Guillermo del Toro is officially the busiest director in Hollywood today. A few years ago he was known merely to film buffs – those not averse to reading subtitles while watching their movies. In 2006 he came out with the Oscar-winning masterpiece Pan’s Labyrinth, and suddenly the sci-fi/fantasy-loving mainstream folk were paying attention to the del Toro who’s first name isn’t Benicio.
Those who check film credits as part of their movie-watching routine know that prior to Pan’s Labyrinth Guillermo helmed the excellent and under-talked-about Hellboy (and, of course, its sequel, The Golden Army). He’s went from being known simply by the more avid fan, to getting the full attention of film fans everywhere, particularly when Peter Jackson handpicked him to helm the upcoming two-part adaptation of The Hobbit, arguably the most anticipated film project of any that’s upcoming.
On top of The Hobbit – which is going to be one time-consuming, exhaustive challenge to say the least (just think about the pressure he’s under to “get it right”) – he also has found the time to plan and start writing a trilogy of vampire novels, has a four-picture deal with Universal to make a Frankenstein movie, an adaptation the classic novel Slaughterhouse-Five, a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde movie, and an adaptation of the vampire novel Drood. After that, Universal hopes to pin him down for his “pet project” At the Mountains of Madness. To put it simply: He’s booked solid until at least 2017.
Most directors don’t even know what their next movie is, never mind what they’ll be juggling eight years down the line…
Even with the amount of stuff del Toro has on his plate, he still finds the time to do interviews to let us eager fans in on what’s he’s up to and how far he is along with the stuff he has upcoming. In an interview with Wired, del Toro talked about various different things including his movies up until this point, his upcoming mammoth-project The Hobbit and other future works, and the nature of future storytelling.
In talking about his vampire novels (planned as a trilogy), del Toro reveals it wasn’t originally intended to be in book form:
“I originally wrote a very long outline for a TV series I wanted to do called ‘The Strain.’ And then the network president at Fox said to me, ‘We do want something with vampires-but could you make it a comedy?’ Obviously, I responded, ‘No thank you’ and ‘Can I have my outline back?’”
Del Toro talked about how some people view him because of his love for genre cinema:
“People think because you love genre [cinema] you don’t know anything else. It’s condescending. If the emotion is provoked and the goals are achieved, what does it matter? Is Thomas Pynchon a more worthy read than Stephen King? It depends on the afternoon.”
“With Pan’s Labyrinth and The Devil’s Backbone, which is a less well-known film, I was trying the same thing, in a way. And with my first feature, the vampire fable Cronos, too. I tried to take genre premises and explore them obliquely, where the fantastic is either tangential or illuminates reality in a different way.”
In talking about his busy work schedule for the next 10 years (basically), he made mention how we experience entertainment is going to change:
“In the next 10 years, we’re going to see all the forms of entertainment-film, television, video, games, and print-melding into a single-platform “story engine.” The Model T of this new platform is the PS3. The moment you connect creative output with a public story engine, a narrative can continue over a period of months or years. It’s going to rewrite the rules of fiction.”
“Think about the way oral tradition became written word-how what we know about Achilles was written many, many years after it made its way around the world with different names and different types of heroes. That can happen when you allow content to keep propagating itself through different kinds of platforms and engines-when you permit it to be retold with a promiscuous form of mythology. You see it when people create their own avatars in games and transfigure their game worlds.”