Rumors have been devouring the Internet for the past week or so about a new project that Guillermo del Toro could be directing: a movie teaming up DC Comics' dark supernatural characters. Sort of like DC's Justice League Dark comic. At first, the rumor was debunked — but then del Toro himself said he was interested in doing it.
And just now, we spoke to del Toro, and he confirmed that he's in talks about making a movie about the characters from the dark side of DC.
Last week, the rumor swirled that del Toro could be directing a film called Heaven Sent, teaming up all of the great DC Comics supernatural characters, like Deadman, the Spectre, Swamp Thing, John Constantine, Phantom Stranger, Zatanna, Zatara, Sargon and Etrigan the Demon. There were rights issues involving some of these characters (notably Swamp Thing and Constantine, both of whom had starred in their own films) but del Toro was trying to work it out. After the rumor was debunked, del Toro popped up on his website to say "I denied being involved in JLA but this [Heaven Sent] I would love to do!"
Today, we got a chance to speak with del Toro one-on-one as part of the publicity junket for the new animated film Rise of the Guardians, which del Toro executive produced. (We'll have the full interview, during which del Toro talks a lot about his thoughts about fairy tales and dark children's stories, closer to the movie's release date.) But we also talked to del Toro about superhero team-up movies, because Rise of the Guardians is very much a superhero team film.
The best superhero teams, said del Toro, feature a difficult dynamic — "some of them don't don't like each other, they don't work well with each other, they learn to work past their differences." This is a dynamic that The Avengers captured perfectly, says del Toro. "In the history of superhero movies, Avengers is the one that does it perfectly right." (Although Avengers was barely a blip on the radar when del Toro and company were developing Rise of the Guardians.) Also, the X-Men films have captured that dynamic pretty well, says del Toro.
We took the opportunity to ask del Toro about the rumored Heaven Sent film — what kind of dynamic would the Spectre and John Constantine and Zatanna have together, on film? And he said:
I am talking to DC and Warners about tackling the 'Dark universe' characters, but we're not calling it [Heaven Sent]. I don't know where this title came from. We have a very concrete storyline that I'm proposing — but it's still very, very early days.
We responded that we love the Spectre and Constantine and the Phantom Stranger, and we'd love to see them on screen. He replied, "[Plus] Deadman. They're great characters. I relate to them because they are supernatural monsters, first and foremost." He said there are real conversations taking place about this project, but "it's way early days."
Also, we asked him if he might ever direct an animated film like Rise of the Guardians, and he replied: "We've been writing one for two years: A project called Trollhunters, but we haven't nailed the screenplay yet." He says they came up with that title before the Norwegian film Troll Hunter came out. Compared to Rise of the Guardians, this film would be "a little more adventure, a scary ride."