Guillermo del Toro Fills his Calendar
Director Guillermo del Toro has pacted with Universal Studios to helm four new films, three remakes — Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Slaughterhouse-Five – plus an adaptation of Dan Simmons’ novel Drood. The director has also discussed his desires to make a film based on H.P. Lovecraft’s "At the Mountains of Madness” and there’s also the matter of Hellboy III.
These will all follow del Toro’s four year commitment to live and work in New Zealand as he mounts the two-film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. Script work on that project has already begun with del Toro working alongside producer Peter Jackson, and writers Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens.
Drood, which was released by Little Brown in February, is likely to be the first of four Universal films, according to Variety. The novel posits a train accident altered author Charles Dickens’ mind, turning him into a killer which inspired his The Mystery of Edwin Drood.
Del Toro has made it clear for some time now his desire to remake Frankenstein, the 1931 film that began Universal’s journey into movie monsters that became its hallmark. "To me, Frankenstein represents the essential human question: ‘Why did my creator throw me here, unprotected, unguided, unaided and lost?’ “del Toro said.”With that one, they will have to pry it from my cold dead hands to prevent me from directing it."
He has also indicated a desire for Jekyll and Slaughterhouse to both be more faithful to the source material than previous incarnations.
"I think they’ll decide when the last euro hits the piggybank," del Toro said of Universal hedging their bets on letting him complete the Hellboy trilogy he envisioned. "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." Universal indicated they may take a viral marketing approach to better prepare audiences for the final film if the decision to go forward is made.
As a producer, del Toro is already committed to working with Mark Johnson on Hater, based on David Moody’s novel plus Crimson Peak, a gothic romance del Toro and Matthew Robbins (Mimic) cowrote.
"No one expected The Hobbit to come about; it was the most marvelous monkey wrench tossed into my life," del Toro told the trade. "I consider (the new deals) the renewal of my marital vows with Universal."
Universal production president Donna Langley said,” We came out the other side of some tough conversations with a stronger bond and sense of long-term commitment," Langley said. "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."