This year’s Pacific Rim is director Guillermo del Toro’s show of affection for the giant monster (Kaiju) genre, much like his upcoming feature, Crimson Peak, is a salute to the haunted house movies that used to be Hollywood’s bread-and-butter (before the age of found-footage horror and slasher remakes).
However, del Toro being the extreme multi-tasker he is, has started developing a sequel to Pacific Rim with screenwriter Travis Beacham (Dog Days of Summer, Clash of the Titans), in case the sci-fi- blockbuster proves a satisfactory hit – even as he prepares for shooting the pilot for FX’s The Strain later this year (based on the novel he co-wrote) and filming Crimson Peak during the early going of 2014.
Despite having a full docket, del Toro found time to sit down with Total Film for its magazine’s Summer 2013 preview edition. We have pooled some choice nuggets from that discussion, updating the status of post-production on Pacific Rim and sequel development, as well as additional information concerning the throwback approach to Crimson Peak.
Beacham’s story for Pacific Rim takes place in the somewhat-distant future, as ferocious creatures from another planet have entered our world through a portal in the depths of the ocean. In response, humanity constructs monsters of its own, in the shape of giant fighting machines called Jaegers, which are controlled through a combination of A.I. and human pilots, readying for the ultimate showdown.
On the current status of Pacific Rim, del Toro said:
“We’re 30 to 40 percent into the 3D conversion and that’s going really good. We’ve done 99 percent of all the animation of Industrial Light & Magic, and we have rendered and finished about 33 percent of the shots. So the big animation haul is basically over. We have about a dozen shots left to animate.”
The decision to post-convert Pacific Rim to 3D caused a ruckus, after del Toro had gone to such great lengths decrying the format, citing how it would miniaturize and, thus, reduce the majesty of shots featuring the Jaegers in motion. He relented after Legendary studio heads agreed to not “force 3D on the beauty shots” and take the proper amount of time to do the conversion (re: 40 weeks), but our staff has been concerned about the change-of-heart ever since – earning Pacific Rim a spot on our ’10 Riskiest Box Office Bets of 2013′.
If the film is a smash success, though, del Toro will already be prepared with the next installment:
“Travis [Beacham] and I have been working on it. We co-wrote the screenplay on [the first ‘Pacific Rim’], and now we’re hard at work at doing the second one. We want to take however long it takes to really find out the idea and try to bridge something that really makes the mythology roll… The great thing about Legendary is they’re willing to take it to completion in the right way. They’re giving us the leeway. Imagine that we’re generating the comic book. We’re learning more about the [Pacific Rim] world we’re creating day by day.”
Check out new concept art for Pacific Rim (via Total Film):
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Pacific Rim opens in theaters on July 12th, 2013.
While Pacific Rim is something del Toro has been putting together over the past couple years, Crimson Peak is based on a spec he co-wrote with Matthew Robbins (Mimic, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark) shortly after finishing Pan’s Labyrinth back in 2006.
Here’s what del Toro offered Total Film, when pressed for information:
“It’s the turn of the century. So it’s at the turn of the century and half of the movie takes place in America, and the other half takes place in a crumbling mansion in Cumbria [in England]. And basically it’s a ghost story and gothic romance, trying to subvert the rules of the usual gothic romance.
“It’s very much… the first half is a love story, then that love story turns darker. And it’s at the same time a ghost story… It’s sort of a very compelling version of the classic gothic romance, where you have the spookiness and the windswept landscape that dooms the characters, you know?”
The filmmaker is currently reworking the script with playwright Lucinda Clarkson, which comes as welcome news – seeing how, sorry to say, del Toro’s previous two collaborations with Robbins are generally considered the weakest entries on his resume (and not just for reasons of creative control problems and inexperienced directors using their scripts).
If all goes according to plan, Crimson Peak has the makings of something special, based on these latest comments and what del Toro has said in the past:
“… I’ve always tried to make big-sized horror movies like the ones I grew up watching. Films like The Omen, The Exorcist and The Shining, the latter of which is another Mount Everest of the haunted house movie. I loved the way that Kubrick had such control over the big sets he used, and how much big production value there was. I think people are getting used to horror subjects done as found footage or B-value budgets. I wanted [Crimson Peak] to feel like a throwback.”
More on Crimson Peak as the story develops.
Source: Total Film