The Shape of Water producer J. Miles Dale says he and director Guillermo del Toro are intrigued by Universal Studio's classic monster library, but have not yet discussed the making films for the studio's Dark Universe. Less than a week ago, The Shape of Water made movie history with all the awards it took home at the Oscars, including one for Best Picture. Inspired by del Toro's long fascination with the classic Universal monster movie Creature from the Black Lagoon, the film earned Dale and del Toro Oscars for producing the film, as well as Best Director for del Toro, Best Original Score and Best Production Design.
The historic win for the genre film comes about eight months after Universal launched its Dark Universe franchise with the reboot of The Mummy, starring Tom Cruise, which fell short of expectations at the domestic box office and eventually forced the studio to halt production on director Bill Condon's remake of The Bride of Frankenstein. Now, with the future of the Dark Universe in limbo, fans can only hope that filmmakers with enough clout and passion for the material can somehow step in and get the franchise back on track.
Speaking with Screen Rant prior to last week's Oscars, Dale talked about any potential interest he and del Toro have in taking over the Dark Universe if the opportunity presents itself. Dale said:
"We haven't really talked about it. I've made seven movies for Universal and know and love them well, and they're doing their own thing now after The Mummy. It's interesting, Guillermo actually pitched them a version of this movie (The Shape of Water), of a remake of Creature, but I think at a certain point when they heard that the girl and the monster get it on, they were like, 'OK, here's your parking validation. You can go now.' It's a very strong IP (intellectual property) for them and they're going to do whatever they want. It's such a bigger project (for them), but we haven't really talked about it. I know (Guillermo) has thoughts on all those movies. He's got thoughts on Frankenstein, he's had thoughts on Bride, and certainly he's not going to be remaking Creature from the Black Lagoon now, I feel he's done his version of that. But we haven't talked about it and certainly wish them luck."
While the "wish them luck" part of the comment seems to indicate a pass should Universal present an opportunity today, it's encouraging to know that del Toro still has "thoughts" on such classic monster movies as Frankenstein and The Bride of Frankenstein. Plus, given the fact that the industry has embraced the idea of movie monsters on the widest scale possible, perhaps Dale and del Toro will contemplate the idea now that awards season is over and he can get back to creating new films. Plus, with a Best Picture and Best Director win under his belt, del Toro should be able to choose whatever project he wants at this point.
With the idea out there, perhaps Dale and del Toro will find time to at entertain the conversation between the two of them, if not eventually with Universal. After all, del Toro was given the opportunity once before to tap into the studio's classic monster library (which he regretfully passed on), but now, with two Oscars and boatload of other awards including the top Directors Guild of America award, he can undoubtedly shape the creative direction of the film series in any way he sees fit.
The Shape of Water releases on DVD, Blu-ray, and 4K UltraHD on Tuesday, March 13.