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Guillermo del Toro Turned Down the UNIVERSAL MONSTERS Universe

With every new revelation at the projects visionary filmmaker Guillermo del Toro COULD have made but didn’t, a new poison-tipped arrow gets shot into our movie-loving hearts. From At the Mountains of Madness to Justice League Dark to The Haunted Mansion (and, oh yeah, The Hobbit), we still marvel at what our alternate universe Blu-ray shelves might have looked like if things had gone a different way. But according to a new interview with The New York Times, del Toro admits that, out of all the projects he’s turned down, the one he now regrets is helming the Universal Monsters universe.

Del Toro has always maintained that saying “no” to offers is a way for a filmmaker working within the studios to keep some modicum of power over their own work. In the past, he’d been offered things like Thor, I Am Legend, and Man of Steel, and he even turned down Pacific Rim Uprising, a sequel to his own damn movie, in order to make The Shape of Water (which, honestly, good call). Still, in 2007, he was offered the reins to Universal’s entire classic monsters range and he wishes he’d said yes.

I’ve said no to things that are enormous and I’ve never looked back, you know? 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.

After the utter botchery of Universal’s Dark Universe–started and ended with this summer’s snooze The Mummy (my review)–we were incredibly bummed, since classic Gothic monster movies could have been excellent. But the notion of these movies coming from Mr. Monster himself, and the fact that we could have had them 10 years ago, AND the fact that we didn’t and won’t get them, is almost too much to take.

Del Toro’s cinema has always had an affinity for the monster in movies like Cronos, The Devil’s Backbone, and Hellboy, and The Shape of Water is maybe the apex of this ideal. As much as we love del Toro’s original ideas, seeing him tackle Frankenstein or The Creature from the Black Lagoon would have been, to quote an emoji, *Pizza Chef*.

But alack and alas. Here’s to what might have been.

Images: Fox Searchlight/Criterion/Universal

Kyle Anderson is the Associate Editor for Nerdist. He is the writer of 200 reviews of weird or obscure genre films in Schlock & Awe. Follow him on Twitter!

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