If it isn’t regretted then it’s definitely sad. That 16 years have been spent and yet the dream has been left unfulfilled. Dreams can be a very touchy subject for almost everyone but nonetheless even after you have won an Oscar the thirst to see more of your works making it to the big screen is a major source of inspiration.
The most intriguing reply, revealing that he has quite the vault of unproduced screenplays just waiting to be unlocked. “By my count, I have written or co-written around 33 screenplay features. 2-3 made by others, 11 made by me (Pinocchio in progress) so- about 20 screenplays not filmed. Each takes 6-10 months of work, so roughly 16 years are gone. Just experience and skill improvement.”
More than a decade but yet some are left unfinished, some collecting dust. The director indeed has some artistic gems hidden in his drawer but his biggest enemy here is the time. He also wrote an adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo, but set in Mexico as a “steampunk gothic western.” Del Toro also spent years working on Hellboy 3, an adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness, and a Justice League Dark movie that would have explored a different kind of superhero team for the DCEU. But they were all doomed to development hell before del Toro made his exit altogether.
Doctor Strange and Sinister director Scott Derrickson also chimed in with his own accounting of unproduced scripts: “I had a 5 year run before The Exorcism of Emily Rose during which I was paid to write or rewrite 13 screenplays — none of them got made. I was earning a good living but all of my creativity would be read by just a handful of executives. It caused a kind of soul sickness in me. Presumably, it is something that most people can relate to.
But at the end of the day writing scripts isn’t similar to writing books it’s more like creating something for someone and keeping the constraints in mind these add your own creativity to produce something within that limited time frame.