Guillermo del Toro's returns to the director's chair after a five-year absence in this summer's Pacific Rim, featuring Sons of Anarchy fan-favorite Charlie Hunnam in a starring role. The duo are currently planning a second collaboration, on a haunted house project titled Crimson Peak (which del Toro plans to make his next film).
We learned earlier this week that Emma Stone (Amazing Spider-Man) is closing a deal to play the female lead in Crimson Peak, with production slated to begin early next year. Hunnam is presumably eying the (romantic?) foil to Stone's character, in a story that del Toro describes as his first foray into horror since Mimic in 1997.
Specific plot details remain a secret, but del Toro has likened Crimson Peak to the old-school haunted house films that rely heavily on set design for atmosphere and used to be Hollywood's bread-and butter (before the era of found-footage and polished remakes, that is). The filmmaker posted on his official message board back in December, revealing the project takes place at the turn of the century and explaining why he considers the project his first "scary" movie in a while:
This is my first foray into horror since Sci-Fi/Horror Mimic. [The Devil's Backbone] was more of an essay on ghosts than a ghost story and, except as producer, I have not returned to scary stuff in a long time. Glad you guys are jazzed. So am I!!
Variety is confirming that Hunnam has entered negotiations to join Stone and del Toro on Crimson Peak, with a February 2014 start date planned (to allow del Toro time to first direct FX's The Strain pilot). Meanwhile, del Toro is revising the script with Lucinda Coxon (The Heart of Me, The Crimson Petal and the White), working from a spec that he co-wrote with Matthew Robbins (Mimic, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark) shortly after completing Pan's Labyrinth some 8-9 years ago now.
Guillermo del Toro on the set of 'Hellboy II: The Golden Army'
Hunnam has the perfect modern masculine presence (macho, yet vulnerable) that makes him leading man material, but his lack of experience is another reason why Pacific Rim is among this year's biggest financial gambles. Crimson Peak has "insurance" in the form of newly-established A-lister Stone, should del Toro's sci-fi blockbuster fail at projecting Hunnam to greater career heights. WB is hopeful for a Pacific Rim sequel and was considering Hunnam to play the new Tarzan; that's to say, the tide's moving in his favor right now.
It'll be a nice change-of-pace, seeing del Toro make headlines for a finished movie with Pacific Rim (be they good or bad). That's after enduring a few years' worth of stories concerning the filmmaker's abandoned visions (The Hobbit) or projects that were teetering on the edge of production when cut down (At the Mountains of Madness). Hopefully, the end results - including, the other gestating del Toro ventures - justify the wait.
In the meantime, we'll keep you posted on Crimson Peak.