror film." While Universal "has its sights set" on the adaptation, del Toro previously ran into financing trouble with Warner Bros, who apparently was "very nervous about the cost and it not having a love story or a happy ending." Perhaps Universal now agrees with del Toro that "it's impossible to do either in the Lovecraft universe." Thank goodness there is someone out there who understands that!
Hellboy III (Directing)
This one is a longshot at this point, but another installment to the Hellboy series would be most welcome considering the mild success ($101 million worldwide) of Hellboy II: The Golden Army this summer. Of the possibility for a third, del Toro, said "I think they'll decide when the last euro hits the piggybank. We laid the groundwork to have a magnificent third act. I'd like to return to an action franchise with 60-year-old actor Ron Perlman, because he'll be scratching at that age when I get to it."
Another one that is on the horizon and a tad less soft than the rest is the adaptation of David Moody's novel "Hater", which is a thriller about an epidemic of random violence in which ordinary people strike lethally without warning or remorse. Del Toro said previously, "I'll carry my weight on the creative side, in choosing elements and storyboarding, but it will be up to [co-producer Mark Johnson] and the director we choose to execute the day to day. The Hobbit is a monumental task, and I don't want to do anything that detracts from my attention to that."
Crimson Peak (Producing)
This is a new project, which at this point is actually only "a gothic romance spec script by del Toro and his Mimic collaborator Matthew Robbins." Even though there is hardly any details, you can still count me in.
Damn! That is an incredible amount for one guy, and I'm sure I missed a few other possibilities and rumors that have stuck in the air for a while. All parties seem pleased with this outlook, with del Toro saying, "I consider (the new deals) the renewal of my marital vows with Universal," and Universal commenting, "Guillermo is in the most prolific time of his life. Joe Johnston on The Wolf Man showed us the importance of entrusting the Universal franchise monsters to experienced filmmakers with voices. That was a big impetus for our decision to go with Guillermo to put his creative stamp on these properties." I couldn't agree more. Finally a smart Hollywood studio. Which projects are you looking forward to?