Oscar-winning Scary Stories to Tell In the Dark writer-producer Guillermo del Toro says he is done making comic book movies. Long before snagging two Academy Awards for The Shape of Water, del Toro had already established himself as one of independent cinema’s most truly original genre directors through movies like Cronos, The Devil’s Backbone and later the widely acclaimed Pan’s Labyrinth.
But of course, del Toro has also often dabbled in big budget filmmaking, with very mixed results. Del Toro’s first big studio job, directing the horror film Mimic, actually turned into a nightmare thanks to studio meddling. But Del Toro kept coming back to the studio realm, directing the original Hellboy and its sequel Hellboy: II: The Golden Army, as well as the Marvel comic book movie Blade II. Del Toro’s biggest budgeted film was of course the $190 million sci-fi action movie Pacific Rim, which took in $411 million at the global box office. Along the way del Toro has been attached to other potential big studio projects, most notably the long-rumored Justice League Dark, which ultimately went nowhere as Warner Bros. elected to focus on the DCEU.
Certainly, del Toro now finds himself in a unique position, as a man who makes personal films that receive critical accolades, who can also cross over into the world of big budget filmmaking. However, the director now says there is one big budget genre he has entirely lost interest in. Speaking to ET at his recent Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony, del Toro said he is finished with comic book movies because, in his words, he's more into monsters. Del Toro said:
"I wanted to do Justice League Dark [with] DC very, very much, but it didn't happen. When I was doing the Hellboy movies or Blade, you know, they were counter to [how] everything was being done. And so it was fun to break the rules there, you know, and I try not to do them the way they would've been done by anyone else. I think that Justice League Dark was attractive …because they're all monsters... But I was never a superhero guy. I like monsters."
Indeed, del Toro proved his love of monsters over superheroes even in his comic book movies, taking on the unconventional Hellboy, whose lead character is literally a demon, as well as Blade II which involves vampires and as a result is much darker than your standard comic book fare. Clearly, the disappointment of having Justice League Dark go nowhere soured del Toro on the studios’ attitudes toward comic book movies, which have become huge business and as a result have definitely become more safe and formulaic since the days of Hellboy and Blade II.
Having successfully brought a monster to life and made him into a strangely sympathetic figure in Shape of Water, the movie that won him a Best Director Oscar, it’s obvious that del Toro’s heart is in the realm of fantasy and horror, and it seems that’s where he’ll stay from now on. Indeed, the filmmaker’s next film is the horror movie Scary Stories to Tell In the Dark, on which he served as writer and producer. Given where his heart lies, and the track record he’s already put together as a teller of strange tales of monsters and the supernatural, del Toro is clearly making the right call by leaving comic book films and superheroes behind.
- Scary Stories to Tell In the Dark (2019) release date: Aug 09, 2019