Talking to the BBC to promote his just-released vampire virus novel The Strain
(co-authored with Chuck Hogan), director Guillermo Del Toro has also offered up a few titbits regarding his hotly-anticipated two-film adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit
, as well as taking the time to clarify the current status of the raft of literary-horror adaptations to which his name is attached.
Del Toro confirmed The Hobbit
will see Ian McKellen returning as Gandalf, with Andy Serkis reprising his role as Gollum, and Hugo Weaving once again donning pointy-ears and a stern expression for the part of chief-elf Elrond. And with the director now resident in New Zealand, it seems the project is keeping him more than busy; “We’ve been actively on it for a year. Writing, designing every day. At 9am we open the Hobbit office; 9am to 8pm we are working on the screenplay, afternoons are spent designing creatures at Weta.”
The Mexican director also shed some light on what is happening with film versions of a trio of classic horror stories which have been developed under his aegis. Of the latest incarnation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde
, Del Toro noted “I’m going to produce Jekyll & Hyde
, and help guide it. I will not direct it.”
But he is prepping his own vision of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
is my lifelong dream, one of my primal books in my life, and one of my primal monsters in my own mythology. I’m hoping I get to do that one.” And, having starred for Del Toro as the Pale Man in Pan’s Labyrinth
and Abe Sapian in Hellboy
, Doug Jones has been cast as the Creature.
However, with The Hobbit
set to keep the director busy for the next couple of years, you'd be ill-advised to hold your breath in anticipation of a Del Toro’s Frankenstein
, with the film-maker admitting “I’m not in a hurry. I want to develop it perfectly, and if I shoot it five years from now, six years from now, it’s fine by me. You have one shot in your lifetime at these things and I don’t want to do it the wrong way.”
Del Toro also struck a pessimistic note regarding his adaptation of H. P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness
. Despite penning a screenplay in collaboration with Lucasfilm veteran (and Mimic
scripter) Matthew Robbins some seven years previously, it seems the project is currently stalled; “There are many screenplays I have written that are looking for financing... I’ve been desperately trying to finance it and I can’t access the funds.”
Since Pan’s Labyrinth
, Del Toro has become a bit of a brand in his own right. His name was used as the key marketing tool for last year’s The Orphanage
(despite being only one of four credited producers on that project), while Hellboy II
attracted far more in-depth critical analysis than might otherwise have been expected for an effects-heavy actioner about a crimson Brad Friedal-lookalike. And when the first instalment of The Hobbit
emerges around Christmas time 2011, it will surely send the hirsute hombre global. But for all the anticipation, there's no getting away from the fact that we’ve all already numbed our backsides with ten hours of cinematic Middle Earth shenanigans and, with all the old faces returning, Del Toro’ll surely need to display more than a few new tricks in order to inject the saga with the requisite freshness.
Sources: BBC, Dark Horizons