I am consistently annoyed by Guillermo del Toro, the trade news coverage of del Toro, and the importance that movie blogs seem to afford projects with which he’s attached. He’s a great director — at least when he’s working on Spanish-language films (Cronos, The Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth), but he’s only been an average one when it comes to English-language flicks (Hellboy, Hellboy 2 and the less than mediocre Mimic and Blade II). Yet, he’s allegedly one of the most sought after directors in Hollywood, despite the fact that his biggest box office success was the $82 million made by Blade II.
What’s even more annoying to me is how popular he has become during these last three years, a period in which he hasn’t made a single film, although his name has been attached as producer on a few stinkers like While She Was Out and the box-office failure Splice. For good measure, he was also attached as producer to Kung Fu Panda 2 and, as well as the forthcoming Puss in Boots. Why? I have no idea.
So why do we care so much about Guillermo del Toro? On a wide scale, what has he given us to demonstrate how great a director he is besides Pan’s Labyrinth? He spent two years working on The Hobbit before bolting, leaving Peter Jackson to pick up the pieces. What was the reason? According to del Toro, “The mounting pressures of conflicting schedules” became overwhelming. My question is this: What conflicting schedules? In the 14 months since he left The Hobbit, del Toro still hasn’t made a damn thing. All he has done is what he did before and during his time on The Hobbit, namely attach himself to projects he will probably never direct.
The one movie he has actually managed to put into motion is Pacific Rim, which Charlie Day, Idris Elba, and Charlie Hunnam are now attached to. Will it actually be made? I’d like to think so, but del Toro’s resume is littered with half-started projects and partially formed thoughts. Does he lack attention span? Is he lazy? Or is he just flaky? Is he more interested in putting his name out there than actually making a film? Or maybe, at this point, he’s afraid that he won’t live up to the reputation of a great director that he’s cultivated over the last three years.
The latest film he’s attached his name to, according to Coming Soon, is a Beauty and the Beast remake with Emma Watson in the lead. It’s in the early stages now, which is where almost all of del Toro’s projects remain. Will he actually make it? History doesn’t suggest as much. Taking Pacific Rim off the table, in the last few years, he’s been attached to direct (or produce) at least 21 films with which he hasn’t moved forward. That doesn’t mean he won’t at some point, but if he keeps piling on new projects, he’ll never get to any of the 21 below. At a certain point, one wonders if the “mounting pressures of conflicting schedules” is all in his head.
Here are the 21 projects he’s with which he’s been attached or is still attached.
1. Beauty and the Beast with Emma Watson
2. An adaptation of Drood, a Dan Simmons novel.
3. Another Frankenstein adaptation.
4. Another Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde adaptation.
5. Another version of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five.
6. A stop-motion remake of Roald Dahl’s The Witches
7. A movie based on the Oni Press comic book The Coffin
8. An adaptation of the Alexandre Dumas novel The Count of Monte Cristo called The Left Hand of Darkness.
9. Meat Market: A Love Story, about a deformed man who lives in the sewers under a meat market who falls in love with the meat market owners’ daughter.
10. Disney’s Haunted Mansion, in 3D.
11. An adaptation of Domu, a graphic novel created by Katsuhiro Otomo.
12. Another version of Van Helsing that once had Tom Cruise attached.
13. A move based on At the Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft.
14. The Hobbit
15. Hellboy 3
16. A 3D film called Trollhunters
17. A new “Hulk” TV series.
18. As producer and writer of a 3D stop-motion animation adaptation of Pinocchio.
19. Adapting the British TV series, “Champions.”
20. Pan, a re-imagining of J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan
21. As producer of Rodrigo Blaas’ animated short Alma.