Del Toro: The Future Of Storytelling Is Transmedia

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He may have multiple movies in various states of pre-production, but Pan’s Labyrinth‘s Guillermo del Toro isn’t just thinking in terms of cinema. Talking to Collider at the Toronto International Film Festival this weekend, he revealed that he’s also developing television shows and working with Dreamworks Animation on as-yet-unannounced projects. Why? Because, he says, storytellers of the future will need to be able to do all of this:

I’m learning, because I want to learn animation, I want to learn video games, I want to learn every… I want to learn book publishing and I want to learn TV. Why? Because, as a storyteller, I’m convinced that in the next five to ten years, we’re going to need to know all of that. All of that… People talk about transmedia, and then some people are very radical and say “That’s not possible,” or “That would be the end of civilization.” I think it’s going to happen. I don’t think it’s going to happen for all things, I think there will be films that will be films, and games that will be games, and so on and so forth. But more and more, things are going to be permeable.

In particular, he seems fired up about the narrative possibilities offered by television:

The best writing I’ve seen in the last few years is Breaking Bad. Before that, it was The Wire… I think the freedom – I think the episode “The Fly” on Breaking Bad, it’s almost a short story, it’s literature. I love that episode, how loose – I compare it to the episode of The Sopranos where they get lost in the woods. It’s a beautiful, literary meandering, and that freedom, you cannot have in a movie – You cannot have in a commercial movie, let me rephrase that – Even in a movie with three acts and ninety to a hundred and twenty minutes, you don’t get that freedom, because you have the Aristotelian act one, act two, act three yolk. You have to hit those things. In a TV program like Breaking Bad, like The Sopranos, and The Wire, you don’t need to pay off. You don’t need to tie neatly, so the structure is far looser.

While he doesn’t drop any hints as to what kinds of television he’s currently working on – beyond seeming appalled at the prospect of it being network television, amusingly – the idea of weekly del Toro, feeling the ability to wander off on whatever tangents that might interest him, is a very exciting one. AMC or HBO, give this man a phone call already.

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