The always chatty and affable director Guillermo del Toro is the gift that keeps on giving. With his fingers always in several pots, the filmmaker wears quite a few hats as a producer, writer, visionary and more. This month he's shepherding another ghost story to the screen as a producer on "Mama." No stranger to the genre having directed "The Devil's Backbone" and produced "The Orphanage," "Mama" stars Jessica Chastain and "Game Of Thrones" villain Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as a couple tasked with the challenge of raising his young nieces that were left alone in the forest for 5 years. However, all is not what it seems…
When del Toro introduced the short film that convinced him to back the project in the first place, he called it "claustrophobic." "The short was one of the scariest things I've ever seen and it was incredibly well-made," he said. We'll have more about "Mama" soon, but the open-book filmmaker was also happy to discuss several of his other gestating projects.
For one, what happened to that proposed "The Hulk" TV show that he was supposed to executive produce and direct the pilot of? While he's talked about it in the past, the Mexican filmmaker was a lot more forthcoming with us than he's been and it sounds like the project may be dormant. The filmmaker he said he hasn't heard one word since May.
"After 'The Avengers' there's been complete radio silence," he said. "I had one more meeting after 'Avengers' with Jeph Loeb from Marvel and he said, 'We're working on it, we're waiting for a writer,' he gave me the name of the writer and their resume and I said, 'That sounds great, let's wait for him' because we had delivered a teleplay and I haven't heard since then." Could it be Marvel's potential plans for a Hulk movie killed it all? Del Toro didn't say, but he did admit that most characters in the Marvel universe don't really appeal to him as much as the stranger ones.
"Well, I only like monsters. I think Morbius is great, even though he's a relative of Swamp Thing, Man-Thing was great. I like the weird ones, frankly. And if I have to chose weird superheroes, Dark Universe [of D.C.] is my cup of tea." And fans should note, del Toro's already expressed rounding up some of these characters for a project called "Heaven Sent."
At for his shuttered H.P. Lovecraft adaptation "At The Mountains Of Madness" project that got killed in 2011, del Toro said he's going to try one more proper kick at the can soon. "I'm going to try it one more time. Once more into the dark abyss," he laughed. "We're gonna do a big presentation of the project again at the start of the year and see if any [studio's] interested." And yes, Tom Cruise is still game to be on board if they can find a home for it. "Yeah, Tom is still attached. I think it would be so fantastic to make it with him. He's been such a great ally of the project."
The filmmaker did say earlier this year that he was worried that Ridley Scott's "Prometheus" could have too much overlap with story and tone, the film dealt with a lot of the same issue that 'Mountains Of Madness' does. But that was before he saw the film. Del Toro caught up with it and is no longer concerned. "Not really, I saw it finally and.. yes, there are things in common, but, you know, screw it. Lovecraft was there first," he laughed.
"Mama" hits theaters on January 18th. More from this interview soon. — Interview by Drew Taylor