Guillermo del toro next project -vampire trilogy
Oscar-winning Mexican director Guillermo del Toro, known for making films like “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “Hellboy”, is all ready to spook the audience, but this time he is using his pen instead of the camera with his book on vampires “The Strain”. But he has no plans to make a movie on the subject.
“No, it is not a film. Cinema is far too compressed a form … I believe it would be ideal to create a limited cable series out of it and not to extend it into a network run, where characters die only when the ratings do,” Guillermo del Toro told IANS in an e-mail interview from Hollywood.
Del Toro has co-authored a vampire trilogy with acclaimed crime fiction writer and Hammett award winner Chuck Hogan of the “The Standoff” fame. “The Strain”, first of the widely publicised three-book series, was published in India by HarperCollins-India in November.
“All my life, I have been fascinated by vampires, but always from a naturalist’s point of view. When I was a kid, I loved the ‘Night Stalker’ and I fell in love with the idea writers of the book Richard Matheson and Jeff Rice posited in the novel of exploring a creature of such powerful stature through the point of view of a common worker, a man used to dealing with things in a procedural way.
“Just another day at the job … Since then, I was inspired to write one,” said Del Toro.
The second book is titled the “The Fall” and the third “The Night Eternal”, Del Toro said.
The series begins with a slice out of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”. A Boeing 777 lands at JFK International Airport. It stops on the tarmac. The aeroplane is full of dead corpses and a strange coffin filled with dirt is found in the cargo hold. It ferries in Jusef Sardu, a vampire known as the “Master” to the US from the old world.
A doctor investigates the “virus” that killed them and in the process is introduced to another V word: Vampire.
What ensues is a clash between the old world and the new world vampires. Three vampires – dating back to the ancient era – inhabit the new world (US) while four stay in old worlds of Europe and Asia. Together they make up the “seven ancients”.
“This dramatic novel, you may say, grew out of appetite and scope. I love the short story form as a reader, but if a novel has a terse structure, I find it far more immersive and fulfilling,” DelToro said.
Comparing his book with his movies, he said: ” ‘Cronos’, my first movie, was meant to be a rephrasing of the genre. I love the rephrasing of an old myth. When I tackled ‘Blade II’, I approached it with a myriad of ideas about vampire biology, but only a few of those made it into thefilm. Tonally, the movie needed to be an action film and some of the biological stuff was too disturbing already…
“I love the idea of the biological, the divine and the evolutionary angles to explain the origin and function of the vampire genus,” del Toro said.
Outlining the plot of the second novel, the filmmaker said: “The second novel is rather crepuscular. Mankind loses its advantage and we see what the future holds for the vampiric race while tracking the mythical origins of it all.
“We revisit familiar memories and learn more about characters that leads us to an unexpected alliance. New York is under martial law and finding a way out of it becomes a major subplot. The third novel is absolutely enormous both in its implications and its reach. It rephrases vampirism in a completely fresh way. Only a trilogy could do justice to it.”
Talking about his co-author Hogan, Del Toro said that “it was a true collaboration”.
“I once created a ‘bible’ for the book. It contained most of the structural ideas and characters. Chuck (Hogan) then took his pass on it and invented new characters and ideas. Fet (one of my favourite characters in the book) was completely invented by him,” he said.