A saying often repeated with regards to the movie business is that the biz is a marathon, not a sprint. Sometimes projects once fully realized will have taken a different shape than one originally conceived them to be, or one’s involvement in a project takes on a different role. In the case of the sequel to Guillermo del Toro’s (“Hellboy,” “Crimson Peak”) fight robots vs. kaiju film “Pacific Rim,” del Toro stepped down as director and served as a producer while Steven S. DeKnight (“Angel,” “Daredevil”) took on the directing mantle.
In del Toro’s words, it was timing that was the biggest factor why he relinquished directorial duties of “Pacific Rim: Uprising”:
“The timing started to suck. I had this little movie that I wanted to do — ‘The Shape of Water‘ — very, very much. At one point it was ‘Justice League Dark‘ or Pacific Rim, I said, ‘Let’s go to Pacific Rim.’ The reality is they said, ‘We’re gonna need to postpone,’ because they were changing hands — Legendary was going to be sold to China, to a Chinese company [called the Wanda Group]. They said, ‘We’ve gotta wait nine months’ and I said, ‘I’m not waiting nine months, I’m shooting a movie,’ and I went and shot [‘The Shape of Water’] and we chose Steven DeKnight.”
It is completely understandable that when given the choice between being able to shoot a film presently and waiting to shoot a film possibly nine to ten months down the line, one would choose to shoot the immediate film. However, it all appears to have worked out well in the end. While del Toro also said “Pacific Rim: Uprising” was ultimately a different story than the sequel he intended to direct, he was very happy with the end results:
“It’s going great. I see dailies every day, I see early cuts, I see teasers. They’re doing great. It lets him have his style, lets him have his notion of the characters. I wrote a screenplay, developed two or three drafts of that screenplay — this is different than what I developed, and I’m OK. A producer is in the corner, the director is in the ring. The producer’s not getting the punches, the director is, so shut up, wait in the corner, refresh the towel and wait for the director to come to you.”
Being flexible and understanding what is best for a project are key skills to have while work in the movie business. While it is interesting to ponder the “what might have been,” it is often best to focus on and be proud of the final result.
“Pacific Rim: Uprising” is set to be released February 23rd, 2018. [Collider]