With The Hobbit now a distant memory for its former director, Guillermo Del Toro is free to do what he wants, any old time. Rocking up at the Saturn Awards, he gave a handy one-stop update on all the projects he currently has in the pipeline, revealing that some are closer to fruition than others, and, sadly, one in particular is probably not happening at all.
"I want to be shooting something in May next year," says Guillermo, "so I need something that's ready to go into pre-production immediately."
Closest to potentialy getting started is Frankenstein, in which Doug Jones will play the monster. Make-up tests are already finished ("The nuts are something to behold!") but a potential hold-up is the as-yet incomplete screenplay. "It's not ready. That's the problem. it's not an easy one to crack. There's been so many versions, and I really believe what we're doing is something new, without changing the novel." Not changing the novel is probably exactly the key to a screen Frankenstein we haven't seen before, we'd have thought.
Hellboy 3 is a while away yet: potentially the film after whatever Del Toro does immediately next. Again, it's a script issue: "The Hellboy screenplays are not quick to write. For whatever reason, they end up being very complicated."
And it seems that Del Toro's long heralded and eagerly anticipated adaptation of HP Lovecraft's bonkers At the Mountains of Madness, may not be happening at all. "It doesn't look like I can do it," he laments. "It's very difficult for the studios to take the step of doing a period-set, R-rated, tentpole movie with a tough ending and no love story." Even numbers won't shift the Hollywood execs from their placid island of ignorance: "Lovecraft has a readership as big as any best-seller, but it's tough to quantify because his works are in the public domain."
Del Toro reckons the official announcement of his next gig (which may turn out to be none of the above) will come during or just after next month's Comic-Con. There he'll also be presenting Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, which he produced for first-time director Troy Nixey. "A remake of the TV movie that destroyed my childhood entirely," it stars Guy Pearce and Katie Holmes, and should hit cinemas next year.