Guillermo Del Toro to Direct Action-Thriller Zanbato for J.J. Abrams & Bad Robot

Guillermo del Toro has lined up his next directorial project. The filmmaker behind The Shape of Water and Pacific Rim has signed on to write and direct Zanbato for J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot production company and Paramount. While it’s not clear exactly which of del Toro’s many projects will actually get the go-ahead after his Pinocchio movie for Netflix, this is something he’s been planning for some time.

According to a new report, Zanbato will center on a younger female with formidable fighting skills that will be somewhere between the ages of 10 and 15, drawing comparisons to Hit-Girl or the lead in Alita: Battle Angel. While sources had described the character as a ninja, Guillermo del Toro took to Twitter to confirm the project himself, which he says has been in development for six years, while refuting that element of the report. Here’s what he had to say about it.

“This has been in development for the last 6 years or so! Thanks to JJ maximum security system, it had not leaked. We are still developing steadily. Stay tuned here for news on which project shoots next. Pinocchio btw is already in active prepro in Portland, OR. BTW, Not a Ninja project.”

There are currently no other plot details available but the idea of Guillermo del Toro teaming up with J.J. Abrams in any capacity has a lot of potential. Del Toro, for his part, has laid somewhat low ever since winning big at the Oscars for The Shape of Water. Del Toro was awarded Best Director and the movie went on to win Best Picture. It was also a strong commercial success, bringing in $195 million worldwide. Some of del Toro’s other directing credits include the previous two Hellboy movies, Blade II, Pan’s Labyrinth and Crimson Peak.

While this does sound possibly thrilling, it may be a bit early to get too amped up. As the filmmaker himself revealed last year in some heartbreaking tweets, he’s developed tons of projects with completed screenplays over the years that never got the green light. Some of these include Justice League Dark, Fantastic Voyage, a new take on Beauty and the Beast and, perhaps the most talked about of all, At the Mountains of Madness, which would have starred Tom Cruise as an adaptation of the H.P. Lovecraft tale. That one got to the point where they were doing location scouting and were ready to go before the plug was pulled.

With that in mind, it’s possible something could happen and Zanbato won’t actually go in front of cameras. As Guillermo del Toro mentions, he’s currently prepping his darker take on Pinocchio, another passion project that Netflix finally ponied up the dough for. Beyond that, he’s also got a remake of Nightmare Alley on deck. We’ll see which one, or if something else entirely, actually gets the green light first. This news was first reported by Collider.