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Del Toro's DreamWorks Deal and Trollhunters, Jackson Fights Unions on Hobbit

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood September 28, 2010 at 6:21AM

- Guillermo del Toro, back from promoting two productions at the Toronto Film Festival--Julia's Eyes and Biutiful (the official Mexican submission for the foreign Oscar)--is now working closely as a consultant and exec producer with DreamWorks Animation. He will help out on Kung Fu Panda 2, Puss in Boots and another TBA project as well as Trollhunters, which he will write and direct.
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Thompson on Hollywood


- Guillermo del Toro, back from promoting two productions at the Toronto Film Festival--Julia's Eyes and Biutiful (the official Mexican submission for the foreign Oscar)--is now working closely as a consultant and exec producer with DreamWorks Animation. He will help out on Kung Fu Panda 2, Puss in Boots and another TBA project as well as Trollhunters, which he will write and direct.

Del Toro tells THR that this relationship with DreamWorks is in line with his belief that increasingly over the next decade artists will need to be savvy in all forms of media. In a "transmedia" entertainment landscape, he says, "transmedia will not just be a buzzword." Trollhunters, which he has begun writing, is a scary genre story written for kids that "essentially combines fairy tales with modern times and is about how difficult it is to be kid. Normally, kids are idealized in animated films. But the growing pains, married with the notion that there is a world right next to us that is completely plagued by creatures of ancient lore, it's thematically fitting with the rest of my stuff."

Del Toro talked to TOH in Toronto about a wide range of upcoming projects as producer and/or director, including Julia's Eyes, Biutiful, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, The Hobbit, and James Cameron's Mountains of Madness.

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- Now that Del Toro is off The Hobbit, Peter Jackson has taken charge and is fighting with unions in New Zealand - and he is threatening to leave the country now that actors unions are warning performers to stay away from the production. Losing The Hobbit would be a huge blow to New Zealand's film industry, which owes a lot to the Lord of The Rings franchise. Actors unions are upset, claiming non-union extras on the film are being offered no guarantees on wages or working conditions. Jackson believes the NZ branch of the Australian Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) is bullying the project and the country's film industry, in which they are trying to "gain a foothold." Jackson feels a "growing anger at the way this tiny minority is endangering a project that hundreds of people have worked on over the past two years, and the thousands about to be employed for the next four years" as well as the money that will be poured into the economy. Jackson says the project is being attacked "because we are a big fat juicy target" and not because they've done anything wrong. Some of the franchise's stars, however - Sir Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett and Hugo Weaving - are reportedly participating in the boycott.

This article is related to: Directors, Franchises, Genres, Independents, Moguls, Studios, Daily Read, Media, Peter Jackson, Guillermo Del Toro, Lord of the Rings/Hobbit, Sci-fi, Sequel, Fantasy, Animation, DreamWorks, Universal/Focus Features


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.