Guillermo del Toro Updates ‘Hobbit’, ‘Frankenstein’
Director Guillermo del Toro spoke with reporters in Los Angeles to promote this week’s release of Hellboy II: The Golden Army on DVD.
Of course, the question about the third film in the series came up and del Toro replied, “You know, I think that they will not green-light it or not or they will not talk about it until the last Euro hits the piggy bank. The fact is the movie, even though it was dually sodomized by Hancock and The Dark Knight, still did theatrically better than the first movie, internationally is doing exceedingly better than the first movie. It really is in some cases doing 300 percent more business, and depending on the territory and globally I think is doing about 100 percent more business than the first one. Let’s see what happens with the DVD, and the people that make the decisions do it based on the calculator function of the iPod, not on the other one.
“I would beg them and amputate myself in order for them to wait for me, but I don’t control it. If they say, ‘No, no, no, we’re going to do it,’ I personally think this incarnation of the trilogy, I would love to finish because it’s not arbitrary that we went into a different direction on the second one. I really think when and if you see the three movies, you’re going to have a comedic one, a tragic one and you’re going to see three movies that are incredibly apart in registration one from another. It’s really exploring Hellboy in very different ways.”
When queried about casting for The Hobbit and bringing back actors from Lords of the Rings, he said, “Not yet. Just the ones that have been announced [Ian McKellen as Gandalf and Andy Serkis as Gollum]. There’s not lack of information. It’s not withholding. We really don’t have more information, because we’re writing. And literally, like every week, what you discover writing the two movies, writing the two stories, it changes. So every week there’s a discovery, and anything we say this week would be contradicted next week. Certainly that would be true in casting. Why create hopes or why create expectations if down the line you’re going to go, ‘You know what? That was not a good idea.’ So we won’t cast it until we finish writing.”
Beyond the cast, the creatures inhabiting Middle Earth have to be considered. Orcs, goblins and Gollum have been designed but then there’s Smaug.
“Smaug is the creature in The Hobbit. The way Tolkien wrote it already is magnificent. It’s already a fantastic character,” del Toro gushed. “So, obviously, dragons, you ask every person what their best favorite dragon is, they will give you a different answer. In my mind, what we’re going to attempt on the design of this creature and the creation of this creature needs to push the envelope beyond anything you’ve ever seen on that kind of creature.
“…Normally, the creature, there is some stuff that has been done with dragons that I find there are very few landmarks created for me. One of the best, one of the strongest landmarks that almost nobody can overcome is Dragonslayer. The design of the Vermithrax Pejorative is perhaps one of the most perfect creature designs ever made. So what you have to be careful is not to try to be distinctive just to be distinctive, but Smaug has certain characteristics that make him unique already. I cannot. I am bursting at the seams about spilling the beans, but I won’t because I would be shot. …”
After The Hobbit, the director’s plate is full including a new version of Frankenstein. Of that, he said, “The project I have at Universal is trying to approach the mythology from a different point of view. So what you will see will be seeing the Frankenstein myth, but from a side, like an oblique way. If I told you exactly what it is, then it will be completely surpriseless by the time it is announced. But it won’t be the straight Frankenstein, I don’t think.
“One of the things I love about Frankenstein is that the incarnations can vary so greatly. The greatest soulless monster of Frankenstein has always been Christopher Lee, because when he stares at you, there’s really nobody home. It’s literally one of the scariest moments I remember as a kid. I thought, ‘Oh, my God, this thing is not human.’ And the opposite, the complete polar opposite, is Boris Karloff, who is more human than humans. So you will have both those vibes in the piece."