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.