Score one for Dreamworks. The studio has signed a multi-year exclusive deal with The Shape of Water director Guillermo del Toro to write, produce, and direct animated family films for the studio.
Del Toro is no stranger to the studio, having worked with them for the last decade. He is the creator and executive producer of the Dreamworks Animation Television series Trollhunters, and its soon-to-arrive offshoots, 3 Below and Wizards. On the feature film side, del Toro has been an executive producer on Rise of the Guardians, Puss in Boots, and Kung Fu Panda 3, and also served as a creative consultant for Kung Fu Panda 2 and Megamind.
In addition to creating movies, del Toro will take a hands-on role at the studio, working with DreamWorks Animation Film Group president Chris deFaria and other artists and technologists at the studio to help advance Dreamworks’ pilot programs for developing new production techniques and cross-platform storytelling.
“We are thrilled that Guillermo is adding a film partnership to the already successful television relationship he has with DreamWorks Animation,” said deFaria in a statement. “He is truly a one-of-a-kind artist, and we are eager to see his imagination on full display in the family animated feature space. Guillermo has a unique talent for creating memorable worlds and characters, and we believe the films we create with him will resonate with animation audiences for many generations to come. I am personally very excited to extend the long working relationship I have enjoyed with Guillermo and look forward to him also collaborating with us on some of our breakthrough advancements in technology and innovation.”
Added del Toro: “Animation is an art form that has influenced my work greatly since childhood. To me, it’s the perfect medium to bring to life any and all ideas, no matter how outlandish or wild. I am eager to work with Chris and the talented artists at DreamWorks – some of the most talented people in the business – to make these images a reality.”
As part of the arrangement, del Toro has taken up offices at Dreamworks’ Glendale campus.
In addition to Shape of Water, which won 4 Academy Awards this year including best picture and best director, del Toro’s other films include Hellboy, Pacific Rim, The Devil’s Backbone, Pan’s Labyrinth, and Crimson Peak.
Update: On Twitter, Del Toro pointed out that the Dreamworks deal isn’t brand-new: “The DWA animation deal is not a new deal. It’s a re-upping. I have been there about a decade now! Happy to stay!” This is somewhat different from the press release that Dreamworks sent out earlier today, which was structured in such a way to suggest that the deal was new, starting with its headline: “Guillermo del Toro joins Dreamworks Animation in an exclusive deal to write, produce and direct animated family features.”