Guillermo del Toro directed the original Pacific Rim movie and the filmmaker had always hinted the possibility of a sequel to the sci-fi monster film, especially after the global success of the blockbuster. He reportedly announced some time in 2015 that pre-production of the second movie in the franchise had commenced under the title Pacific Rim: Maelstrom.
Later, production company Legendary Pictures reportedly announced an official title change on February 23, 2016, from Pacific Rim:Maelstrom to Pacific Rim: Uprising (apparently, Pacific Rim: Maelstrom was merely a working title) adding that del Toro was going to step aside to occupy the producer’s chair while he would be replaced by Starz’s Spartacus and Marvel-Netflix’s Daredevil showrunner Steven S. DeKnight as director. DeKnight teamed up with Emily Carmichael, Kira Snyder and T. S. Nowlin to write the Pacific Rim: Uprising screenplay, albeit the sequel’s script was initially supposed to be written by del Toro, Zak Penn Travis Beacham.
However, in a recent interview with Perri Nemiroff from Collider.com, del Toro gave a rationale for not directing the Pacific Rim sequel:
“The timing started to suck”, he started. “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.”
He admitted that DeKnight’s is redefining the franchise but he lets him do his thing “It was such a great choice. I mean I love [DeKnight], love what he does, I think he’s really brilliant. He’s making it his own. I’m not breathing over his shoulder saying, ‘What are you doing? What are you doing?’ He’s doing things differently and I like that. When I produce I try to produce the way I would like to be produced. I say to everyone I produce, ‘If you need me I will be there 100% all the time. If you don’t need me, I’m not there. You show me the cut then we’ll start interacting.”
The writer, director and producer also remarked DeKnight’s style and how the story is different from what he created: “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.”
Produced by Guillermo del Toro, Thomas Tull, John Boyega, Femi Oguns MBE, Mary Parent and Jon Jashni, Pacific Rim: Uprising stars John Boyega, Scott Eastwood, Cailee Spaeny and Jing Tian with Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day and Burn Gorman reprising their roles from the original movie.
Pacific Rim: Uprising is set to be released on February 23, 2018.
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