Guillermo del Toro Turned Down an Offer to Helm Universal’s Monster Universe

Jason McDonald

We live a world of infinite “what-ifs” and “what could have beens.”  Recently we learned that there could have been a Cheech and Chong meets Jason movie.  And while that would have been an amazing movie to have on my shelf, it doesn’t break my heart quite as much as the revelation that Guillermo del Toro nearly helmed the Universal Monster Universe.

While promoting his new film “The Shape of Water” Guillermo del Toro sat down for an interview with the New York Times where they discuss del Toro’s career and the creation of “Shape of Water.” It’s an excellent interview if you’re a fan of del Toro’s work and you can check it out here. Among the things discussed, though, were the films that del Toro turned down.  If you’ve followed his career, you know the number of projects that he’s been attached to and never come to life seem to pile up every year.  Well, now we have a new project that we can mourn the passing of.  In the interview del Toro revealed that back in 2007 he was offered the reigns to the Universal Monster Universe.

The only time I repent I didn’t do something was in 2007, when Universal, in an incredibly gentle and beautiful manner, said ‘Do you want to take over the Monster Universe?’ And they gave me the reins of several properties and I didn’t do it. That I repent. So this is a confessional moment, I repent. That’s the only thing.

Before ‘The Mummy” crashed and burned earlier this year we’ve known that Universal was trying to create some kind of expanded universe for its monsters to exist in.  In 2014 they attempted to get things started with “Dracula Untold.” Unfortunately that turned out to be another false start for them.  Well, based on what del Toro said in the interview it sounds like the concept of a monster universe has existed since at least 2007.  Which means, the 2010 “Wolfman” movie would’ve been the kick-off for the universe… had it been a profitable movie.  At around the time del Toro was offered the reigns of the Monster Universe Universal was still in the early stages of production on “The Wolfman” movie.  In fact, in 2007 they were going through director changes after losing their first director Mark Romanek.  So this might’ve been the point where someone at Universal approached del Toro.

Could you imagine living in a world where Universal’s classic monsters were reimagined by Guillermo del Toro?  With “The Shape of Water” we’re at least getting his take on the “Creature from the Black Lagoon,” but it’s still a bummer to know that we won’t get to see him play with Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster or the Wolfman.  Instead we have . . . Tom Cruise’s “Mummy” movie. Damn.

Frankenstein Wolfman


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