The winner of the 2018 Academy Award for Best Director (The Shape of Water), Guillermo del Toro has made a habit of getting attached to high-profile projects. The Mexican director is best known for blending fantastical concepts, extravagant design, and high genre with fable-like care, churning out singular works such as Pan's Labyrinth and Blade II. Naturally enough, his name seems to always be in the mix when news of an offbeat adaptation breaks.
Despite having written and directed numerous projects that made it to the screen, del Toro's also gone public with many original scripts that have yet to make their way into production. It's easy to get excited for a del Toro Pinocchio adaptation, or a Beauty and the Beast remake, but some of the lesser-known properties on his list are just as appealing.
- Photo: Modern Library/Amazon
Famed "weird fiction" pioneer H.P. Lovecraft is probably best known today for the rabid fandom around his character Cthulhu. But it's his novella At the Mountains of Madness, first published in 1936, that's served as the basis for one of del Toro's most notorious unrealized projects. Narrated by Dr. William Dyer, Lovecraft's novella tells the story of an exploratory trip to Antarctica leading to the discovery of an unexplored city that's home to a strange alien species. Guillermo del Toro has reportedly worked on various iterations of the script for more than two decades now, obsessively tweaking the character designs all the while.
Whether the script will ever get made remains a mystery, but the critical reception and box office success of The Shape of Water could prove helpful with getting the project off the ground. The passionate online fervor that's grown for the film since Shape and del Toro's Best Picture/Best Director wins shouldn't hurt, either.689Would you watch this?
The first del Toro script to clearly receive a bump from his Oscar win, Pinocchio is finally on its way at Netflix. The creator fought for the project for years, only to have it stall. Reportedly, his version of the classic story of a wooden doll who longs to become a real boy will be much darker than its famed Disney 2D predecessor - and will be done entirely in stop-motion. Based on the 19th-century novel by Carlo Collodi and set to be co-directed with Mark Gustafson (who worked on Fantastic Mr. Fox), del Toro's Pinocchio will take the wide-eyed doll to Mussolini-era Italy, where the political overtones will be peppered with musical numbers.
Given Netflix's track record with major directors (notably, Alfonso Cuaron and his film Roma), fans have more hope than ever that they'll see one of del Toro's passion projects finally come to life.7919Would you watch this?
The Buried GiantPhoto: Knopf/Amazon
There hasn't been much news about this film adaptation of the Kazuo Ishiguro novel of the same name, The Buried Giant. Ishiguro, who was the last to win the Nobel Prize for Literature before controversy put the award on hold, sold the rights to super-producer Scott Rudin shortly after its 2015 release. Given the novel's subject matter, del Toro was an obvious choice to pen the screenplay. Set in the fifth century, it tells the story of an elderly couple whose search for their missing child is beset by monsters.
Whether it makes its way to the development stage remains to be seen, but Ishiguro's stature and history with adaptations (The Remains of the Day, Never Let Me Go) ought to give fans hope.395Would you watch this?
- Photo: Warner Bros.
Few children's authors have the penchant for dark material that typifies Roald Dahl's work, populated as it is by creepy giants, bug-infested overgrown peaches, witches, and more. Details on del Toro's take on the author's 1983 novel are relatively scarce, though he reportedly aimed to craft a stop-motion version of The Witches with some production help from fellow Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron.
While the novel has been adapted once before in live action, Dahl's work is no stranger to stop-motion takes, as both his James and the Giant Peach and Fantastic Mr. Fox received the treatment. Whether the live-action version's famed grotesquerie would translate to the stop-motion format is unknown, but having del Toro involved makes it more likely.
The latest version of The Witches transitioned into Robert Zemeckis's hands, with del Toro and Cuaron set to stay on as producers.5120Would you watch this?