Fans looking for more giant robot vs. giant monster mayhem leapt with delight last week when Guillermo del Toro officially confirmed that the Pacific Rim (2013) sequel was in solid development and already set for a 7 April 2017 release date. This week the Wall Street Journal's Speakeasy blog tracked him down to pry out a few more details about the sequel, along with his ongoing hopes of resurrecting the dream project based on H.P. Lovecraft's At The Mountains Of Madness.
Talking about the potential pathways offered by Pacific Rim 2, del Toro said that while a lot of the original film's characters will be back, the story he has been developing with Travis Beacham (Clash Of The Titans) and in particular Zak Penn (The Incredible Hulk) will be different. "I said to Zak, let's keep kicking ideas till we find one that really, really turns the first movie on its ear, so to speak. It was hard to create a world that did not come from a comic book and that had its own mythology, so we had to sacrifice many aspects to be able to cram everything in the first movie.
"Namely, for example the Drift, which was an interesting concept. And this portal that ripped a hole into the fabric of our universe, what were the tools they were using? And we came up with a really, really interesting idea. I don't want to spoil it, but I think at the end of the second movie, people will find out that the two movies stand on their own. They're very different from each other, although hopefully bringing the same joyful giant spectacle. But the tenor of the two movies will be quite different."
Shrugging off attempts to compare Pacific Rim to Gareth Edwards' recent Godzilla by highlighting their different approaches to the monster spectacle, del Toro also discussed his plans for the characters. "I'm hoping to bring the same idea I had in the first movie, that was to make it multicultural and humanistic as much as possible, to make characters from many nationalities or gender, to make them equal in the scope of the adventure, in the day-to-day of the adventure. So, we're bringing a few characters that are new and hopefully doing good work managing those that survived the first movie!"
With that 2017 release date still far enough in the future, the busy writer/director/producer has time to work on the look of the film properly. He'll take a full nine months, starting in August, to design everything the sequel needs.
As for At The Mountains Of Madness, he remains hopeful that Legendary – which now has a distribution deal with Universal, where the film almost got made a few years ago – will help birth the horror at long last.
"That's exactly what I discussed with them. I said to them, 'that's the movie that I would really love to do one day,' and it's still expensive. I think that now, with the way I've seen PG-13 become more and more flexible, 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 are 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."
Fingers and tentacles crossed for Mountains, then.
The next full del Toro project, haunted house horror Crimson Peak, is currently chugging through post-production and will arrive on 16 October next year.