When news was came recently that director Guillermo del Toro was writing a series of vampire novels with author Chuck Hogan, headlines and columns across the internet rang out in chorus: committed for the next four years to “The Hobbit” and some half dozen projects after that, del Toro was already straining, spreading himself too thin. He would never -- how could he ever -- possibly find the time?
Problem is, the story isn’t true, del Toro told MTV News. He’s not writing a series of vampire books with Chuck Hogan – he wrote them.
“It looks incredibly busy and baroque, but everything has its own place. These things seem to happen simultaneously, but the reality is they are announced simultaneously,” the affable and visionary director said. “The novels – it’s been written already. Chuck Hogan and I have been collaborating for over a year. I wrote the outline for that novel almost two years ago.”
It’s a good thing too, given the “epic” scope del Toro envisions for the project, which traces the lore of vampires all the way from antiquity to the modern age – the type of vampire story that isn’t really told anymore, the type that owes as much to Mesopotamian myths as it does to Bram Stoker.
Indeed, even just a cursory search of vampires on Wikipedia reveals legends and tales of the undead from nearly every culture in history – stories of deceased Eastern Europeans rising from their graves or Old Testament bloodsuckers hungry for a next meal.
And if those ancient stories aren’t really told anymore, well, that’s exactly what attracts them to del Toro, the director said, adding that the release of the trilogy will culminate a lifetime’s worth of fascination with and love for those myths, ideas he’s been “keeping in [his] notebooks ever since the mid-90s.”
“I wanted to find a place to create a vampiric epic that takes you all the way to the modern day, to find out when the vampires started - going beyond Mesopotamian myth, going beyond all of that,” del Toro grinned. “Not the attractive, Brad Pitt-esque, decadent lovers that have sex. I wanted to make them like an alternate species and an alternate spiritual creature to man, and the idea is that the series will flesh out that re-invented vampiric myth - respectful of the lore, but taking you through the ages.”
But while the story will go through history, it’ll start in modern times, del Toro said, revealing details about the first novel’s plot for the first time.
“The first novel is sort of a procedural horror novel, which starts at an investigation of a plane that is essentially like the ship in [Stoker’s] ‘Dracula’ - it just stopped and everybody on board was dead,” del Toro teased, referencing “The Dementer,” a ship Dracula boards to London which arrives with just the Captain alive – the rest of the crew victim to the winged one’s thirst for blood. “And an investigation ensues.
“And what happens is an epidemic,” he continued, connecting disease to the first novel’s title, “The Strain.” “But it’s an epidemic unlike I believe the stuff that is [big] in vampiric fiction.”
“The Strain” will get released sometime next summer.