While Guillermo del Toro has turned down a lot of high profile projects throughout his career, the chance to work with Universal's Monsters is the only one he truly regrets. del Toro is currently promoting his latest movie The Shape Of Water, a fairy tale style love story revolving around a woman who falls in love with a fish creature. The Shape Of Water has already received rave reviews, with some critics calling it the best film of the director’s career.
The director often goes back and forth between high profile studio movies like Hellboy and smaller, more personal projects like Pan’s Labyrinth. Guillermo del Toro has famously been attached to or offered large movies in the past, only to turn them down or leave to focus on other projects instead. In the past he’s rejected Harry Potter and the Prisoner Of Azkaban, The Wolverine, Thor, I Am Legend, Man Of Steel and many, many others. He even walked away from Pacific Rim: Uprising to focus on The Shape Of Water.
While the above projects all went on to become big hits, del Toro has no regrets about them, though he revealed in a TimesTalks interview that there is one project he wishes he had taken on. The director’s love for classic monsters like the Frankenstein creature and The Creature From The Black Lagoon is well known, and Universal actually approached him about heading up a new series of films based on their monsters around a decade ago:
I’ve said no to things that are enormous and I’ve never looked back, you know? The only time I repent I didn’t do something was in 2007, when Universal in an incredibly gentle and beautiful manner said do you want to take over the Monster Universe? And they gave me the reins of several properties, and I didn’t do it. That I repent. So this is a confessional moment, I repent. That’s the only thing.
It’s worth noting that Universe’s recent attempt to launch their Dark Universe - a series of interconnected adventures featuring creatures like The Mummy and The Invisible Man - had nothing to do with del Toro’s approach. Had the director taken up the studio’s offer, his take would have been to make faithful, period-accurate adaptations of the source material. The director actually spent a few years developing a new version of Frankenstein, but that project has seemingly stalled.
It seems Universal may have now abandoned their plans for the Dark Universe, following the underperformance of The Mummy. Despite being a glossy blockbuster starring Tom Cruise, the film attracted mainly poor reviews and didn’t pull in the box-office numbers to justify another adventure. The planned second movie - Bill Condon’s Bride Of Frankenstein - was recently put on hold, and there’s no sign of it moving forward in the near future.
It’s also unlikely del Toro will be tempted back to the Universal's Monster Universe either; he’s currently taking a year out from filmmaking while promoting The Shape Of Water, and his next planned assignment is the James Cameron produced remake of Fantastic Voyage.
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