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A few weeks ago it was reported that Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy director Guillermo del Toro spends time each week at DreamWorks Animation developing upcoming projects, acting as a creative consultant on several specific projects. This entails helping out on design or story, and other things he’s executive producing and developing, none of those projects have been announced yet… that is until today.

The Hollywood Reporter has word that Guillermo del Toro will develop, write, and direct Trollhunters for DreamWorks Animation. You might remember that this project was originally set-up at Walt Disney Pictures, as one of the projects on the short lived Disney Double Dare You production label (which was set-up to create new animated films “full of chills and thrills for audiences of all ages”). Apparently, del Toro’s frequent director of photography Guillermo Navarro (who has served as a cinematography consultant on the Madagascar movies) pushed the filmmaker towards DreamWorks Animation after Double Dare You fell apart.

The project is based on a young-adult book del Toro completed and submitted to book publisher Hyperion two weeks ago. Here is a quote from del Toro:

“I wanted very much to develop a story that could be written for kids but dealt with a genre that was scary. It essentially combines fairy tales with modern times and is about how difficult it is to be kid. Normally, kids are idealized in animated films. But the growing pains, married with the notion that there is a world right next to us that is completely plagued by creatures of ancient lore, it’s thematically fitting with the rest of my stuff.”

Del Toro has already started writing the screenplay for Trollhunters and plans to have a first draft finished before he shoots At the Mountains of Madness. The article says that del Toro is beginning his fourth week of design work with Lightstorm Entertainment on the project, and is “having a summit with Universal in three weeks at which he and his team will present a budget, art and maquettes to the studio’s execs.”

Guillermo will also serve as executive producer on several projects already in development, including Kung Fu Panda 2, the Shrek spin-off/prequel Puss in Boots and one yet-to-be-revealed project. His also did a lot of fix-up work on Dreamworks Animation’s next film Megamind, helping with “the editing and structure of the movie, hoping to give it a brisker rhythm.”

It is interesting to see the evolution of DreamWorks Animation. It seems like Jeffrey Katzenberg has quickly turned his focus to hiring and employing top creative talent from the world of film to help build future projects for the company. Oscar-winning cinematographer Roger Deakins served as adviser on the lighting in How to Train Your Dragon, and Charlie Kaufman did some rewrite work on the Kung Fu Panda sequel. It will be interesting to see if these decisions will help lessen the gap between DWA and Pixar’s end product.

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