Del Toro's deals: Frankenstein, Jekyll and Hyde, Slaughterhouse-Five, Drood
Guillermo del Toro is set to be a busy man, not a busty man as I accidentally typed there. Apart from the upcoming The Hobbit films he has a first look deal with Universal that consists of a huge list of films, including four possible directing projects of which three are remakes.
There's Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Slaughterhouse-Five. The fourth project is based on a novel called Drood.
Of course there are other deals too, and that includes Guillermo del Toro's At the Mountains of Madness as well as some production deals including an adaptation of David Moody's Hater (Play.com / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com) novel and Crimson Peak which was a speculative script pitched by del Toro and Matthew Robbins of Mimic co-writing duties.
The interesting projects in the Variety article though are Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Slaughterhouse-Five.
I personally think that the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde story just got the best adaptation, and what Hollywood would call reimagining, ever. That was with the television mini-series Jekyll (LOVEFiLM / Play.com / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com). Douglas Mackinnon and Matt Lipsley brought to the screen Steven Moffat's hugely intelligent take on a modern day Jekyll, and it was superb. It was American beating television, and while I'm hugely disappointed it only ran for seven episodes, I'm also hugely glad it did. Wonderful stuff.
However del Toro says that he wants to return to the original work of Robert Louis Stevenson () and concentrate on the addictive side of becoming Jekyll. Thinking of del Toro's style I imagine that he will pitch it for the older time period and not modernise it.
Frankenstein has been done to death and what del Toro will really need to do there is bring some magic to the script and really make it new and fresh, if you'll pardon the pun, he'll have to bring it back to life. There have been many versions of the story to date, so I think it will be a difficult one to pull off well. Guillermo del Toro has always talked about making this film:
“To me, Frankenstein represents the essential human question: ‘Why did my creator throw me here, unprotected, unguided, unaided and lost?’...With that one, they will have to pry it from my cold dead hands to prevent me from directing it.”
Then there's the Slaughterhouse-Five remake, a classic I believe, and one that I haven't seen. The novel tells the story of a man who has become unstuck in time and we follow him through three different time periods, because he's living in all of them. Dresden during the second World War, modern day America, and in the future on some other world.
From what I've heard the film does well to capture the novel (Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com), but I've never seen it and it's just gone onto my must see list. Made in 1972 it may just be ripe for a remake, although you can see all those time periods changed to more modern day events – Iraq War anyone? Del Toro says of that:
“There are ways that Vonnegut plays with and juxtaposes time that was perhaps too edgy to be tackled on film at that time.”
He also has the Dan Simmons novel Drood (Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com) to adapt, that's the novel that takes the historical fact of Charles Dickens final years and final novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood (), and twines the two together to suggest that Dickens may have had a more sinister past than we would have thought, and that he led a terrible double life after being in a terrible train crash, leading him to the darkness of London and possibly murder.
They all look pretty interesting, but personally the Slaughterhouse-Five and Drood stories look to be the ones that would appeal to me, and del Toro's filmmaking, the most.