Guillermo del Toro got to share some exciting news last month with the announcement that Pacific Rim 2 was officially happening, and even had a release date set for April 7, 2017. This Sunday he begins haunting the small screen with his new vampire horror series The Strain on FX. Anybody who follows del Toro’s work knows that the dude has at least two dozen different irons in the fire at any given time, but a new interview with the Wall Street Journal provides a few more details about the Pacific Rim animated series and one of del Toro’s longest-gestating projects, an adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness.
The initial announcement about Pacific Rim 2 included only a brief mention of the Pacific Rim animated series, but thankfully the Wall Street Journal folks pried a few more details out of him. The ‘toon will follow the adventures of Jaeger pilots and cadets battling the kaiju in the years before the events of Pacific Rim. The animated series will also delve into the backstory of characters we will eventually meet in Pacific Rim 2.
Here’s what del Toro told Collider:
We are right now in the middle of talking and negotiating with a few Japanese companies for the animation. We are talking to a couple of showrunners that have a strong animation background, [we’re] casting the writers room. What’s great is it’s a great set-up and a link between the first movie and the second movie. It really enhances the mythology of the characters; we have cameos of characters from the first movie, but mostly it’s a new set of characters. New jaegers, except for one or two, [and] new kaijus. It’s really fun…
We’re going for a long arc, so the idea is to show a group of characters — we have pilots, functional jaegers, but we have all these younger characters. I really want to explore things that are complimentary to the things that I want to explore in the second movie: drift, what drifting does to you, what is needed to drift, a lot of stuff that I think is important, but also the jaeger technology, the kaijus being evolved, ideas about the precursors—the guys that control the kaijus. We have a lot of leeway in 13 episodes and I wanna make it sort of in the same spirit of Pacific Rim, which is the ideal audience for Pacific Rim was young — very young, 11-year-olds and so forth — but with really beautiful design and stories that make these characters interesting in a way that I found them interesting in, for example, Year Zero, the graphic novel that we did. And I think that’s the basic thrust of the thing.
Pacific Rim stories will also continue in comic form, following up on the Tales from Year Zero comic.
And then there’s At the Mountains of Madness. Del Toro has been trying to mount (ahem) the Lovecraft adaptation since 2006, when he co-wrote a screenplay with Matthew Robbins (Mimic), but Warner Bros. balked at the price. In March 2011, it nearly got the greenlight from Universal, but del Toro wanted it to be an R-rated project, rather than the more box-office-friendly PG-13. Apparently del Toro has become a bit more flexible when it comes to the rating. He told the WSJ:
I think I could do it PG-13 now, so I’m going to explore it with [Legendary], to be as horrifying as I can, but to not be quite as graphic. There’s basically one or two scenes in the book that people don’t remember that are pretty graphic. Namely, for example, the human autopsy that the aliens do, which is a very shocking moment. But I think I can find ways of doing it. We’ll see. It’s certainly a possibility in the future. Legendary was very close to doing it at one point, so I know they love the screenplay. So, we’ll see. Hopefully it’ll happen. It’s certainly one of the movies I would love to do.
Last but not least, Pacific Rim wasn’t the only giant-monsters flick to stomp into theaters in the past year. Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla became a massive hit this past spring, so far having taken in nearly $500 million worldwide, and with a sequel already greenlit. It only makes sense to be curious what del Toro thought about the big, green competition. Here’s what he had to say about Godzilla:
Well, it’s a very different tone. What is great about Gareth is that he went for a really, an almost-Spielberg shock-and-awe tone that is very different from Pacific Rim. The thing is, when you deal with a world that has a single anomaly, meaning you have basically one monster or two battling each other, then you can take a darker tone and be metaphorical. Or when you have a single robot — namely, for example, Brad Bird’s The Iron Giant — you can, once again, be more reflective and build deeper into a theme than when you have to … this is a world where giant robots are possible, giant monsters are possible. So the tone has to be … I decided that it had to be more like an adventure movie. I used two analogies that were pretty invisible in the first movie: one was a sports movie, and the other was a western. I tried to bring characterization on the move. My main two characters, both [Charlie Hunnam] and [Rinko Kikuchi], play characters that have less lines than any other characters in the movie almost. They talk very little. You know them by the way they behave, the way they do and do not. In Godzilla, what was great is that you had this Spielbergian sense of scope and adventure, and a much darker tone. So, they don’t intersect tonally at all.