By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist February 13, 2012 at 7:14PM
Right now, it's slightly under four years since we last saw a Guillermo Del Toro-directed movie in theaters. By the time his next film, the massive-scale monster movie "Pacific Rim," hits theaters, it'll be close to five. Of course, it barely feels like he's been away: last year's "Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark" had his name all over it, while he nearly helmed "The Hobbit" before Peter Jackson took the reins back, and will maintain a writing credit on the film, while his consulting work at DreamWorks Animation, and busy media presence has kept him in the headlines all this time.
But the question remains: what will come next? Del Toro has more projects in development than almost anyone else in town, from Disney's "The Haunted Mansion" and an adaptation of "Slaughterhouse Five" to new takes on horror classics like "Frankenstein" and "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." Well, it looks like we may have just found an answer, as Variety report that the Mexican director has signed on to direct "Beauty And The Beast," a new take on the classic Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve fairy tale of Belle, a young girl who is entrapped in the palace of a hideous creature, a former prince turned into a monster by a curse.
Del Toro had previously been involved as a producer on the project, along with Denise DiNovi ("Edward Scissorhands," "Crazy Stupid Love"), but according to the trade's report, the "Pan's Labyrinth" helmer is now going to direct as well, and will write a treatment from which Andrew Davies (the BBC's "Pride & Prejudice," "Bridget Jones' Diary," "The Three Musketeers") will write a screenplay. And the project already has a leading lady, it would seem, with "Harry Potter" star Emma Watson, who's soon to take on her first post-Hermione lead role in David Yates' "Your Voice In My Head," in the final stages of talks to star in the project.
The film's set up at Warner Bros., who are also behind "Pacific Rim," and although there's no specific timeline yet, there's no reason that by the time that film is in theaters that a script won't be ready to go. The question is, will it be old news by then? Fairy tale movies will be a ten a penny in the next few years, and two TV versions of "Beauty & The Beast" are in the works at ABC and CW, the latter a version of the 1990s show that starred Del Toro favorite Ron Perlman.
And, let's not forget, only a few days ago, "Brotherhood of the Wolf" director Christophe Gans announced he was soon to shoot a film version starring Vincent Cassel and Lea Seydoux. While Del Toro's take is seemingly set up to be his next film after "Pacific Rim" (which opens May 10, 2013), and he's better suited than almost any filmmaker alive, it's entirely feasible that in the next year, the success of the other projects see this slipping down his priority list. If not, look for Guillermo Del Toro's "Beauty And The Beast" in theaters in 2014.