Guillermo del Toro Talks PACIFIC RIM 2, New Characters in the Sequel, and His Schedule, Plus New Developments on AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS

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Guillermo del Toro’s always got a few projects bubbling in his cauldron, so it’s no surprise to find that a few of the more anticipated ones are in various stages of development.  We recently reported that he had been working on the Pacific Rim 2 script with Zak Penn, and would be returning to direct the sequel for an April 7, 2017 release date.  What’s more surprising is that his adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness is still a possibility, albeit a toned-down PG-13 version of what he originally had in mind.  That’s the price you pay for playing in the studio system.  Hit the jump for more on each film.

pacific-rim-guillermo-del-toro-charlie-hunnamDel Toro recently spoke to The Wall Street Journal about his upcoming television series The Strain, but the conversation ranged to his upcoming feature films as well.  Here’s what he had to say about the state of Pacific Rim 2;

Without spoiling anything, what can fans expect from “Pacific Rim 2″?

We are three years away, so to spoil anything would be fantastically silly of me. What I can tell you: [screenwriter Zak Penn] and I really went in, we started with [screenwriter Travis Beacham] about a year and a half ago, kicking ideas back and forth. And, admittedly, I said to Zak, let’s keep kicking ideas till we find one that really, really turns the first movie on its ear, so to speak. (…) It was hard to create a world that did not come from a comic book, that had its own mythology, so we had to sacrifice many aspects to be able to cram everything in the first movie. Namely, for example “the Drift”, which was an interesting concept. [Then there was] this portal that ripped a hole into the fabric of our universe, what were the tools they were using? And we came up with a really, really interesting idea. I don’t want to spoil it, but I think at the end of the second movie, people will find out that the two movies stand on their own. They’re very different from each other, although hopefully bringing the same joyful giant spectacle. But the tenor of the two movies will be quite different.

pacific-rim-rinko-kikuchi-guillermo-del-toroThough he previously said the sequel would center on Charlie Hunnam’s Raleigh Beckett and Rinko Kikuchi’s Mako Mori, it sounds like he’ll inject some new blood as well:

Do you plan on expanding the cast and adding new characters in “Pacific Rim 2″?

I’m hoping to bring the same idea I had in the first movie, that was to make it multicultural and humanistic as much as possible, to make characters from many nationalities or gender, to make them equal in the scope of the adventure, in the day-to-day of the adventure. So, we’re bringing a few characters that are new and hopefully doing good work managing those that survived the first movie. (laughs)

And with a release date set, here’s what del Toro’s schedule looks like over the next few months:

When do you expect production to start on “Pacific Rim 2″?

I start designing in six weeks. It takes me nine months to design a movie like that. People see the movie, and they have to see that we designed everything in the movie, from ID cards or patches, pamphlets, posters, signs, sets. I start with a core team for about six months designing the jaegers and the kaiju, you know, so we know how many kaiju, how many jaegers. We are creating some new jaegers and a lot of new kaiju. We start [designing the production] in August.

guillermo-del-toro-at-the-mountains-of-madnessAs for At the Mountains of Madness, del Toro explains the switch to PG-13 and why he’s more optimistic about getting the film made with Legendary/Universal:

With this support from Legendary, do you have any hope that your adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s “At the Mountains of Madness” will be made?

That’s exactly what I discussed with them. I said to them, that’s the movie that I would really love to do one day, and it’s still expensive, it’s still … I think that now, with the way I’ve seen PG-13 become more and more flexible, I think I could do it PG-13 now, so I’m going to explore it with [Legendary], to be as horrifying as I can, but to not be quite as graphic. There’s basically one or two scenes in the book that people don’t remember that are pretty graphic. Namely, for example, the human autopsy that the aliens do, which is a very shocking moment. But I think I can find ways of doing it. We’ll see. It’s certainly a possibility in the future. Legendary was very close to doing it at one point, so I know they love the screenplay. So, we’ll see. Hopefully it’ll happen. It’s certainly one of the movies I would love to do.

If it doesn’t work out, what are the chances we see (Lovecraft’s) Cthulhu appear as a kaiju in a “Pacific Rim” movie?

(laughs) Not really. I think there’s a really strong possibility we can do it (“At the Mountains of Madness”) at Legendary because now they are at Universal, and Universal, you may remember, almost greenlit the movie. The fact that we now have two studios together that love the material, and if they support each other, they are risking a lot less. It would be great to do it, but I’ve understood that you don’t plan your career, it just happens.

While I enjoyed Pacific Rim, it didn’t quite live up to my expectations.  That being said, I’d love the opportunity to revisit the world del Toro established in the first film.  What I’d love to see even more?  His vision of At the Mountains of Madness.  So let’s keep our fingers crossed for that one, even though it doesn’t exactly lend itself to a blockbuster franchise…

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  • Person

    This movie is getting made for Asian audiences, not for the US, so it’s gonna be more about what they want. Not meant as a criticism or an attack, just saying that I don’t really expect a deeper story or richer characterization. Not a dealbreaker though, I still liked the first one.

    • billi

      And the award for most passive aggressive internet comment of the day goes to………PERSON!!

      • Person

        Haha didn’t mean it that way, my bad.

      • billi

        It’s cool I just thought your comment was kinda funny. I completely agree with you on most of your points.

      • BigJimSlade

        I’m not sure you understand what passive-aggressive behavior is. Your comments come across more passive-aggressive than anything Mr. Person said…

    • Raptor Jesus

      I agree with you except about the liking the first one part. :)

      • Werefon

        You made me want to punch Jesus!

  • bidi

    del Toro talking about At the Mountains of Madness for like 90 fucking years is what made me seek out HP Lovecraft, and i’m glad i did. there are a couple scenes that would seem to necessitate an R rating, but look at how much gore is out there in PG-13 nowadays. look at how much gore is on tv! Hannibal, The Walking Dead, filled with it. he could probably keep his vision and keep it a hard PG-13

    • HORSEFLESH

      TV does not have the MPAA.

      • Werefon

        I am willing to put my cock in every MPAA members mouth, how can I do that?

        Fucking housewives and unemployed fuckers sitting there and watching films earlier than everyone and giving their thought on violence. Fuck them in the eyes. Stupid cunts and ShitEating FUUCKS!

        I feel better now!

        Sorry unknown random user.

      • milo

        No but broadcast TV has standards and practices which in many cases are stricter than PG-13 (for the most part no real nudity on TV but some can make it into PG-13). Hannibal is on NBC.

      • milo

        No but broadcast TV has standards and practices which in many cases are stricter than PG-13 (for the most part no real nudity on TV but some can make it into PG-13). Hannibal is on NBC.

  • Tyler

    I love Pacific Rim and I don’t care what anyone else says. I am stoked for a sequel.

  • Royale With Cheese

    I stand by what I said, No Jax Teller.

    • CJ

      If Hunnam died in the prologue and the whole movie was just Rinko Kikuchi in a tank top I would be very happy with that.

      • Werefon

        Jaeger heads need shower rooms as well in this case. That’s an upgrade worth the money!

  • Frank

    The problem with AtMoM is that once you take away all of the pages dedicated to reading murals and try to turn it into something more digestible as a movie, you just end up with The Thing. There’s a draft of the script floating around the internet (don’t know if it’s ever been truly confirmed its legit, but that seems to be the assertion), and that’s pretty much how it ends-up: the arctic research team is slowly separated and duped/murdered/assimilated by a shape-shifting alien.

    I like GDT, and I like Lovecraft, but Mountains works best as a short story, and any attempt to adapt it will likely just turn it into something we’ve pretty much already seen before. I think I’d rather see an adaptation of Call of Cthulu, or a mash-up of various Lovecraft stories like the oft-overlooked Dark Corners of the Earth PC game did.

    • Georce Johnson

      Lovecraft is all about people going insane at barely glimpsed horrors.
      Anyone think Del Torro is going to do have that kind of restraint? The only way I want to see Lovecraft get adapted is through short independent film.

      • agent777

        What about an anthology film? It’s a long shot though.

    • agent777

      I think it can work. But first you’d have to adapt some Lovecraft stories that set up the universe of ATMOM. I can see Mountains being a big WTF for most people. Del Toro should start with something like Chrales Dexter Ward or Shadow Over Innsmouth, before moving on to Cthulhu, and then to Mountains. Also keeping the running time down would help, if it’s overwrought and 2:30 minutes long it will simply be indulgent.

      I think the murals could be very effective. The murals could be visions seen by the scientist, I forget his name, who goes insane at the end. While the sane scientist can interpert them with a cool mind, the other may see them as a vision (given to him by the Old Ones maybe?), thus this also works to further why he snaps, seeing something from his vision as confirmation? Who know how Del Toro will do it.

      I also think that the structure and atmosphere are the deal breakers. It can be done, but the right method much be discovered by whoever does it… otherwise it will be another John Carter, and A+ effort with a C- result.

      I truly hope it’s good, I also hope other directors begin trying there hand at Lovecraft. They can work, it just requires directors of great vision and talent, and fiancees with the balls to back them.

    • Werefon

      But you will still watch it, don’t ya?

  • http://tarek-to-verso.over-blog.com/ tarek

    Guillermo, if you read me, try to put more heart in Pacific rim 2.

    • Werefon

      He will put more Hearts in it…..Ripped from Monsters Chests))))

      • http://tarek-to-verso.over-blog.com/ tarek

        But we need this time a vicious monster.

      • Werefon

        Yeah, but we had two already. Probably more to come since the universe is established.

  • http://tarek-to-verso.over-blog.com/ tarek

    Guillermo, if you read me, try to put more heart in Pacific rim 2.

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  • cuteview

    Pacific rim was a piece of shit… Next…

    • Werefon

      Everybody really care about your opinion…Next…

  • Colin Christian

    I have high hopes for ‘Mountains’ the story is just amazing,and I cannot think of another director more suited to the material. I would have liked an R too,but I can see PG13 working,it’s the weirdness we need to see on that,plenty of it,the Old Ones on the big screen please! ( that bit in Hellboy 2 doesn’t count)

    • MJ

      Your girlfriend’s head appears to be the size of a mountain.

      • Werefon

        Don’t judge him, she might give a good head. Who knows?

  • http://midnightmax.blogspot.com/ Travis Callaway

    The coveted PG-13… censorship in America is alive and thriving in Hollywood.

    • BigJimSlade

      You realize there isn’t much similar between a ratings system and censorship? How is a movie that is rated and released “censored”?

    • Bucky

      It’s not censorship, its dollars.

      • http://midnightmax.blogspot.com/ Travis Callaway

        For those paying attention, it’s both- you’ve just failed to make the connection. Del Toro couldn’t make the film he wanted to originally because big budgeted R-rated theatrical releases (Fantasy/Horror/Thrillers) are a thing of the past- heard anything about a sequel to Fincher’s remake of “Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” lately? Audiences aren’t going to see the films, thus studios and filmmakers edit the existing material for content, such as nudity, profanity, blood/gore, drugs/smoking, etc.,- that’s censorship. The goofball masses are eating it up by readily obliging. Wake up.

      • milo

        No, that’s still not censorship.

        He (and anyone else) is free to make any movie with any content he wants and nobody will stop him from releasing it.

        The problem is that he needs to find someone to PAY to make a big expensive movie. When someone else is paying the bill, their goal is to make a profit, not just hand out a blank check, so they get to call the shots which includes limiting the rating.

        Choosing to make a movie with a particular rating because that’s what allows the financing to happen isn’t censorship. It’s like I can paint a picture of a naked lady and nobody will stop me, but if I want to carve a giant naked lady into the side of a mountain and fail to get someone else to pay for it, that’s not censorship either.

        There are plenty of R rated movies that do well, just more comedies at this point. The problem is more about finding a big budget for fantasy/horror/thriller, especially in the case of horror those movies tend to have smaller budgets and be hits relative to their budgets anyway.

        As for Dragon Tattoo, I think that’s less about ratings and more about being a remake of a foreign version that people seemed pretty happy with. Seems like much of the audience for a film like that was happy with the original films and wasn’t really clamoring for a US remake.

      • milo

        And don’t forget Gone Girl from Fincher, another R rated thriller and I assume it has a decent budget.

      • http://midnightmax.blogspot.com/ Travis Callaway

        “There are plenty of R rated movies that do well…” – You’re obviously delusional, and part of the problem, but you’re allowed. Living in a vacuum must be divine.

  • Georce Johnson

    He needs to let someone else handle the “comedy”, because that sh!t in the first movie was painful. So on the nose I was wincing.

    • Werefon

      Did you went for a comedy or Monster vs. robots? Did you get monsters vs. robots?

      • milo

        If someone went to see monsters versus robots, that’s all the more reason to be annoyed with failed attempts at comedy. Don’t even put in comic relief unless you know it’s good material.

        That was one of my big complaints about the first Transformers movie as well (haven’t seen any of the sequels), I wanted a movie about big fighting robots and so much of the running time was idiotic humans making bad jokes. The biggest improvement would come from just editing the hell out of it and making it WAY shorter, just leave the action and the bare minimum in between.

      • Werefon

        Making it shorter might help at the box office, and if they cut this scenes and get to the next fight faster it will be improvement.

        My only complaint was that it took to long to get to the fight.

  • agent777

    Mountains will only work if Del Toro returns to the tone of Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth. I also think casting Cruise is a massive mistake. It will become simply a Cruise film and people will probably think it’s about Scientology. Cruise also doesn’t fit with a single character in the story. He can pull it off with a smaller budget too. He deffinetly should call in a favor from Peter Jackson. WETA and the mountains of New Zealand are essential.

    But in a perfect world Peter Jackson, David Lynch, Martin Scorsese and Christopher Nolan would be directing Lovecraft films.

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  • Batty Mystic

    Ah, PG-13, the mark of artistic compromise.

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  • Werefon

    My Uncle
    Harry says Fuck You to you and he can’t with to give you a Black Eye.

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