Supernatural heroes, manga adaptations, and loving odes to Japanese monster movies were just a few of the topics Guillermo del Toro discussed with an audience of fans this past Saturday at the third annual Los Angeles Times Hero Complex Film Festival.
Following screenings of The Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth, two of his most iconic films, the ever-industrious del Toro chatted at length about several of his upcoming projects, including July’s anticipated release, Pacific Rim. He also talked about Monster, the screen rendition of Naoki Urasawa’s comic that he’s working on for HBO, and – perhaps most noteworthy – his potential treatment for DC’s Justice League Dark.
On the giant monsters/giant robots front, del Toro played a new Pacific Rim trailer for his audience, though the clip appears to have little new footage in it (largely revolving around Charlie Day’s scientist character) and mostly contains the same shots as the WonderCon trailer from earlier this year. (No word on whether or when the general public gets to see the trailer for themselves.)
The bigger announcements were those del Toro made pertaining to Justice League Dark and Monster. This isn’t the first time he’s mentioned either production – just a couple of months ago, he described working on Justice League Dark (previously referred to as Heaven Sent) as a “meeting with old friends,” and he initially brought up Monster toward the end of April of this year. But he had more information to share at the festival, specifically regarding who we can expect to see take the stage in Justice League Dark - that is, if the film even makes it off the ground.
Speaking to attendees, del Toro named Constantine, The Swamp Thing, Madame Xanadu, Deadman and Zantanna as the core members of the occult and otherworldly superhero team; he hinted at the involvement of other characters, but kept mum on their identities to keep from giving too much away and building expectations too high. Of course, that may not be a problem in the long run: Justice League Dark doesn’t even have a green light at present, so it’s currently just a possibility instead of a reality.
It could be that Warner Bros. is just waiting to see what del Toro has for them in terms of a screenplay, but no matter what, it’d be a shame to see this one slip away from him. He’s proven his hand at making non-traditional superheroes work on the big screen twice now with both of his Hellboy films, and if nothing else, Justice League Dark sounds like it falls well within the macabre, weird wheelhouse of those pictures. Hopefully, WB likes what del Toro is selling them – in the inevitable future glut of superhero team movies, Justice League Dark could be a refreshing, alternative tonic.
Monster, on the other hand, reads like a break from the creature-oriented fare Del Toro likes to busy himself with (though perhaps savvy readers can better speak to the tone of the manga). Rather than focus on a nightmarish beast, as the title suggests, Monster follows a Japanese surgeon who comes to believe that a young boy he saved in the past has grown up into a homicidal killer with genocidal intentions. Per del Toro, he only earned the Urasawa’s permission to adapt the manga after agreeing to provide the author with outlines for each episode of the first season; to that end, his chief aim in helming the show is respecting Urasawa’s vision. Again, Monster isn’t a sure thing, but given that del Toro just sent HBO his pilot script, we may find out about its chances sooner rather than later.
So continues del Toro’s ever-burgeoning work slate. Maybe all of this is for naught and neither Justice League Dark nor Monster will see the light of day, but anything del Toro makes tends to be worth seeing, so here’s hoping at least one of them manages to get the go-ahead for production. What do you think, Screen Ranters? Do these sound like worthy projects, or are you waiting for Pacific Rim before you decide?
Pacific Rim arrives in theaters on July 12th, 2013; we’ll keep you posted on updates about Justice League Dark and Monster as they become available.