We lament Guillermo del Toro jumping ship from Beauty and the Beast, and what could’ve been for fairytale movies.
So there it was. The news that we all dreaded, Guillermo del Toro announced that he had dropped out of directing Disney’s live action take on the classic fairytale Beauty and the Beast. To say the news came as a shock would be a slight over exaggeration – this is del Toro after all. For those not familiar with the Mexican film maestro, del Toro has a habit of whetting fan appetites with the promise of a project that sounds too good to be true to later prove that, well, it basically was.
You can’t help but think what influence Guillermo del Toro’s Beauty and the Beast would have had on the fairytale trend
Guillermo del Toro has established a unique gothic style in his films, films filled with an artistic vision hard to come by in Hollywood. This is one of the main reasons we were all excited when del Toro announced he was at the helm of a live action Beauty and the Beast. Since the release of Sam Raimi’s Oz the Great and Powerful, we’ve been left with an empty feeling inside, a yearning for something slightly more…adult. Then came this year’s Maleficent, an adaptation of the classic fairytale Sleeping Beauty that offered cinemagoers a grim journey of a character going through an emotional rollercoaster of love and betrayal.
The dark universe and gothic look of Maleficent felt very del Toro-esque, proving to film lovers that Disney were on the right track with their fairytale adaptations. However, something was still missing. These stories seemed to boast recycled plotlines with generic solutions, and as great as these childhood stories are, they have continued to be that – childhood stories. An adult reimagining, a rated 18 version of these classic tales is yet to be made. Once again, Hollywood continues to play it safe, making these reboots PG-rated to attract the wider market and make as many dollars as possible. Whilst del Toro’s Beauty and the Beast was still under the watchful eye of the Disney bigwigs, you can’t help but think what sort of influence he would have had on the fairytale trend.
Cast your creative minds to a future of cinematic possibilities that will most likely only exist in this fantasy land. TV seems to currently be at an all time high in terms of quality programming, with shows such as Game of Thrones, American Horror Story and Orange is the New Black occupying our weekly routines. The appeal of these shows is endless, but one main aspect of their charm is their originality and the thought that no character is safe from extinction. None. This type of original storytelling is something Guillermo del Toro excels at.
We have all grown up with these fairytales impacting our childhood…an R-rated take on these tales could spark a new trend
We’re not expecting Beast to take a violent turn for the worse, and massacre Belle and her crew in a Battle Royale-type blood fest, but wouldn’t that be a pretty darn shocking turn of events? Along with extremely bizarre-looking characters occupying an even stranger universe comes a sense of realism del Toro would have had to offer. Whilst we may not be able to identify physically with his protagonists, audiences sure can sympathise with the humanlike emotions these characters come face-to-face throughout the film. Whilst Hellboy is a vision of our darkest nightmares, we can’t help but support him in his quest to fight for good over evil.
It is these qualities of del Toro’s that got us excited when we heard of the possibilities that were there when he took over the Beauty and the Beast project. It’s also what provided great disappointment when news broke that the man decided to walk away from the film. Not all is lost – it is rumoured that del Toro will stay on as producer and that his script will be kept untouched, for now. We have all grown up with these fairytales impacting our childhood at some point, meaning that there is a bigger market for this type of film than Hollywood realises. The thought of an R-rated take on these classic tales could spark a new trend. A trend that in Hollywood’s eyes offers more risk than it would reward. Maybe one day.
Featured image: Universal
Inset image: Disney