Though there are a number of projects that filmmaker Guillermo del Toro has been attached to over the years, one of the biggest and most promising is Frankenstein. Mary Shelley’s novel is del Toro’s favorite book of all time, and he’s been very vocal about his passion for adapting the material. He’s spoken of plans to have Doug Jones fill the Monster role and there have been various updates every now and then, but del Toro has been so busy with other projects (At the Mountains of Madness, The Hobbit, Pacific Rim, etc.) that Frankenstein hasn’t yet come to pass.
Steve recently took part in an extremely lengthy and candid interview with del Toro on the set of his next film, Crimson Peak, and del Toro touched on his planned Frankenstein adaptation, revealing that Universal Pictures chairperson Donna Langley has approached him a few times about getting it going. Del Toro says he hasn’t made it yet because he’s “a chicken shit,” but added that when he does do Frankenstein (and also hopefully Bride of Frankenstein), he’ll drop everything else for three years to focus entirely on the monster pic. Hit the jump for more, including del Toro’s thoughts on how he would tackle a new Universal Monster Movie Universe.
Both Pacific Rim and Crimson Peak were made with Legendary Pictures, and del Toro looks to have found a solid fit for his genre material with the production studio, which is now housed at Universal Pictures. Given that Universal holds all the rights to the classic monsters, del Toro was asked on set if he’s been thinking about diving into some of those properties:
“I would love to. I mean, look, I would love to do Frankenstein and Bride, or Frankenstein for sure, but it really, Frankenstein has been—I’ve been really, really, afraid. Donna [Langley] has approached me a few times to start it now and I’m always like, you know, it’s like the dream project so I’m a little, I’m a chicken shit, you know? When I do it, I need to do it. Like, if I do Frankenstein, I literally would stop everything, and I’m going to a sabbatical of three years, just to write that. It’s not something that’s gonna just flow, like second nature. It’s my favorite book in history. [Laughs]”
When asked to clarify if he meant that he would do both Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein, del Toro answered, “Yeah, I would like to.” His current schedule is quite busy with finishing post-production on Crimson Peak, beginning pre-production on Pacific Rim 2, and firming up a small-scale film that he intends to shoot at the beginning of 2015, but one imagines he might start thinking about clearing his post-Pacific Rim 2 schedule if Universal is keen on getting Frankenstein going.
It was recently announced that screenwriters/producers Chris Morgan (Fast & Furious franchise) and Alex Kurtzman (Transformers, The Amazing Spider-Man 2) will be overseeing an interconnected series of Universal monster films for the studio. It’s unclear if del Toro knew of these plans during the time of this interview, but he offered his thoughts on the best way to tackle the Universal Monster Movie Universe:
“I think that it’s a great universe to develop. I personally think that they should all be period movies. I would love to see Creature from the Black Lagoon in Victorian England with the Victorian exploration, with a balloon and steam riverboats. I would love to see The Hunchback, Phantom, you know?”
With comic book movies all the rage at the moment, the superhero franchises are starting to bleed together. What better palate cleanser than a moody, period-set series of Universal Monsters films? Now that Legendary is under the Universal umbrella, hopefully del Toro and Legendary CEO Thomas Tull have at least some say in the creative direction of this new series of monster movies.