EXCLUSIVE: Guillermo del Toro has committed to make the ghost story Crimson Peak the next film he will direct. Even though del Toro set up that project originally from a script he wrote with frequent collaborator Matthew Robbins, he will make the film for Legendary Pictures, which backed his latest film, Pacific Rim. Legendary will produce with the expectation it will release through its deal with Warner Bros. Legendary will be a participating financing partner, with Universal retaining an option to come in as co-financier at a later date.

Del Toro will work through a rewrite with Lucinda Coxon and they will shoot for an early 2014 production start. That gives del Toro the time to complete press for Pacific Rim and to film the FX pilot for The Strain, the series based on the vampire novel series del Toro wrote with Chuck Hogan.

Del Toro tells me that Crimson Peak is best described as “a very set-oriented, classical but at the same time modern take on the ghost story. It will allow me to play with the conventions of the genre I know and love, and at the same time subvert the old rules.”

The main thing: Legendary will give him the resources he needs to honor what he calls the “grand dames” of the haunted house genre. “To me that is Robert Wise’s The Haunting, which was a big movie, beautifully directed, with the house built magnificently. And the other grand daddy is Jack Clayton’s The Innocents. I’ve always tried to make big-sized horror movies like the ones I grew up watching,” del Toro said. “Films like The Omen, The Exorcist and The Shining, the latter of which is another Mount Everest of the haunted house movie. I loved the way that Kubrick had such control over the big sets he used, and how much big production value there was. I think people are getting used to horror subjects done as found footage or B-value budgets. I wanted this to feel like a throwback.” (more…)