Guillermo del Toro has confirmed that production on the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark movie adaptation will get underway later this week. Trollhunter and The Autopsy of Jane Doe filmmaker André Øvredal will be serving as director on the project, which is based on a script that del Toro cowrote.
While del Toro has been developing the Scary Stories movie since 2016, the big screen take on Alvin Schwartz's best-selling spooky stories collections (which were published in the 1980s and early '90s) has been in development since as far back as 2013. Writing duo Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton (the Saw franchise), as well as Tim Burton's frequent screenwriter John August (Big Fish, Frankenweenie) were among the creatives to work on the project before del Toro became attached, with the intention of potentially helming it (in addition to writing and producing). The task of directing ultimately went to Øvredal instead, yet del Toro remains very much actively involved in the movie's development.
In a response to a fan question posted on his Twitter account, del Toro confirmed that Scary Stories begins filming in Toronto "in a few days". This mostly lines up with a report published by GWW earlier this month that claimed Scary Stories would start production in Toronto by Monday, August 27 and conclude around the end of October. While Lionsgate has yet to set an official release date for the film, it's safe to assume at this stage that it's aiming for a late summer or fall 2019 theatrical bow (possibly closer to Halloween, to take advantage of the uptick in demand for horror-flavored entertainment).
Scary Stories will reportedly be based on a script that del Toro cowrote with Dan and Kevin Hageman (his collaborators on the Netflix fantasy series Trollhunters - no relation to Øvredal's similarly titled found-footage movie). According to a logline released for the film, Scary Stories follows a group of teenagers "who must solve the mystery surrounding sudden and macabre deaths in their small town". GWW's aforementioned report further claims that the movie takes place near either the late '60s or early '70s and features two leads: Stella (a young woman being bullied on Halloween night) and Ramon Morales (a young latino man fleeing the Vietnam War draft).
Assuming these details are correct, Scary Stories may follow the first Goosebumps movie's example and incorporate elements of Schwartz's short story collections, without strictly adapting any one single tale. However, it will probably be far less meta than that R.L. Stine adaptation (a movie that actually makes Stine and his Goosebumps novels key aspects of its story) and possibly a whole lot creepier, much like Schwartz's books and their freaky black-and-white illustrations by Stephen Gammell before it. Either way, the combination of Øvredal, del Toro, and Scary Stories sounds terrific and it's nice to know that, with filming about to get underway, more information should be arriving (very) soon.
We will bring you additional details on Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark as they become available.