Del Toro Commits To Universal Until 2017

He'll direct four films, including Drood

Yesterday, we wrote a news story in which – the wags that we are – we made a hilarious crack about the crowded nature of Guillermo Del Toro’s to-do list. Oh, how we laughed.

But, what’s this? Not only are we the world’s biggest and bestest film magazine/website/multi-platform brand synergistic entity, but we also seem to be the reincarnation of Nostra-bleedin-damus!

For today there came an announcement that Del Toro has committed his filmmaking future – once he’s done with The Hobbit, of course, by 2012 – to Universal, with advanced plans for him to direct four movies for the studio up to 2017.

The movies in question all have a literary bent, given that they’re each based on novels. And they are:

  • Frankenstein, which we’ve known for a while that the Mexican director has been circling. Universal see this as one of their franchise big guns, following the revival of The Wolfman (which Del Toro came this close to directing)
  • Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde, based on the Robert Louis Stevenson novel. This is prime, prime Guillermo territory.
  • Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five, the time-spanning WWII-meets-sci-fi novel (which is, of course, the barest capsule description of that novel that you could ever wish to see).
  • Dan Simmons’ forthcoming novel, Drood, which blends fact and fiction in telling the dark tale of the last days of Charles Dickens. We haven’t read it yet as it’s not published until February, but Simmons is a wonderful writer and, judging from the plot description, this could well be a Victorian take on The Dark Half. Possibly.

So, there you go. And that’s not even counting the movies that Del Toro is down to produce for Universal, including Hater and Crimson Peak.

And then, still to be placed somewhere in his schedule, is his pet project, the movie he’s been longing to make since he was a wee bairn: H.P. Lovecraft’s At The Mountains Of Madness.

We have to say, we’re delighted to see del Toro has locked down his schedule for the next nine years (he’s about to start hiring writers for the projects, while he’s busy with The Hobbit; his manager, Gary Ungar, will oversee the process, along with development director Russell Ackerman and Universal exec, Scott Bernstein). But there are several questions that have yet to be answered:

Does his new deal, which he sees as a “renewal of my marital vows with Universal”, allow Del Toro to break away inbetween Universal flicks and shoot smaller Spanish-language movies, as has been his wont over the last few years (think of it as ‘one for them, uno para mi’)?

And does this mean that, in the wake of the disappointing US box office performance of Hellboy II: The Golden Army, that Hellboy 3 is now officially consigned to development hell? If so, that’s a big, big shame.

If we see the big fella in the coming weeks – and God knows, we hope to – we’ll be sure to ask him.