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Guillermo del Toro is a busy man. In fact, just the other day we heard that he was hard at work writing Pacific Rim 2. Probably not all that coincidentally, news broke today that the writer/director/producer is dropping out of the planned live-action Beauty and the Beast film that's been in the works for a while now at Warner Bros, and is set to star Harry Potter beauty Emma Watson. Unsurprisingly, the reason for Del Toro's departure (as director) is due to "other commitments."
Though Deadline reports that Guillermo del Toro will not be directing Warner Bros' live-action revisionist take on Beauty and the Beast, he's still involved in the movie, not only as the screenwriter, but also as a producer, alongside Denise DiNovi. So he'll be around and have input, but the studio has begun the process of finding a replacement to direct.
Among his current projects, Guillermo del Toro is in the process of directing the horror film Crimson Peak, which he also wrote, and stars Charlie Hunnam. Working with the Sons of Anarchy star isn't the only link del Toro has with FX. Del Toro is executive producing the small screen adaptation of the horror novel series he penned with Chuck Hogan, The Strain. That's set to air on FX later this summer. Back to Hunnam, there's the mentioned Pacific Rim sequel that del Toro says he's working "very, very hard" writing with Zak Penn. Warner Bros. distributed the first Pacific Rim, which was produced by Legendary Pictures.
As we mentioned, the Beauty and the Beast live-action film has been in the works for quite a while, meaning years. And Emma Watson has been attached to the project for years as well. As of a year ago, Watson was still attached, and Deadline's update mentions her involvement. We might speculate that Warner Bros is looking to move forward with Beauty and the Beast sometime in the near future. After all, Emma Watson did just graduate from college, so she may be available and interested in pursuing more acting opportunities.(She has Alejandro Amenabar's Regression with Ethan Hawke coming up.)
It's also worth noting Disney's plans to do their own live-action Beauty and the Beast movie. In fact, it was just a couple of days before we heard that Del Toro was busy penning Pacific Rim 2 that news broke about Disney's planned Beauty and the Beast musical, which will be helmed by Bill Condon, based on a script from Evan Spiliotopoulos. So there are two big Beauty and the Beast movies in the works -- not counting Christophe Gans version that came out earlier this year overseas -- though Disney's is expected to be a musical, while Warner Bros. has been described as a period piece. Given what we know, it may be fair to assume these movies will differ noticeably in tone, which would be a good thing if they both ended up releasing around the same time.