Even though Guillermo del Toro is finishing Pacific Rim and has to shoot a pilot for his vampire novel The Strain, he's already lined up his next project. It's not Heaven Sent (aka Justice League Dark), but the ghost story Crimson Peak. The film was originally written with Mimic co-writer Matthew Robbins and was set to be made for Universal in 2008. Del Toro is going to rewrite the screenplay with Lucinda Coxon and hopes to start production on Crimson Peak for Warner Bros./Legendary Pictures in early 2014.
Del Toro described Crimson Peak as "a very set-oriented, classical but at the same time modern take on the ghost story. It will allow me to play with the conventions of the genre I know and love, and at the same time subvert the old rules." He elaborated on the ghost story/haunted house genre:
To me that is Robert Wise's The Haunting, which was a big movie, beautifully directed, with the house built magnificently. And the other grand daddy is Jack Clayton's The Innocents. I've always tried to make big-sized horror movies like the ones I grew up watching. Films like The Omen, The Exorcist, and The Shining, the latter of which is another Mount Everest of the haunted house movie. I loved the way that Kubrick had such control over the big sets he used, and how much big production value there was. I think people are getting used to horror subjects done as found footage or B-value budgets. I wanted this to feel like a throwback.
Del Toro explains the shift from Universal to Legendary Pictures after the cut. I've also included the trailers for The Haunting (an adaptation of Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House) and The Innocents (an adaptation of Henry James's The Turn of the Screw). If you're a fan of ghost/haunted house stories and haven't seen those two movies yet, you definitely need to.
Del Toro said the following about Universal, Warner Bros./Legendary and Crimson Peak:
[Crimson Peak] was the first one I wrote after Pan's Labyrinth, and I sold it to Donna Langley at Universal. She loved it, I was going to direct it, and then Hellboy II happened, and then I was off to New Zealand for The Hobbit. Donna suggested I move aside and produce [Crimson Peak]. It went out to directors, but I didn’t quite like anyone for it.
Finally I went through the experience of Pacific Rim with Warner Bros. and Legendary, and it was the best experience I have ever had making a a movie, period. I had a really good working relationship with Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni, and they asked what I wanted to do next. I sent them At the Mountains of Madness, I sent them [The Count of] Monte Cristo, another project I’ve tried to do for 20 years. I also sent Crimson Peak, but didn't expect a reaction because it's not a typical Legendary movie. Much to my surprise, Thomas Tull called 9:30 at night on the day I sent it and said, "I don't know how it ends, but I am on page 45 and I love it." Next day, Jon Jashni called and said we think it's the best project for us, just the right size.
Maybe At the Mountains of Madness will be the right size next time. (A guy can hope.)