Guillermo Del Toro’s To Do List is Longer Than Yours

I literally have no idea where I’ll be or what I’ll be doing nine hours from now… but Guillermo Del Toro is already planning ahead nine years into the future. He makes the rest of us look so lazy and unmotivated.

The Hobbit will obviously take up the bulk of Del Toro’s time, and per Variety, he’s committed the next five years to the project. As reported a week ago, Del Toro, along with Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, and Philippa Boyens, have begun work on the screenplay via video conferencing and frequent flyer miles.

After leaving Middle Earth, Del Toro will settle in with Universal on four directing projects recently inked as part of a first look deal between the director and the studio. The four films appear to consist of three remakes and one original movie based on an upcoming novel. Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Slaughterhouse-Five are the remakes, and Drood is based on a new novel by Dan Simmons that comes out next February.

Of the four, Drood looks to be the first post-Hobbit paycheck for Del Toro. From Simmons’ own website,

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.”

Sounds very unlike the typical Del Toro fare, but Simmons’ novels are always fantastically rich in plot, detail, and character so it’s exciting news. Not as exciting as it’d be if someone announced movie plans for Simmons’ best novel, The Hollow Man… but still good news.

The three remakes should follow after Drood, and of the three Frankenstein is the closest to Del Toro’s heart. “To me, Frankenstein represents the essential human question: ‘Why did my creator throw me here, unprotected, unguided, unaided and lost?’” he said. “With that one, they will have to pry it from my cold dead hands to prevent me from directing it.” Del Toro’s plans for the Robert Louis Stevenson and Kurt Vonnegut adaptations are to stick closer to the source material than incarnations have in the past. “There are ways that Vonnegut plays with and juxtaposes time that was perhaps too edgy to be tackled on film at that time,” he said.

And because he’s not busy enough, Del Toro is also hopeful on a third Hellboy film, even though Universal has yet to commit after the release of Hellboy 2: The Golden Army. “I think they’ll decide when the last euro hits the piggybank,” he said. “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.” Donna Langley, a Universal exec, says they are interested and “may work with del Toro to add a TV series and online segments to broaden the following before making the series finale.”

A Hellboy TV series? A historical thriller based on a Dan Simmons novel? Four classic literary adaptations? (Five if you include Del Toro’s long-rumored film of H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness.) Plus the multiple films he’ll produce with other directors? And he may be directing one of the segments from the new Heavy Metal movie? Damn I’m a lazy bastard in need of a daily planner.

Rob is the Chief Film Critic of Film School Rejects. He doesn't eat cheese on weekdays.

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