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.
Del 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.
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.
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…