At any given point, Guillermo del Toro’s name is attached, or rumored to be attached, to tons of different projects that may or may not ever come to fruition. A quick scan of his IMDb Pro listing him attached to two dozen upcoming or in-development projects, including DC’s Dark Universe, the may-never-happen Hellboy 3, and a sequel to Pacific Rim, in spite of the first one still being six months away. One movie we haven’t heard much about in a long time is an adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five. Now del Toro sounded off to let the world that Slaughterhouse-Five might still happen…but don’t expect it anytime soon.
Adapting Vonnegut’s classic into a movie is a challenging prospect, to say the least. The protagonist, Billy Pilgrim, becomes “unstuck in time,” so the story constantly leaps back and forth throughout his life. Talking to the Huffington Post, del Toro says he was hoping to get the film up and running in recent years, but he then got sidetracked by Pacific Rim. He definitely had a good pick for who he wanted to writer it: Charlie Kaufman, screenwriter of movies such as Adaptation and Being John Malkovich. “I spoke to Charlie Kaufman about it and we came up with an idea on how to approach it, which I thought was very, very interesting,” says del Toro.
While some might consider the jumbled timeline of the book the hardest part to get right, that element is precisely what attracted del Toro to it in the first place.
What is gorgeous about the book is that [Billy] becomes detached from time … The Tralfamadoians [the aliens from the book] say, ‘Like we can see a mountain range. We can see the alive, we can see the dead, we can see ourselves at age five and we can see ourselves ancient. It makes no difference.’ It makes no difference. And that was the idea that we were talking about. We were talking about how it was going to be very experimental. But, you know, if I had the money to pay for any of these movies, I would do it. I would do it in a second.
While del Toro’s plate is definitely full, he still has hope that Slaughterhouse-Five will come together eventually.
It may still happen. But, I don’t control the material. Let me put it this way: when I control the material, I never give up on a movie. I mean, The Count of Monte Cristo was 15 years. Devil’s Backbone took me a decade or more. But, if I don’t control the material, I have no say. It’s a property of Universal.
Slaughterhouse Five was previously made into a movie in 1972, directed by George Roy Hill. If anybody is going to take another stab at the material, del Toro is a solid candidate for the job.