Fox Searchlight has signed reigning Best Director Oscar winner Guillermo del Toro to an overall production deal, where he’ll create genre feature content like horror and science fiction.
Terms of the deal, brokered by division heads Nancy Utley and Stephen Gilula, will cover live action film projects to be written, produced and/or directed by del Toro. The studio, now the property of the Walt Disney Company, nabbed Best Picture this year for del Toro’s “The Shape of Water.”
The projects will be developed through a still-unnamed joint label. First up is “Antlers,” a film about an elementary school teacher who takes in a troubled student keeping a mysterious and deadly family secret.
Scott Cooper will direct from a script by Nick Antosca and Henry Chaisson, based on the short “The Quiet Boy” by Nick Antosca. Del Toro, David Goyer and J. Miles Dale will produce, with Kevin Turen serving as executive producer.
“In Fox Searchlight, I’ve found a real home for live action production — a partnership based on hard work, understanding of each other and, above all, faith … I am honored to have the opportunity to continue the relationship,” del Toro said in a statement.
“We have observed first-hand Guillermo at work as a director, a writer, a producer — a creator. We believe in him and the vision for a new Searchlight label and we are eager to embark on this journey with him,” said Utley and Gilula.
Read the announcement:
Fox Searchlight Pictures Presidents Stephen Gilula and Nancy Utley announced today that Fox Searchlight Pictures has signed a deal with Academy Award® winning director Guillermo del Toro that covers live action feature film projects to be written, produced and/or directed by del Toro. Fox Searchlight is also creating a new, soon to be named, label which will serve as a home for projects in the horror, sci-fi and fantasy genres, including those produced and curated by del Toro. Films will be financed, marketed and distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures.
“For the longest time, I’ve hoped to find an environment in which I can distribute, nurture and produce new voices in smart, inventive genre films and channel my own. In Fox Searchlight, I’ve found a real home for live action production — a partnership based on hard work, understanding of each other and, above all, faith. After the wonderful experience I had with Fox Searchlight on ‘The Shape of Water,’ I am honored to have the opportunity to continue the relationship. I am more than grateful to Nancy, Steve, David and Matthew for their trust in me and for joining me on this adventure,” said del Toro.
“Throughout the process of ‘The Shape of Water’ coming to life, we have observed first-hand Guillermo at work as a director, a writer, a producer — a creator. We believe in him and the vision for a new Searchlight label and we are eager to embark on this journey with him,” said Utley and Gilula.
“As well as being a brilliant filmmaker, Guillermo is a passionate collaborator, curator and advocate for other artists. Working with him on this new label, focused on the highest quality projects in the genre space, allows Searchlight to expand our reach to new filmmakers and new audiences around the world,” said David Greenbaum and Matthew Greenfield, Fox Searchlight Pictures’ Co-Heads of Production.
The first film in the pipeline will be ANTLERS, a story about an elementary school teacher who takes in a troubled student that harbors a mysterious family secret with deadly consequences. The film will be directed by Scott Cooper with a script written by Nick Antosca & Henry Chaisson, based on the short story The Quiet Boy by Nick Antosca. Guillermo Del Toro, David Goyer, and J. Miles Dale will produce, with Kevin Turen serving as executive producer.
Guillermo del Toro’s most recent film, THE SHAPE OF WATER, was honored with 13 Oscar nominations and won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Score and Best Production Design. In all, the film garnered more than 100 awards including the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and appeared on more than 70 critics’ lists of the year’s best films.
Del Toro earned international acclaim as the director, writer and producer of the 2006 fantasy drama PAN’S LABYRINTH which won three Academy Awards. He first gained recognition for the 1993 Mexican-American co-production CRONOS, a supernatural horror film, which he directed from his own screenplay after beginning his career working as a special effects makeup artist.
Del Toro’s other films include MIMIC, THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE, BLADE II, HELLBOY, HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY, PACIFIC RIM and CRIMSON PEAK.
Guillermo del Toro was represented by Gary Ungar of Exile Entertainment, Robert Newman of William Morris Endeavor and attorney George Hayum, Esq. from the law firm of Hirsch Wallerstein Hayum Matlof & Fishman LLP.