Currently locked in “crazy, active” pre-production on Pacific Rim, Guillermo del Toro took time out yesterday to chat about the epic monster movie he’ll direct next for Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. at the New York City press junket for scary creature feature Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark. Although he shepherded the latter from conception through to release, it’s Pacific Rim that will mark Del Toro’s belated return to the director’s chair for the first time since 2008 and Hellboy II. And he says he’s chomping at the bit, particularly after coming so close earlier this year with At The Mountains Of Madness, before Universal pulled the plug on his big-budget H.P. Lovecraft adaptation.
“Mountains Of Madness had a very linear development,” says del Toro. “We worked for nine months and I thought I was starting the production the week after. So this comes as a blessing; I’m really happy to be back directing.”
At Comic Con, del Toro branded Pacific Rim a sci-fi epic about “giant f**cking monsters against giant f**cking robots”, with humanity deploying colossal mechanical suits to battle equally colossal creatures emerging from a dimensional rift in the Pacific Ocean. A devotee since childhood of Japanese science fiction and horror, del Toro calls the tentpole “my homage and lovefest to giant monsters destroying cities…”
The shoot is due to kick off in Toronto in November, half the creature designs are complete and del Toro has been pulling together his ensemble cast, which now includes Charlie Hunnam, Charlie Day, Rinko Kikuchi, Max Martini, Robert Kazinsky (who departed The Hobbit in May) and the actor he’s settled on to play Pacific Rim’s lead character, Sensi: Idris Elba. Del Toro says he did try to convince Tom Cruise to follow him onto Pacific Rim after the collapse of At The Mountains Of Madness, but “the deal couldn’t be made”.
As for Elba, del Toro, like most people, is a massive fan of Stringer Bell in The Wire but “the closer” was the British actor’s portrayal of an obsessive police detective in BBC crime series Luther. “The presence Idris has is almost like a supernatural gravitational force,” enthuses del Toro. “Literally objects start moving when the guy enters a room. He’s an actor of uncommon power and uncommon humanity… Javier Bardem is another one. They’re like Rodin sculptures. They represent pure humanity.”
TOH interviewed Del Toro on the flip cam at Toronto last September.