Guillermo del Toro is one of the most fascinating directors working today. The auteurist filmmaker is responsible for bringing some of the most fantastical worlds, creatures and stories ever seen on film to life. With the impending release of his next directorial effort, The Shape of Water, fans of Guillermo del Toro have a lot to be happy about. The film is garnering some of the best praise of his career and has serious Oscar buzz around it. So it would be easy to get super excited about what the director has planned next. However it seems that he is taking a wait and see approach and planning his next move carefully. The beloved director has decided to take a year off from directing and he recently spoke about the reasoning behind that decision. He said:
I'm 53, I want to not know what I'm doing next, it's like a privilege, that's why I'm taking the year off, as a director to really think about what I'm doing next. All of those projects, some of them happen and some of them don't. The natural state of a movie is not to happen. That's the reality.
This is a very measured approach and probably a smart choice. Directing a film can take years out of your life and you want to make sure that you are spending your time working on projects that you truly care about and ones that have a chance of actually being made, finding an audience and succeeding. His words to IGN are somewhat sad and accompany his confirmation that his darker Pinocchio passion project is not happening. Guillermo del Toro's career is an interesting one, in that, despite critical and commercial success, he has so often been at the center of many 'what might have been' stories.
Guillermo del Toro was supposed to direct The Hobbit films before Peter Jackson returned, instead. Fans will always be left to wonder what Guillermo's creativity and practical approach might have produced. He regrets passing on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and scheduling prevented him from doing Pacific Rim 2. Now, he also has to watch someone else tackle the Hellboy character he loved so much. It is understandable that he wants to take a year-long sabbatical as he previously told Variety and be sure about what he does next because he knows the heartache of having projects that he cares about fall through.
Guillermo del Toro's Hollywood films have never quite reached the level of critical success as his Spanish language films, with many holding up Pan's Labyrinth as his career pinnacle. But The Shape of Water seems poised to match that film's acclaim. Guillermo del Toro also told Collider that it is his favorite and most personal film. So if he needs to take a year off after to be sure what's next, he will have earned it. Hopefully he returns to a market eager for his next story. The Shape of Water opens in theaters on December 8th.
Photo of Guillermo del Toro courtesy of Crimson Peak.