Guillermo del Toro Takes on Dahl’s The Witches

Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth) might just be the energizer bunny of film directors. He’s got projects lined up through 2010 and now is ready to direct The Witches based on Roald Dahl’s childrens book.

Nicholas Roeg did a good version of the book in 1990, but del Toro sees this in a completely new way. He wants the film to be done completely in stop action animation.  It could be an interesting project for del Toro who has an affinity for dark material. Yes, Dahl’s books are written for children, but much the same way the original Grimm’s Fairy Tales were written for children. Dahl has a dark vision which Roeg’s film brightened with a happier ending that isn’t part of the original book.  Anyone who has seen Pan’s Labyrinth knows del Toro is not afraid of the dark.

DelToro talked about the appeal of the book with Sci-Fi.com:

“Growing up, it was my favorite Dahl book. It was my favorite, because the witches represent adulthood. They represent the world. They represent all things that f–k up a kid. And I always thought it was great that the grandmother and the boy were essentially the same age and, therefore, were susceptible to witches that were in the guise of respectable old ladies. I thought Dahl has that subversive streak in him. It was there in his Unexpected tales, but it was also in his children’s books. And much like H.H. Munro, Dahl has a very definitely sophisticated point of view on what the children’s world is. That script is written. It’s budgeted and awaiting a green light.”

Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron (Y tu mamá también) will be the executive producer of the film which already has a screenplay by del Toro. Cuaron revealed the information in an interview this past weekend with Empire Online.

The Witches is about a boy and his grandmother who take on a worldwide group of witches who have developed a potion that turns children into mice. The Witches hate children and want to rid the world of them. The boy is turned into a mouse, but with the aid of his grandmother succeeds in turning the tables on the witches, feeding them their own potion.

Guillermo del Toro is certainly the right director for the material. He’s demonstrated time and again that his imagination has no bounds.