THR is reporting that the man behind the Hellboy franchise is not only set to write and direct an animated feature for Dreamworks Animation, but is to consult on a further three projects for the studio.
Soon to enter production is a project tentatively titled Trollhunters, an idea which was first articulated as a young-adult book submitted by Del Toro to Hyperion mere weeks ago. He described the project – which may or may not be tied in some way to the similarly titled Norwegian mockumentary Troll Hunter – in an interview with Heat Vision Blog as:
“I wanted very much to develop a story that could be written for kids but dealt with a genre that was scary. It essentially combines fairy tales with modern times and is about how difficult it is to be kid. Normally, kids are idealized in animated films. But the growing pains, married with the notion that there is a world right next to us that is completely plagued by creatures of ancient lore, it’s thematically fitting with the rest of my stuff.”
In addition to this The Hole-esque horror-for-kids, Del Toro will act as consultant and executive producer for the studio on Kung Fu Panda: The Kaboom of Doom, Puss in Boots and a third – as yet unannounced – future project which may or may not turn out to be Boo-U.
While Del Toro has already started writing Trollhunters – and expects to have finished in time for filming on At The Mountains of Madness, don’t expect the movie any time soon. With all the rewrites and lengthy productions that plague any animated feature, Trollhunters is still some way off. Rather than losing patience with his new medium, however, Del Toro is embracing it.
Convinced that film is destined for something he calls ‘transmedia’, the director is convinced of animations draw for all demographics. Transmedia hypothesises a future without boundaries between books, movies, TV and videogames – aspects of the entertainment landscape that Del Toro believes any film-maker will have to embrace in order to stay relevant in this new world.
The director is mindful of the animation studio’s recent successes, saying of Kung-Fu Panda and their – in my eyes – masterpiece How To Train Your Dragon:
“They took risks with [Dragon] with pathos and imagination and structure. It made me pay attention. Those movies went in interesting directions, and I think we will try to steer the projects that I’m involved in into those kinds of directions without making the company lose its identity.”
For those of you concerned that Del Toro might be spreading himself a little thin (just make Hellboy III already!), the director had a few reassurances with which to conclude.
“People say, ‘How does he do it?’ Well, I don’t work on them at the same time. ‘Midnight Delivery,’ I wrote 11 years ago. The fact that they are happening now is flattering and great, but it doesn’t mean I’m writing seven screenplays at one time.”