Fan-favorite director Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth) is one of the busiest filmmakers working today. Soon after del Toro dropped out of directing The Hobbit, which he developed with Peter Jackson, it was announced that he would join DreamWorks Animation as a consultant on their animated film projects including executive producing Kung Fu Panda 2, and the Shrek spin-off Puss in Boots.
He has also been developing a live-action adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness with director James Cameron (Avatar), and a giant monster-movie called Pacific Rim. Not to mention, there have been rumors that he is planning on making his own version of the classic monster-movie Frankenstein for Universal, as well as a possible third installment of the popular Hellboy franchise. When you factor in the director's literary work, a popular series of vampire novels including "The Strain" and "The Fall," you have to agree ... Guillermo del Toro is the hardest workingman in show business!
We caught up with director Guillermo del Toro today at a luncheon celebrating DreamWorks Animation's 2011 film slate. We took the opportunity to speak with the popular director about his busy career and his upcoming projects. Here is what he had to say:
Now that you are involved with DreamWorks Animation as a consultant and an executive producer on some of their projects, where does that leave the live-action films that you have been developing including "Pacific Rim?"
Guillermo del Toro: I've been involved with DreamWorks for at least the last seven months, so I've been able to compartmentalize it very well and fruitfully. I think that Jeffrey (Katzenberg) understands that my influence on my work with them is absolutely a passion for me but I do have a live-action career too. So I haven't had any problems.
Are you working on "Pacific Rim" now while you are consulting on the DreamWorks Animated projects?
Guillermo del Toro: Yeah, while I was executive producing Puss in Boots, I was creative consulting on Kung Fu Panda 2 and briefly on MegaMind, executive producing another two projects for them and writing those. At the same time I was in visual development on At the Mountains of Madness, developing a visual bible for Pacific Rim, and finishing the third novel of "The Strain" series, so he knows that I am a workaholic. I wake up really early and I go to bed really late. I really find that it's a paradox but being like this has been my way ever since the beginning. When I was doing, for example The Devil's Backbone, I was also developing the visual bible for Blade 2, and finishing scripts for Mephisto's Bridge, The Count Of Monte Cristo, and The List Of Seven. I have always been like that. When people ask, well isn't that hard? I say no, the only way that I can concentrate is if I diversify. I have known this since I was a kid.
How is pre-production on "Pacific Rim" going?
Guillermo del Toro: Good, we have been in pre-production for six months because we were developing it for me as a producer. So I was developing the visual bible for that.
When do you hope to start shooting?
Guillermo del Toro: September.
Are there any plans at this time for a third "Hellboy" movie?
Guillermo del Toro: There are no plans at all.
Are you still interested in directing your own version of "Frankenstein" for Universal?
Guillermo del Toro: Well you know we are going to have a meeting about it next week to see what they are thinking about it. We have a very cordial relationship and I understand perfectly that, as disappointing as it was, Mountains was a hard decision for them and purely a financial one. I'm sympathetic to that. But as a director I have to keep pursuing it.
Finally, just to follow up on something you said, are you now planning on pitching "At the Mountains Of Madness" to other studios?
Guillermo del Toro: A hundred percent I'll try, yeah. We at least partially control the movie along with Don Murphy and Jim Cameron, so with a little bit of luck we will find good terms to get it back from Universal. I think Universal has expressed their desire to stay involved if they can. It was a decision of time and money. It was not the right time and it is a lot of money. I'm not a "Pollyanna" that thinks that movies are just made with hopes. But as a director I've got to be rational. I've got to just keep going. I think that I am very, very aware that in an equation that included Tom Cruise and James Cameron, I am box office-wise the weakest link in the equation. So hopefully with a little luck they will find me a little more useful next time.