In 2013 director Guillermo del Toro brought us Pacific Rim, a fantastic film featuring fighting giant robots and giant monsters called kaiju. With this film he was setting up a universe that one day could grow into future sequels and even a television animated series. It also made over 400 million dollars, no doubt that it was only a matter of time before they got to work on a sequel. But why would Del Toro not direct the second film?
It turns out that the production timeline was the enemy. In an interview for Collider focusing on his hew Netflix series Trollhunters, Del Toro talked about what ultimately lead to him stepping away from the directors chair for the Pacific Rim sequel Pacific Rim: Uprising. Here is a quote from the interview:
“The timing started to suck. I had this little movie that I wanted to do—The Shape of Water—very, very much. 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.”
Thanks to the sale of Legendary, Guillermo del Toro would have had to postpone shooting for nine months. All while having another project, The Shape of Water, that he was really passionate about ready to go. Currently The Shape of Water is in post production and will be released in theaters this November. At that point Steven DeKnigth was chosen to take over as the new director for the film. Del Toro goes on to praise DeKnight in the interview.
“It was such a great choice. I mean I love [DeKnight], love what he does, I think he’s really brilliant. He’s making it his own. I’m not breathing over his shoulder saying, ‘What are you doing? What are you doing?’ He’s doing things differently and I like that. When I produce I try to produce the way I would like to be produced. I say to everyone I produce, ‘If you need me I will be there 100% all the time. If you don’t need me, I’m not there. You show me the cut then we’ll start interacting.”
Later in the interview Del Toro also talks about the screen play and how DeKnight's version is different then what he had in mind for Pacific Rim: Uprising. Making a very interesting analogy comparing the director to a boxer and a producer to someone waiting in the corner.
“They’re doing great. 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.”
The reason for him not being able to direct Pacific Rim: Uprising is understandable. But with as good as the first film was, it worries me that a new director is coming in with his own take on the film. I would have liked to have seen Del Toro's story for the second film. Who know it may or may not work only time will tell. Still I would really hope that Guillermo del Toro is more involved than he says he is. Are you looking forward to the Pacific Rim film that goes in a new direction?
Pacific Rim: Uprsing is scheduled to be released February 23rd, 2018
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