It won'tsurprise anyone who saw Guillermo del Toro's Blade II this weekendthat the director is a self-professed comic book addict. Thetechniques he developed for the superhero sequel are meant to evoke the look andfeel of comics and anime. In a recent interview Del Toro told Comics2Film that hehopes to continue to evolve those techniques.
"For me Blade IIwas also kind of a dress rehearsal of many, many things I was dreaming of for Hellboy. Even the collaboration with Mike Mignola was a little bit of a trialground for that." Mignola created Hellboy and worked as a concept artist onBlade II.
"If I get my way and manage to do Hellboy afterthis I will take everything we tried on Blade II and push it up a couple ofnotches."
Del Toro told usthat talks are underway with Revolution Studios to produce the movie. Currentlythey are working out the budgeting, although the movie looks to be in the $60million range.
As has beenrecently reported, Del Toro is adamant that Ron Perlman fill the iron gauntletof the demonic paranormal investigator. "At this point I think I'd rather make it with him or not at all.It is not only my conception of Hellboy."
The directorreports that Mignola is equally in favor of the casting. "We met the first time and he said, 'There'sonly one actor that can play Hellboy,' and I said, 'Oh, my God. We're going todisagree because I think there's only one actor that can play Hellboy,' and weboth said the same thing: Ron Perlman," Del Toro told C2F.
"Mike has a really clear concept of how Hellboy walks and talks and I think noone nails the dialog of Hellboy like Mike and to his ear and to his eye[Perlman] isthe actor to do it so I'd rather stick to my guns and do it that way."
Del Toro alsotold us he has a clay sculpture of Perlman as Hellboy that he commissioned bymake-up F/X guru Rick Baker. If Hellboy get made, Baker will bepart of the design team.
"Rick Baker would be in charge of making Hellboy and only Hellboy. Wewould use other makeup effects houses to do the rest of the creatures," DelToro said. "But Iwant Rick to create Hellboy because he is the best at making a creature asoutlandishly looking as Hellboy real, without much effort. This sculpture is just a greatindicator to me that it can be done."
The directoralso said he's a big fan of comic creator Richard Corben and loved his artworkon the recent Hulk comic Startling Stories: Banner. "I would love forCorben to come onboard on Hellboy to design the characters and so forth for the C'thulucreatures."
Joining Corbenon the creature design team would be Wayne Barlowe, who did a concept paintingof Hellboy for the movie years ago, and, of course, Mike Mignola. Del Toro alsotells us that Phil Tippet's Tippet Studios would do the CGI effects.
The director ispassionate about making the Hellboy movie a special event. "You can easily fuck up that movie and Idon't want to do that.," Del Toro told us. "I don't care what comes out this year, Spider-Man or Blade II, Iwant to make Hellboy the best comic book movie ever."
Getting Hellboymade, of course, depends on finding studio backing. Another candidate for DelToro's next movie would be something called Mephisto's Bridge."It's essentially adeal with the devil movie. It's kind of a metaphor for making movies inHollywood," the director reported.
"It's a Faustian tale where ultimately, it's really fun for the first half andthe second half is relentlessly gruesome and nasty," he continued. "It's full of really cool creature effects. Basically one of the creatures isa creature that has never been committed to film ever. I'm really anxious to dothat creatures. It's actually Fear. It is an abstract but when you see it it's really a nasty mother-fuckingabstract."
Of course, DelToro has his eye on other comic book movies. For years he's been attached todirect a live-action version of Katsushiro Otomo's Domu. However,the efforts have been hamstrung by international legalities. "God damn it, we haven't even got the rights. We've been negotiating therights for four years. Which goes to prove Japanese lawyers are even morecomplex than American lawyers," Del Toro said. "The moment we have the rights I would go aheadand write it."
He's also talkedto Marvel about helming Werewolf By Night. "I haven't read the latest draft. It would be great to try to do thedefinitive werewolf in film, you know," Del Toro told us. "To try to re-imagine it now, with thetools we have, as a really dangerous creature, that is very agile and very fastas opposed to a guy in a really heavy suit, trying to pretend he is moving fast.You can blend puppetry and CG and make it far more active."
However, hisinvolvement with that project depends on the script.
He's also onboard to helm The Coffin, based on the Oni Press comic book. JamesCameron (Titanic) is producing. "Tim McCanlies who wrote IronGiant, and I are collaboratingon the storyline and Tim is going to write the screenplay by himself," DelToro said.
The directorwent on to describe the project. "Once again, we're talking about areally dark, REALLY DARK comic book. It's essentially like my first movie Cronoson steroids. It's really a beautiful variation of the same type of father anddaughter love story beyond the grave."
The directorsaid that he sees great opportunities for using modern filmmaking techniques."We now, with the digitizing of cinema finally have the tools to make comicbooks and animation closer to live-action. That is really exciting."