The Hobbit movies
A prequel to the successful 'Lord of the Rings' movie franchise by Peter Jackson, again based based on the J.R.R. Tolkien novels.
Why did he drop out? - The financial difficulties at MGM at the time and the long production time and creative differences with Peter Jackson are often named as the most important reasons.
A new adaptation of the Mary Shelley novel for Unverisal Studios. The project had been in development since 2009 and was supposed to star Doug Jones as the monster and Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Victor Frankenstein.
Why did he drop out? - Del Toro's full and busy schedule. NOTE: The project apparently isn't entirely dead yet and del Toro still calls it one of his dream projects that he would love to make and drop everything else that he's working on for. We'll see about that Guillermo, we'll see...
A Justice League Dark movie, based on the DC comics, featuring characters such as Swamp Thing, Constantine, The Spectre, Deadman, Zatanna and Zatara.
Why did he drop out? - The project was never greenlighted to go into production and the story for it was never fully completed.
Saturn and the End of Days
Announced in 2008 as a 'little' independent movie about childhood and horror, that follows a kid named Saturn who is watching the end of the world.
Why did he drop out? - The movie never went into production, most likely due to del Toro's commitment to The Hobbit movies at the time.
The Secret Garden
A new film adaptation of the Frances Hodgson Burnett novel, featuring a new original storyline, set in the American South, with del Toro set to produce and co-write, alongside Lucy Alibar.
Why did he drop out? - The project only had been announced back in 2013 but as of yet, nothing concrete has come of it.
A new, stop-motion, adaptation of the popular Roald Dahl novel and apparently yet another 'dream project' for del Toro.
Why did he drop out? - Del Toro blames Warner Bros., who owns the rights, for keep holding the movie off.
A remake of the 2007 Spanish horror movie El orfanato (which was co-produced by del Toro), with Larry Fessenden- and in a later stage Mark Pellington set to direct, with del Toro attached as a producer and writer, which would star Amy Adams in the lead role.
Why did he drop out? - The movie was announced back in 2007 and went into production in 2009. However nothing has come of it yet, most likely due to some creative differences, financing and scheduling conflicts.
A thriller for Universal studios, first announced back in 2010, based on an idea by del Toro with del Toro also attached as a producer, with Kevin Costner set to star in the lead role and Otto Bathurst to direct.
Why did he drop out? - As of yet the movie hasn't made it past the writing stage.
Creature from the Black Lagoon
A remake of the classic 1954 Universal monster movie, with del Toro, a fan of the original, attached as a director in 2002.
Why did he drop out? - Del Toro had to drop out to commitments to numerous other project. The movie since then has passed many hands but as of yet the movie still hasn't gone into production.
Meat Market: A Love Story
A story about a deformed man who lives in the sewers and falls in love with a meat marker owners' daughter, announced back in 1994 as a movie for the American market.
Why did he drop out? - Del Toro wasn't a big name in Hollywood at the time yet. He most likely had a hard time getting the movie financed and therefor went on doing other projects instead.
An alternate take on the Peter Pan story, with del Toro originaly attached to direct and/or produce the movie at some point in the development of it.
Why did he drop out? - The movie is currently being filmed and set for a 2015 release but with del Toro no longer involved with it. It's unknown to me why but again, scheduling conflicts would be the more than likely answer.
Montecristo (later retitled The Left Hand of Darkness)
a reinvention of Alexandre Dumas's classic novel 'The Count Of Monte Cristo', that got described as a Gothic-western that del Toro have been trying to make since the early '90's.
Why did he drop out? - As of yet no studios have showed any interest in bringing this, no doubt costly, period piece to the screen.
Del Toro finished writing three different drafts for this horror movie, that was an adaptation of the English horror/fantasy bestseller by Christopher Fowles.
Why did he drop out? - The movie was at development at Universal at some point in the '90's but it never got off the ground.
At the Mountains of Madness
A horror movie based on the H. P. Lovecraft novella about a disastrous expedition to the Antarctic continent.
Why did he drop out? - Del Toro finished writing the screenplay, together with Matthew Robbins but had trouble getting Warner Bros. to finance the project. In 2010 James Cameron was announced as a new producer and Tom Cruise was attached to star, however the new studio (Universal) insisted on an R rating rather than a PG-13, which del Toro did not agree on. In 2012 another studio (possibly 20th Century Fox) backed out of the project, fearing that the premise of it showed too much of a resemblance with Ridley Scott's Prometheus. The project since then has been 'dead'.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Another horror remake of an Universal classic based on the Robert Louis Stevenson's novel The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, first announced back in 2010.
Why did he drop out? - At the time 5 different Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde were in development, which probably scared off the studios from making the movie,with as a result that none of the 5 projects ever went into production.
The Haunted Mansion
A movie based on the classic Disney theme park attraction and a remake/reboot of the 2003 movie by the same name.
Why did he drop out? - Apparently Disney is very keen on making the movie but the movie has been struggling to find the right writer for over 4 years now. The project is still alive according to del Toro, just like 80% of all of the other movies he has ever been involved with and that still haven't been made. Needless to say that i'm skeptical about it.
Based on the Oni Press comic book The Coffin created by Phil Hester and Mike Huddleston about a scientist who creates a polymer suit that holds the soul after the body dies, with del Toro set to direct and James Cameron to produce.
Why did he drop out? - Studios at the time were most likely more keen and interested in only picking up already established 'superheroes' and comic books to turn into movies, rather than any obscure ones, such as The Coffin.
Movie based on the novel by David Moody about an outbreak of random violence across the world, with del Toro first attached as the director but later only as a producer of it.
Why did he drop out? - Del Toro dropped out to work on The Hobbit movies instead and the movie never was made.
Beauty and the Beast
A live-action adaptation of the well known fairy tale, with del Toro set to direct.
Why did he drop out? - The official statement reads 'due to other commitments'. Del Toro is still attached as a writter and producer and the project is still moving forward, with Emma Watson set to star.
Collaboration between del Toro and screenwriter Charlie Kaufman, based on the Kurt Vonnegut satirical novel about World War II experiences and journeys through time.
Why did he drop out? - Co-writer Charlie Kaufman's writing fee turns out to be an obstacle, which forced del Toro to focus on other projects instead.
Based on the 2009 novel by Dan Simmon that details the last five years of Charles Dickens's life.
Why did he drop out? - Again, scheduling conflicts prevented this movie from ever being made.
The Bloody Benders
A movie based on a true story about John and Kate Bender, who were believed responsible for a series of grisly murders, killing those who stayed at their inn, at the end of the 19th century, with del Toro set to produce the movie.
Why did he drop out? - The movie has been announced in 2012 but as of yet no studio has picked it up.
List of Seven
An occult murder mystery that draws real historical characters like Bram Stoker and Arthur Conan Doyle into its fictional story, based on the novel by Mark Frost.
Why did he drop out? - The screenplay/concept for it never got picked up by any of the studios.
The Incredible Hulk TV-series
A new TV series for ABC based around the popular Marvel character.
Why did he drop out? - The project is still waiting for the 'right' writer to get involved with it, which has been the series its status for about 2 years now, which seems like a very, very long time for a TV series and its therefor also doubtful that the series is ever going to happen.
Wind in the Willows
a Disney animated adaptation of Kenneth Grahame's 1905 children's novel.
Why did he drop out? - Del Toro refused to 'Poochie' up the character of Toad at the request of Disney, after which he walked away from the project.
A movie based on the 1968-69 British TV series Champions about the adventures of a team of secret government agents who are rescued from a plane crash by an advanced civilization and given superhuman abilities, with del Toro set to direct, Christopher McQuarrie to write and Tom Cruise to produce amd possibly star.
Why did he drop out? - The movie was announced around the time that del Toro worked on a lot of projects, before he had to drop out of everything to go and work on The Hobbit movies.
A Spanish language movie that was supposed to be the third and final movie del Toro's Spanish Civil War, with the other two movies being The Devil's Backbone and Pan's Labyrinth, about a man in 1993 who believes that civil war is a thing of the past untill something from 1939 comes to life and proves that it's not.
Why did he drop out? - It's unknown why this movie never got made. Both del Toro's busy schedule as well as finances sound like two very likely explainations.
Announced in 2006 and described as an edgy revamp of the classic tale, with a screenplay written by John Collee.
Why did he drop out? - The movie never got off the ground and several other directors had been attached to it at one point, such as for instance Stephen Sommers.
Based on the 1967 comic book character created by Arnold Drake and Carmine Infantino about a circus acrobat who is granted with special powers after he gets murdered during a trapeze performance.
Why did he drop out? - Again, the studios probably were more interested in making superhero movies based on an already popular and established character.
Before doing Mimic, del Toro wanted to adapt George R.R. Martin’s science-fiction novelette Sandkings.
Why did he drop out? - The idea for a movie eventually was dropped and the story got used for an episode of The Outer Limits instead.
An animated movie that del Toro was supposed to write and direct for DreamWorks Animation.
Why did he drop out? - DreamWorks Animation went on doing other animated movies instead, such as the more 'safe', sure money making, sequels Kung Fu Panda 2 and Puss in Boots, which del Toro would also work on as a producter and consultant.
A horror/adventure movie set in Victorian England del Toro wanted to make after doing Cronos and Mimic, that was rumored to involved Gary Oldman or Ewan McGregor as the main lead.
Why did he drop out? - A horror/adventure movie set in Victorian England sounded like too much of a risk for the studios at the time and the idea for it was dropped.
Live-action movie, based on the 1980 Domu: A Child's Dream manga written by Katsuhiro Otomo that del Toro first showed interest in in the late '90's.
Why did he drop out? - International legalities prevented del Toro from ever turning it into a movie and del Toro eventually lost interest in it.
It's really not weird or unusual for a director, writer or producer such as Guillermo del Toro to get involved with several movies at once, since chances always are that most movies eventually will never happen and won't even get past the writing stage. It's of course however out of the ordinary for a director to commit himself to dozens of project but yet only turn an handful of them into actual movies. These past 2 decades del Toro has directed only 8 movies and it definitely seems like he spends more time on developing and talking about movies rather than actually sitting behind the cameras, which is a real shame, since del Toro remains a very talented director, with a great and unique storytelling- and visual style of his own.
So why does he take on so many different projects that he never manages to get off the ground? Does he have a short attention span? Is he always looking for a bigger and better project?
I genuinly do believe that del Toro has a passion for- and deep interest in all of the movies that he gets himself involved with. If he could have things his way, he would no doubt direct 3 movies per year and write and produce 7 more of him. But maybe that's also one of his problems; He gets taken away very easily and when that happens, emotions take over. He loves all of his projects and is therfor also very keen to talk about them, even when they are still far away from going into production and most of them will also never reach that stage.
He also loves helping some of his film-making friends out, by producing their movies for instance. He doesn't just limit himself to movies either but he has also worked on video games, televison series, web-series and shorts.
He definitely seems like the kind of guy who lets his emotions and heart make all of the important decisions and not always his mind. He rarely wants to compensate and rather walks away from a project with his pride intact instead of budging to any studio demands. He for instance fought for 7 years to get Ron Perlman casted in his first Hellboy movie as the titular character, while the studios wanted a bigger name to carry the movie. So where does this behavior come from? Probably from his experience of working on Mimic, his first 'Hollywood' movie. He considers that movie to be his absolute worst and even goes as far too disown it, due to the many interfering producers and studio that were all constantly breathing down his neck and watching his every step.
Other indications that Guillermo del Toro is a very impulsive and emotional person;
"Became a vegetarian after seeing The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) but only for four years. Currently, he's no longer a vegetarian."
"In mid 2012, Ron Perlman once again endured the 4-hour makeup routine required to transform him into Hellboy - not for a sequel or other acting job but to fulfill the Make-A-Wish request of a six-year-old boy named Zachary who has leukemia. Creature effects house Spectral Motion, who had worked on the two previous Hellboy films, applied Perlman's Hellboy makeup (and later, also made up Zachary as Hellboy as well), so that Zachary could spend the day hanging out with his favorite superhero. Guillermo del Toro was so touched by this event that it inspired him to start production on Hellboy 3."
Being that impulsive, emotionally and passionate about something are of course all great qualities to have as a person but they aren't necassarily great qualities for a Hollywood director as well in my opinion. Sometimes you simply have to make certain concessions, as long as the soul and heart of the movie remains intact and you can't just always trust your own gut feeling and instinct but have to rely on others as well and have to think about certain things first before making decisions and acting up on things. You can never have things completly your way as a Hollywood director, unless you can finance the movie entirely by yourself.
I thereofor also really do feel and believe that del Toro is better off doing small and independent movies, or movies that are made and financed abroad. It's also true in my opinion that his Spanish language movies are definitely his best ones, as of yet.
It's of course true that the Hollywood system needs to change and that directors should be allowed to use all of the creative freedom that they want to use in their movies and studios should show some more balls at times and take some more risks with certain projects but I just don't see the impulsive and at moments unrealistic, uncompromising, emotional and stubborn Guillermo del Toro as the one ideal person to change anything about this.