Director Guillermo Del Toro (“Pan’s Labyrinth”) is a very hot commodity and he won’t have to worry about where his next helming gig is coming from for the next 9 years. The very busy director has a whole line of SF films lined-up to showrun until at least the year 2017.
Besides the 2-part “Hobbit” franchise, del Toro will also be tackeling a remake of the Kurt Vonnegut Jr. classic “Slaughterhouse Five,” a new look at a familiar monster with “Frankenstein” and another take on the famous tranformation idea in “Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde.” The two “Hobbit” films alone will easily take del Toro into 2012.
As if these five films weren’t enough to keep him hopping, Universal Pictures has asked, and he accepted, the challenge of taking on the grueling task of adapting the Dan Simmons novel “Drood” for the big screen. The novel is due out in bookstores this coming February. And, while “Drood” is the last film he has added to his “To Do List,” it is most likely to be the first film he will get pre-production going on once he has wrapped on the two “Hobbit” films.
“Drood,” like Simmons’ bestselling “The Terror,” is a unique mix of history, biography, and dark fantasy, but where “The Terror” dealt with an actual doomed Arctic expedition in 1848, “Drood” looks at the lives and secrets of Charles Dickens and his novelist friend Wilkie Collins in the period 1865-1870. History records that Dickens was in the terrible Staplehurst train accident of 1865 and suffered injuries – both physical and psychological — from which he never recovered. He died suddenly on the fifth anniversary of that accident on June 9,1870.
“Drood” fictionally explores the dark secrets that came to obsess both Dickens and Wilkie Collins during those five years — secrets that not only ended their long friendship but brought each writer to the brink of murder.
The director will add his own twist to the well-known “Frankenstein” franchise, a story he has been waiting to tell all his professional life.
“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.”
However, for “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” del Toro plans on sticking closely to the original Robert Louis Stevenson tale.
In his upcoming version of “Slaughter House Five,” del Toro will migrate away from the first film adaptation of Vonnegut’s inspiring novel and provide a more literal rendition, one that stays truer to the novel.
“There are ways that Vonnegut plays with and juxtaposes time that was perhaps too edgy to be tackled on film at that time,” del Toro said.
In addition to the five films, del Toro still wants to make an adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s “At the Mountains of Madness,” which Universal also wants to be involved in with him.
Wait, it’s not yet over. de Toro is also on tap to co-write and co-produce an adaptation of the David Moody apocalyptic thriller “Hater,” as well as a gothic romance movie titled “Crimson Peak.” de Toro will not direct these two features but will serve as producer.
Of course, one has to also wonder, with the moderate success of “Hellboy 2,” if a third film in that franchise is also in de Toro’s very busy future.