Tag Archive | "Guillermo del Toro"

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HISTORY OF THE COMIC BOOK FILM: To HELLBOY And Back

Posted on 04 April 2014 by William Gatevackes

In a multi-part series, Comic Book Film Editor William Gatevackes will be tracing the history of comic book movies from the earliest days of the film serials to today’s big blockbusters and beyond. Along with the history lesson, Bill will be covering some of the most prominent comic book films over the years and why they were so special. Today, we talk about a successful creator-owned franchise turned film franchise, Hellboy.

darkhorselogoLast installment, we talked about Dark Horse Comics and how the success of its Aliens and Predator licenses cause it to expand its operations. One of the most notable expansions came in 1994 when they started the Legend imprint.

Legend was a boutique imprint started by comic book legends Frank Miller and John Byrne to showcase creator-owned titles from the pair, all published by Dark Horse. It was here where Miller’s Sin City was home to, for instance, and Byrne housed his Next Men series. It was an answer to Image Comics, the other imprint started by superstar creators for their own creator-owned properties, only for superstars that might not be as young or hot as the Image 7. Invitations went out to a number of comic creators to join Miller and Byrne, and one of the creators who agreed to become part of Legend’s starting line up was Mike Mignola.

Mike Mignola was a comics veteran at the time Legend began, with over a decade’s experience. He got his start as an inker at Marvel Comics before moving on to become a pencil artist on titles such as Rocket Raccoon, Incredible Hulk and Alpha Flight. He also provided numerous covers for all companies, and eventually moved on to work on diverse projects ranging from blockbuster crossovers such as Cosmic Odyssey to esoteric fare such as Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser.

hellboysketchHellboy started out as a convention sketch Mignola did for a fan of your general, garden variety demon.  But Mignola liked the name so much that when the time came to create an original character of his own, he built a hero around the name.

Originally intended to be part of a superhero team, Mignola decided to focus on Hellboy exclusively when he couldn’t come up with a good name for the unit. Hellboy was a demon from hell summoned to Earth by the Nazis during the last months of World War II. The Nazis intended to use the demon against a squad of attacking Allied Forces, but unfortunately for them, they plucked an infant demon from Hell. The child demon was no use to the Nazi’s, who were quickly overrun. The demon baby was then adopted by the American forces. In a case of environment overriding heredity, the demon grew up to become a rough and tumble monster hunter dubbed Hellboy.

nextmen21Hellboy quickly became success for Legend and Mignola. As a matter of fact, the series outlasted the imprint, which folded in 1998, by 16 years and counting. Adventures of  the character continue to this day, and the series has spawn a number of spin-offs and tie-ins over the years. And with that kind of success comes attention from Hollywood.

Luckily for Mignola and his creation, that attention came from celebrated director Guillermo del Toro. The Mexican director had burst on the scene with Chronos and Mimic and was coming off the biggest hit of his career in Blade II when a chance to adapt Hellboy came his way. A fan of the comic, del Toro used his new found clout to protect Hellboy on his journey to the big screen. When the studio insisted he cast Vin Diesel as Hellboy, del Toro stuck by his and Mignola’s original original choice of Ron Perlman. When the suits wanted the character’s origin changed so that the character was a human and not a demon, del Toro preserved the character’s comic book origin. In 2004, del Toro delivered us Hellboy.

Hellboy_posterThe result is a very good film.del Toro was a big enough fan to capture the Lovecraftian pulp noir of the comic book, but was also a skilled enough director to make the film entertaining. Hellboy adapted the series first story arc, Seeds of Destruction, in its entirety–with Easter eggs from other stories thrown in for good measure. Perlman made a pitch-perfect Hellboy, capturing the tough guy persona the character needed and deserved expertly. The rest of the cast were solid, if not entirely famous names, who worked well together and built a believable universe out of the outlandish property.

The film made just over $99 million worldwide against a $66 million dollar budget, which was hardly the stuff sequels are made from. But it’s success on the home video market earned it a shot at a follow-up. del Toro returned four years later to bring us Hellboy II: The Golden Army.

hellboy2posterThe film was originally supposed to come out in 2006, but its original studio, Revolutionary Pictures, went out of business. Universal Pictures stepped in to pick up the reins. del Toro decided not to adapt a story from the run in the comics, but instead focus on an original story taken from  folklore–an ancient war between the elves and humanity. If the first film featured Lovecraftian beasts taken directly from the comics, this film featured myth-inspired beasts that would be right at home in the film del Toro did before Hellboy II, Pan’s Labyrynth.

If the first Hellboy barely backed into a sequel, that would not be the problem here. Hellboy II almost doubled its $85 million budget with an worldwide gross of over $160 million dollars. However, a second sequel would not be soon coming. del Toro got involved with making the Hobbit film for a while before backing out of directing that film, and then moved on to Pacific Rim. But during the publicity rounds for that film last year, both del Toro and Perlman stated that they would be interested in making a third Hellboy, but it appears to be in the early stages at best.

Next time, we’ll discuss one of Marvel’s most popular characters two appearances on the screen. Yes, we have finally made it to the Punisher.

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del Toro: JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK Will Fit With Rest Of Warner’s DC Films

Posted on 12 November 2013 by William Gatevackes

GuillermoDelToroIf you were like me, you were eagerly anticipating Guillermo del Toro’s cinematic take on DC Comics’ Justice League Dark franchise. Also, if you were like me, you were also wondering where the project will fit in now with Warner Brothers new dedication to create a shared universe with its DC Comics-based films. Well, the director has an answer for us.

del Toro was interviewed by Cinefilos during the Festival di Roma 2013 and was asked about the status of the film, which would bring a team DC’s supernatural characters such as John Constantine, Deadman and Swamp Thing to the big screen. This is what he said:

We’re still on [Justice League Dark] and writing and hopefully it will happen, but there’s no developments that are new.  It’s still at Warners.  They are making plans for the entire DC Universe, all the superheroes, all the mythologies, and part of that is Justice League Dark.  They’re planning on TV, movies, all the media, so we have to fit within that plan.

Now, this could just be del Toro saying Warners has to fit Justice League Dark into its increasingly crowded slate of comic book adaptations, but it sounds like del Toro’s film is being rewritten to fit in with the shared universe started by Man of Steel and further explored in 2015′s Batman vs. Superman.

del Toro’s mention of TV is interesting. It makes me wonder if the planned Constantine TV series is going to having an effect on del Toro’s planned film, where Constantine would be the leader of the team. Warners has had no problem keeping its film and TV properties separate (see Superman Returns and Smallville). And the Flash will be appearing on Arrow this season with and eye on getting a spin-off TV series, all the while with a film for the character is in active development. But maybe Warners is seeing the success that Disney/Marvel/ABC is having with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and has decided to develop closer ties between the offerings in the two media.

Via Collider.

 

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Guillermo Del Toro Still At Work On PACIFIC RIM 2

Posted on 17 October 2013 by Rich Drees

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Director Guillermo del TOro was already working on a sequel to last summer’s Pacific Rim even before the film opened. And now, in the wake of it pulling in $407 million at the worldwide box office, it looks like he’ll be getting his chance to tell more stories about giant monsters invading from another dimension and the men and women who climb into giant robotic mecha called jaegers to fight them. But the studio hasn’t given a greenlight to a sequel yet, but Del Toro seems confident that it will happen.

Speaking with Rolling Stone, the director stated that he was currently working on the screenplay for Pacific Rim 2 with the first film’s original writer at the behest of co-producers Legendary and Warner Brothers, but that’s just the first step before getting the official go-ahead for the project.

Legendary gave me the absolute go-ahead with writing the screenplay, so Travis Beacham and I are working on it. As far as giving it a green light, that’s the big step of the process. We need to put together a budget and then they’ll make that decision, but everybody is unwavering in their love for the movie.

Previously, Del Toro hinted that a second film may focus on the invading kaiju using some of the Earth technology that was left behind in their dimension during the finale of the first film. He also stated that “the Drift,” the psychic connection between the two operators of the giant jaegers which was also briefly established between a scientist and a portion of a kaiju brain, will also play an important part on what may come.

Granted the first film’s budget of $190 million seemed like a risky proposition at the time and even with the worldwide gross factored in, it barely turned a profit for all involved. I would imagine, though, that a potential sequel would conceivably have a lower budget, if only because some of the development costs for the visual effects were already absorbed by the first film.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Pacific Rim‘s final DVD/ blu-ray sales over the next few months into the holidays factor into Warners’ final decision as to whether to go ahead with a sequel or not.

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Del Toro Hints At PACIFIC RIM 2 Story Possibilities

Posted on 23 July 2013 by Rich Drees

PacificRimJaegers

It is still unclear as to whether Guillermo Del Toro’s summer film Pacific Rim will earn enough to warrant a sequel. The domestic box office for the film has been below expectations, but it is doing well overseas in markets that in recent years have become more important to a film’s financial health. The film has yet to open in Japan, where it is understandably expected to do big box office.

Del Toro is certainly hoping for the chance to revisit his world of giant mechs fighting giant monsters and dished some story ideas that he and Pacific Rim screenwriter Travis Beacham are developing to MTV.

While the film seems to have a pretty definitive victory on the part of the humans over the aliens who have been sending the giant monsters, known as kaiju, through the dimensional portal at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, Del Toro states that that battle actually sets up the sequel’s story.

I’ll tell you a couple of things. We will have Gipsy 2.0 for sure. We will have Gipsy 2.0 for sure. Second thing is you’re gonna see a merging of Kaiju and Jaeger. And that is quite special… Just think about it for a second. We sent Gipsy to the other side, right? It exploded, but whatever remains stays there.

He also states that “the Drift,” the psychic connection between the two operators of the giant mechanized jaegers which was also briefly established between a scientist and a portion of a kaiju brain, will also play an important part on what may come.

We’ve drifted with a Kaiju brain. Well, then start riffing on that and you’ll get to something.

Sounds like some intriguing ideas. here’s hoping that we’ll get to see them on screen.

Here’s the complete video to MTV’s interview.

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New Releases: July 12, 2013

Posted on 12 July 2013 by William Gatevackes

Grown_Ups_2_Poster1. Grown Ups 2 (Sony/Columbia, 3,491 Theaters, 101 Minutes, Rated PG-13): Hey, it’s Adam Sandler’s first sequel! No, we couldn’t get a sequel to The Wedding Singer or 50 First Dates or any of his good films, we get one to his filmed reunion vacation with his Saturday Night Live plus, plus Kevin James.

In this one, the guys, with the exception of Rob Schneider, who either was too busy and/or had too high standards, decide to move back to their hometown to give their families a chance at a better life. While there, they encounter mean frat boys and erotic male car washes.

I’d like to point out that Milo Ventimiglia, who is 36, and Taylor Lautner, who is 21, play two of those frat boys. I hope that the age discrepancy is addressed in the film, because it is pretty darn obvious in the trailer.

245941id1b_PacRim_1sided_120x180_2p_400.indd2. Pacific Rim (Warner Brothers, 3,275 Theaters, 132 Minutes, Rated PG-13): This film is unkindly referred to as “Transformers meets Godzilla,” which is unfair. If those people knew anything, they’d say it was “Battle Suit Gundam meets Godzilla.”

This is obviously Guillermo del Toro’s love letter to Asian pop culture, albeit with a western spin on it. I am amazed by a lot of the negative build up to this due to del Toro’s aping existing tropes when the top ten films of the year are littered with remakes, sequels and adaptations from other media.

The plot is that giant alien beasts have sprung up from the Earth’s core and attacked humanity. Humanity fights back by building giant robots to battle the Kaiju on their level.

Don’t let the negativity get to you. This film is currently at 72% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes (compared to Grown ups 2′s 8%) so you’re getting a decent film. But if that isn’t an enticement, it’s giant robots beating the snot out of giant monsters! How can that be all that bad!

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Guillermo Del Toro And Charlie Kaufman Teaming For “Slaughterhouse Five” Adaptation

Posted on 09 July 2013 by Rich Drees

CharlieKaufmanThe pairing of director Guillermo Del Toro and screenwriter Charlie Kaufman may seem strange at first, but the pair have found a project that just may compliment their two unique sensibilities. According to the print version of the UK’s Daily Telegraph (and brought into the cyber realm by The Playlist), Kaufman will be handling the scripting duties on an adaptation of the classic Kurt Vonnegut novel Slaughterhouse Five that Del Toro intends to direct.

Speaking to the British paper Del Toro stated -

Charlie [Kaufman] and I talked for about an hour-and-a-half and came up with a perfect way of doing the book… I love the idea of the Trafalmadorians [the aliens of 'Slaughterhouse-Five'] — to be ‘unstuck in time,’ where everything is happening at the same time. And that’s what I want to do. It’s just a catch-22. The studio will make it when it’s my next movie, but how can I commit to it being my next movie until there’s a screenplay? Charlie Kaufman is a very expensive writer!

Currently, Del Toro has a deal with Universal Studios that could include this project. But first, he has his haunted house film, Crimson Peak, set to shoot in January and if Pacific Rim opens big this Friday, I would suspect that Warner Brothers will want him to make working on a sequel a high priority. And Del Toro’s relationship with Universal has not always been positive. The studio has famously shot down two other projects that the director was developing – his hard-R adaptation of H. P. Lovecraft’s classic horror novel At The Mountains Of Madness and a darker-edged stop-motion animation adaptation of Pinocchio.

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El Mayimbe And The Dark Art Of Hucksterism

Posted on 03 July 2013 by William Gatevackes

SBSCOOPBANNER Latino Review is a personality driven site and there are no bigger personalities working for them than El Mayimbe. He has developed a fan base that admire the swagger he exhibits as he delivers scoop after scoop (and they stay with him after those scoops are proven wrong). So it’s not surprising that El Mayimbe would announce his successful battle with adrenal cancer to the readers of the site. And the post is a heartfelt,if poignant tale of his feeling and emotions while battling the disease–right up until the end when he shoehorns a tacky plea for his Indiegogo campaign:

I am doing everything possible and utilizing everything available in both modern and alternative medicine to keep ACC from returning. Am I scared to death? Absolutely. But John Wayne said it best, “Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.” These last few months have been the most challenging of my life. As a part of the campaign, regardless of what we raise, I’m going to be making a donation to Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C). SU2C is a groundbreaking initiative created to accelerate innovative cancer research that will get new therapies to patients quickly and save lives now. SU2C is bringing together the best and the brightest researchers and encouraging collaboration instead of competition among the entire cancer community.

Speaking of Spartans, fifty five so far have joined our indiegogo campaign. We can certainly use more. I hear the whispers about the campaign, read the comments that trolls have left, and read the anonymous emails that spineless cowards have sent me. Sorry haters, I’m not the quitting type. I’m not the type to throw in the towel after the first or second quarter. In fact, the negativity only fuels my motivation and strengthens my resolve.

No retreat, no surrender. That is Spartan law.

And by Spartan law, we will stand and fight.

It’s now halftime with a lot of the game still left to play and a lot of fight left in me. I have quite a mountain to climb and the determination to see it through no matter what. So thank you for taking the time to read my story, and at the very least I hope you consider eliminating aspartame from your lives. If you wish to join our campaign, please click on the widget below because we can certainly use more Spartan warriors. Thanks again everyone.

Now, let me say that I hold nothing against El Mayimbe personally, despite what I write about him. I never met the man, and I probably wouldn’t know him if ran into him, and, on a human level, I honestly hope and pray that his cancer does not come back and he has a long and healthy life.

However, I, like surely many of you reading this out there, have had cancer touch their lives. Not personally, thank the fates, but to people I love. My mom had a malignant tumor removed from her arm that luckily was caught in time and didn’t cause any more problems. And my wife had a serious bout with cancer while in college which she fought hard against and eventually came out victorious. What these women had in common, besides being two women I love with all my heart and soul, is that they never used their status as cancer survivors to ask for personal favors. I mean, in a sense the didn’t have to. Mom had my dad to help her out with whatever she needed and my wife was graced with an understanding school who allowed her to stay enrolled while she was going through chemo and an awesome roommate who signed her up for classes and brought her food when she was too weak to do so herself.

But neither of them said “give me money because I have cancer,” which is what it seems like El Mayimbe is essentially saying, and using his “news” site to do so. The last two paragraphs are essentially him asking his readers to support his film making venture, going so far as to equate it with his fight with cancer, yet not coming right out and saying it. This offends me to no end.

I mean, this isn’t the first time we’ve talked about his shilling his film projects on his site and how much of a gross violation of journalistic ethics it is. But those last paragraphs essentially turn the post into one big guilt trip to coerce his fans into supporting his film project, which causes me to examine everything about the timing of the announcement.

indiegogo_logoIn the post, El Mayimbe said he had the tumor removed on May 14th and had his follow up visit was on May 29th. That means he had a month to make this announcement. Considering the sales pitch in his last paragraph, is it really a coincidence that he decided to post the admission now, when his Indiegogo is at the half way point and has only earned under $6,000 of the $109,000 requested total? You have to go through extreme measures when you have to average $7360.58 per day to make your goal in the allotted time. And considering that he has only garnered a whopping $175 since the post, there will be even more shilling and hucksterism in the future. I await with an enormous sense of dread what else he is going to do to play on our emotions next.

It’s great that El Mayimbe wants to make a movie. And, don’t be misled by him, he’s not making the film to help support Latino Review. If he wanted to bring money into the site, he could increase the number of ads on the site, add a “Donate” button to every page, start a charity auction with those Guillermo Del Toro signed items.  Those all would increase the operating revenue. No, he’s earning money for the movie because he wants to make a movie. He just doesn’t want to help pay for it himself, and he has no other way to get backing. So he uses his news site as free advertising for the fundraiser, violating just about every journalistic ethic there is. When that tactic looks like it will fail to get the money he needs, he plays onto his readers sympathies to try and bump up donations. Distasteful.

What El Mayimbe should have done was advise his readers to follow in his footsteps and donate to a cancer charity. But he was more concerned with selfishly getting his movie made than fight to make sure no one else had to go through what he went through. Well, I’ll go ahead and do that for him. If you were considering, even for one second, about supporting El Mayimbe’s Indiegogo project, don’t. Instead, donate that money to one of these charities, graded A or above by the CharityWatch of the American Institute of Philanthropy.

Because, always remember, saving a life will always trump getting a movie made.

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Ron Perlman Would Love To Make HELLBOY 3 With Legendary

Posted on 02 July 2013 by Rich Drees

RonPerlmanHellboy

Fans of Guillermo Del Toro’s two Hellboy films, adapted from the comic series by Mike Mignola, have been hoping for a third installment, if only to see how the demonic hero will avoid the prophecy that he will turn evil and rule over the Earth. Ron Perlman, who played Hellboy in the two films, would also like to see how that shakes out. And now there may be someone who will be willing to foot the bill for the film.

Guillermo and Del Toro have been doing the publicity rounds for the upcoming Pacific Rim, and ShockTillYouDrop has reported that the pair went out to dinner with Thomas Tull, the head of Legendary Pictures, the financers of the giant robots versus giant monsters film. And what did the three talk about? According to Del Toro -

I hate giving pieces about it, but last night, we were at dinner and Ron said, ‘I would be very happy to do Hellboy again, when are we doing Hellboy 3?’ Thomas [Tull] said, ‘I would love to see Hellboy 3.’ He didn’t say he would love to do it he just said he’d like to see it, but today, I’ll ask him.

Now, just because the head of one of the biggest money sources in Hollywood right now says he would like to see a certain movie come about does not necessarily mean it is going to happen. Perlman realizes that too, and when asked by ShockTillYouDrop about the possibility of Legendary funding Hellboy 3, he gave a cautiously optimistic answer.

Not just anybody can make this movie. I loved working for Legendary and I know for Guillermo working on Pacific Rim was one of his greatest experiences. The reason I loved working for them is because Guillermo was so happy. I came in six months into the shoot and he seemed as fresh as a daisy, simply because he was working for someone who appreciated and supported his outlandish visions of what he wanted to put on the screen. My immediate, silent wish was, wouldn’t it be great if these guys came in and helped resolve the Hellboy series.

Well, we’re all agreed that everyone wants to see it. But does Tull want to see it bad enough that he’ll pony up the cash to make the film? I have no doubt that answer may in part depend on how Pacific Rim does when it opens later this month.

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Mia Wasikowska In, Emma Stone Out Of Del Toro’s CRIMSON PEAK

Posted on 06 June 2013 by Rich Drees

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There’s been a bit of a casting shakeup in Guillermo Del Toro’s upcoming haunted house thriller Crimson Peak. Alice In Wonderland’s Mia Wasikowska will be taking over the lead role Emma Stone had originally been attached to. Stone apparently departed the project last month when a scheduling conflict could not be resolved. Wasikowska’s reps are currently hammering out her deal with the project’s producers Legendary Pictures.

Wasikowska will be playing Edith Cushing, a recently married writer who discovers that her husband is not at all what he seems to be. Benedict Cumberbatch, Jessica Chastain and del Toro’s Pacific Rim co-star Charlie Hunnam have already been hired for the film.

Both Wasikowska and Stone are competent actors, so I don’t think there will be much of an impact on the final film, though as a fan of Emma Stone’s I am sorry to see her go.

Crimson Peak is a project that has been on Del Toro’s backburner for a while now. He first wrote and then sold the screenplay to Universal back in 2007 after he had completed Pan’s Labyrinth. The chance to do Hellboy II and then the two years in New Zealand he spent working on developing The Hobbit with Peter Jackson kept him from doing the film for the studio. More recently, Del Toro was asked by Legendary what he would like to do as his next project and he sent them the scripts to his long in-development adaptation of H. P. Lovecraft’s At The Mountains Of Madness (which Universal had also shown a brief interest in), an adaptation of The Count Of Monte Cristo he had been trying to get going for nearly 20 years and Crimson Peak and was pleasantly surprised when they came back with Peak as the project they wanted to finance.

Via The Wrap.

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PACIFIC RIM WonderCon Footage Brings More Kaiju/Giant Robot Action

Posted on 30 April 2013 by Rich Drees

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Man is it hard to not get excited about Pacific Rim. From it’s simple “Giant robots versus giant monsters” plot description to much of the footage that has already been released, there’s really nothing that has made me think that director Guillermo Del Toro is not going to deliver on the promise of a crazy, old-school giant monster movie. And the footage screened at WonderCon this past weekend does nothing but reinforce that impression.

This clip gives us some more giant robots, more giant monsters and some voice over from star Charlie Hunnam as to why they are beating the hell out of each other.

Pacific Rim opens July 12.

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