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Guillermo del Toro Talks Charlie Kaufman’s Abandoned ‘Slaughterhouse-Five’ Adaptation

Written by on November 14, 2012 

Since you could practically write a book about every film Guillermo del Toro almost-but-never made, a few are bound to slip through the mental cracks. You’ll be excused, then, for not remembering his planned adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut‘s surrealist masterpiece Slaughterhouse-Five, a years-old proposition which could have been, to semi-name a great Jonathan Demme film, something wild. Turns out it would’ve been even wilder than you’d dare to imagine.

Speaking to The Huffington Post, del Toro let us in on his idea to have Charlie Kaufman adapt the Vonnegut’s tome — the sort of idea for which the word “interesting” is bound to arise. Although that’s just how the director sums it up, as much couldn’t happen, since a financially-viable project, like Pacific Rim, had to get going. Slaughterhouse-Five was not that — needless to say, their film would require a lot to earn money at the box office — and had to be slowed down in the meantime.

Not that we know a good deal about their approach. All del Toro could really say is that his film would differ from George Roy Hill‘s adaptation — something he characterized as being “about flashbacks and flash-forwards” — by following the book’s lede and getting itself “detached from time.” With the use of a saying from the book’s fictional alien race (The Tralfamadorians) as a model — i.e., “Like we can see a mountain range. We can see the alive, we can see the dead, we can see ourselves at age five and we can see ourselves ancient. It makes no difference.” — one can tell something out there (or “very experimental”) was in mind.

Slaughterhouse-Five might not be forever gone, but the book is not in their possession — thus making it all the more improbable. Let’s just dream it ever coalesces.

Is interest piqued by the prospect of del Toro and Kaufman making Slaughterhouse-Five?

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