Guillermo del Toro Says They’re Writing the First Season of THE STRAIN Before Filming; Calls CRIMSON PEAK His “First Adult Movie in the English Language”

by     Posted 288 days ago

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It’s been five long years since Guillermo del Toro has directed a film, but if all goes according to plan, he’s about to enter into a very prolific period in the near future.  His large-scale “robots vs. monsters” movie Pacific Rim opens this Friday, and del Toro has already lined up his next two projects following the massive tentpole.  He’s directing the pilot for the FX series adaptation of del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s book series The Strain this fall, and then early next year he starts production on his next feature film, a “classical gothic romance ghost story” called Crimson Peak.

Steve recently sat down for a lengthy, exclusive interview with del Toro at his house in anticipation of the release of Pacific Rim, and during the course of the conversation the filmmaker discussed The Strain, Crimson Peak, and even his next feature film after Peak.  Del Toro revealed that they’re writing the entire first season of The Strain before filming begins, and he describes Crimson Peak as his “first adult movie in the English language,” as he aims to make a proper R-rated adult feature.  Del Toro also noted that it looks like he already has his next project after CP ready to go.  Hit the jump for so much more.

the-strain-guillermo-del-toro-book-coverWhile it’s exciting to know that del Toro will be intricately involved with the TV series adaptation of The Strain—which centers on a team of scientists who wage war against an ancient strain of virus that confers vampirism—obviously he can’t be on the set for the entirety of the show.  He has already assembled a fantastic cast that includes Corey Stoll, John Hurt, and Mia Maestro, and he talked to Steve about the nature of his involvement with the series going forward:

“Chuck [Hogan] and I co-wrote the pilot, which I’m directing, I cast the series, and I go and rewrite and make my notes and collaborate with every single screenplay in the series.

We’re doing something that is not normal.  We created a writer’s room, [and] I’ve been there from the beginning laying out the first season, and I am involved in every one of those screenplays of the first season, which we are writing before we shoot the series.  Normally a series is shot in such a way that you’re getting the screenplay under the door the morning before you shoot the next episode.  We’re mapping the first season completely so I can be involved.  And I’ll be involved in the shooting of the first few chapters, the first probably four or five as an on-set producer, and then Crimson Peak shoots and I cannot be physically there.”

It has previously been announced that, should FX pick del Toro’s pilot up to series, Lost co-showrunner Carlton Cuse will stay onboard The Strain as the principal showrunner while del Toro remains involved as a producer.  However, the notion of overseeing the writing of every single script before filming begins means that the entirety of The Strain will maintain del Toro’s stamp of approval.  This is indeed an atypical process, as most series are run by penning the scripts for each episode at the same time as the production of the show is running.

crimson-peak-guillermo-del-toroAs for Crimson Peak, del Toro is poised to begin production on the feature film early next year, and he told Steve that the pic will mark del Toro’s first “adult” film in the English language:

Crimson has Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska, Benedict Cumberbatch, Charlie Hunnam, and an actor I admired that I saw on Justified and Deadwood, Jim Beaver—amazing actor.  There’s some casting [left], Burn Gorman from Pacific Rim is coming in and doing a cameo.  But basically what it is is a really, really, almost classical gothic romance ghost story, but then it has two or three scenes that are really, really disturbing in a very, very modern way.  Very, very disturbing, it’s a proper R rating.  And it’s adult.

It’s my first adult movie in the English language.  Normally I wanted to divide my more adult work for Spanish-language, and my more sort of youth-oriented or fun genre stuff in English.  This is the first time I’m gonna try to do an adult R-rated movie in the English language.”

guillermo-del-toro-crimson-peakThe prospect of seeing something along the lines of The Devil’s Backbone or Pan’s Labyrinth from del Toro again is exciting enough, but throw in the stellar cast and the promise of a gothic romance, and Crimson Peak is shaping up to be one hell of a Pacific Rim follow-up.

Additionally, del Toro noted that it’s looking very likely that he already has his next film after Crimson Peak lined up:

Crimson shoots rather fast for my standards, in 70 days.  Hellboy took 135 days, Pacific Rim 103.  I normally don’t shoot any shorter than that.  Cronos was 40 days, The Strain is gonna be 20 days [for the pilot].  I’m going from a much larger format to a smaller format, different vibe.  I think that when we finish Crimson, it seems like the next movie is already ready after Crimson.  I won’t announce it because we have not closed, but it looks like the next one’s gonna go right away.”

Watch the portion of Steve’s interview with del Toro regarding The Strain, Crimson Peak, and more below, followed by a partial transcript.  Look for Steve’s full interview with del Toro on Collider soon.

If you missed what del Toro had to say about the “unlikely” prospect of Hellboy 3 ever getting made, click here.

guillermo-del-toroCollider: You’re directing the pilot of The Strain.  How involved will you be after the pilot?

GUILLERMO DEL TORO: First of all, when I do something I’ve learned the good way and the hard way that I need to be involved in everything.  You can blame me for something you don’t like. In a movie you don’t like of mine, in a DVD that is not to your standards, in a collectible, I’m involved in everything.  I approve the collectibles, I approve the toys, I approve the DVDs, I approve everything.  I don’t approve t-shirts or bandanas or key rings (laughs), I don’t get that, but with the big key collectibles I get involved, and the same with the movies.  So in the series, Chuck [Hogan] and I co-wrote the pilot, which I’m directing, I cast the series, and I go and rewrite and make my notes and collaborate with every single screenplay in the series. 

We’re doing something that is not normal.  We created a writer’s room, [and] I’ve been there from the beginning laying out the first season, and I am involved in every one of those screenplays of the first season, which we are writing before we shoot the series.  Normally a series is shot in such a way that you’re getting the screenplay under the door the morning before you shoot the next episode.  We’re mapping the first season completely so I can be involved.  And I’ll be involved in the shooting of the first few chapters, the first probably four or five as an on-set producer, and then Crimson Peak shoots and I cannot be physically there.

I definitely wanna ask you about Crimson Peak.  Obviously a lot of casting has been announced.  What can you tell people about it and who have you cast, and is there more casting still to come?

pacific-rim-guillermo-del-toro-2DEL TORO: Crimson has Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska, Benedict Cumberbatch, Charlie Hunnam, and an actor I admired that I saw on Justified and Deadwood, Jim Beaver—amazing actor.  There’s some casting [left], Burn Gorman from Pacific Rim is coming in and doing a cameo.  But basically what it is is a really, really, almost classical gothic romance ghost story.  But then it has two or three scenes that are really, really disturbing in a very, very modern way; very, very disturbing, it’s a proper R rating.  And it’s adult.  It’s my first adult movie in the English language.  Normally I wanted to divide my more adult work for Spanish-language, and my more sort of youth-oriented or fun genre stuff in English.  This is the first time I’m gonna try to do an adult R-rated movie in the English language.

Crimson shoots rather fast for my standards, in 70 days.  Hellboy took 135 days, Pacific Rim 103.  I normally don’t shoot any shorter than that.  Cronos was 40 days, The Strain is gonna be 20 days [for the pilot].  I’m going from a much larger format to a smaller format, different vibe.  I think that when we finish Crimson, it seems like the next movie is already ready after Crimson.  I won’t announce it because we have not closed, but it looks like the next one’s gonna go right away.




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