Guillermo del Toro is regarded as one of the most imaginative filmmakers working in Hollywood today, applying a fantastic aesthetic to all of his films whether they’re horror or action affairs. His ability to bring Mike Mignola’s Hellboy to life for two films has made him a fan favorite, and his projects like Pan’s Labyrinth and FX’s the Strain prove that he’s a creative visionary.
But few films in his filmography have resonated like Pacific Rim, the big budget kaiju-inspired monster movie. And some people were disappointed when it was revealed that the long-awaited sequel would finally begin filming without del Toro directing.
While speaking with Collider about the upcoming second season of his Netflix cartoon Trollhunters, del Toro revealed why he is not helming Pacific Rim: Uprising and why Legendary Pictures ultimately went with former Daredevil showrunner Steven S. DeKnight for the project.
“The timing started to suck. I had this little movie that I wanted to do—The Shape of Water—very, very much,” del Toro said. “At one point it was Justice League Dark or Pacific Rim, I said, ‘Let’s go to Pacific Rim.’ The reality is they said, ‘We’re gonna need to postpone,’ because they were changing hands—Legendary was going to be sold to China, to a Chinese company [called the Wanda Group]. They said, ‘We’ve gotta wait nine months’ and I said, ‘I’m not waiting nine months, I’m shooting a movie,’ and I went and shot [The Shape of Water] and we chose Steven DeKnight.”
del Toro said that he’s taking a hands-off approach to producing, allowing DeKnight to tell the story he wants and needs to tell and only getting involved when asked directly.
He said that he’s been seeing the footage trickle in as the production goes on and that he’s excited for what the finished film will look like.
“It’s going great. I see dailies every day, I see early cuts, I see teasers. They’re doing great,” del Toro said. “It lets him have his style, lets him have his notion of the characters. I wrote a screenplay, developed two or three drafts of that screenplay—this is different than what I developed, and I’m OK. A producer is in the corner, the director is in the ring. The producer’s not getting the punches, the director is, so shut up, wait in the corner, refresh the towel and wait for the director to come to you.”
del Toro’s latest project, the Shape of Water—starring Octavia Spencer and Michael Shannon—does not yet have a release date but is supposed to come out later this year.
Pacific Rim: Uprising recently wrapped up filming and is set to release in 2018.
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Pacific Rim: Uprising will open in theaters on Feb. 23, 2018.