This holiday season, Guillermo del Toro fans will be getting a magical gift with “The Shape Of Water.” It’s a breathtakingly beautiful, tremendously moving film, and it sees the director operating at the height of his storytelling powers. There is awards season buzz building around the movie, with good reason, and if del Toro wants to take a year off, as much as we’re disappointed it’ll be a number of years until his next film — he’s earned it.

Speaking with journalists in Mexico this week, del Toro revealed that as far as directing movies is concerned, it’s going to be a while before he gets back behind the camera. “I’m taking a sabbatical for a year as a director. I was going to do ‘Fantastic Voyage,’ but after ‘The Shape of Water’ I need to take pause,” he explained.

The filmmaker didn’t elaborate on the reasons he’s taking a breather, but it’s not like he won’t be busy. As a producer, he’s got projects developing with Bertha Navarro and Patricia Riggen, and then there are countless scripts and projects he was in various stages of readiness. One of the most infamous is “Silver,” about a Mexican masked wrestler who discovers that all politicians are vampires. However, that screenplay is only half-done, though del Toro says, “Alfonso [Cuarón] is giving me a really hard time on this: ‘Any chance you’ll finish the screenplay?’ ”

And then there’s that project about Michael Mann, first reported as a documentary, though it appears it could take on another shape.

So, there’s lots to do for del Toro, but unfortunately across the next year, directing won’t be one of them.

“The Shape Of Water” opens on December 1st. [Variety]