Is Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five En Route to the Big Screen?

Yes, indeed, if a highly regarded director and screenwriter have their say.


Guillermo del Toro’s latest project, Pacific Rim, will make its way to the big screen this Friday. But that’s hardly the sole reason he’s buzzworthy this week.

Hoosiers, movie enthusiasts, and surely those who fall into both camps are practically falling off the edges of their cinema seats as they wait for confirmation: Will one of Hollywood’s most-prized screenwriters, Charlie Kaufman, team up with the movie director for the next big novel-turned-film, a visual retelling of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five? Del Toro sure hopes so, and we do, too. He told Paste magazine, “Charlie Kaufman is a very expensive writer”—and yet fans would likely argue he’s well worth every cent. Kaufman has penned some great films over time, including 1999’s Being John Malkovich and Adaptation in 2002. Thankfully, director del Toro—who interestingly helmed 2006 fantasty/horror picture Pan’s Labyrinth—says he’s intent on making this team work. Even so, the tandem notably lacks a script at present.

Slaughterhouse-Five—a time-jumping sci-fi story set largely in Dresden, Germany, during World War II—harbors great potential as a film, of course. It largely draws on the iconic author’s own experience as a prisoner of Nazi forces during World War II. From alien characters dubbed Tralfamadorians to protagonist Billy Pilgrim’s near-death plane crash, this fantastical-historical tale would surely make the most levity-laden of splashes in theaters. That is, if it does get made. And if it doesn’t? Well, as Vonnegut himself would write, so it goes.

Say the book does make its leap to the silver screen: What do you most hope to see? Or is this a bad idea?

Del Toro photo via Facebook

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  • BrandtH

    Very exciting! Vonnegut’s zany and surreal world reflects the absurdity of our own and really bent my mind to different modes of thinking. His work has inspired my own visual arts for quite some time and I created a tribute illustration of the author with the help of an old typewriter. You can see it at and tell me how his work and words also affected you.

  • Jeff Downer

    A “Slaughter House Five” has been made before. It was released in 1972 and was directed by George Roy Hill.

    Vonnegut loved it : “I love George Roy Hill and Universal Pictures, who made a flawless translation of my novel Slaughterhouse-Five to the silver screen … I drool and cackle every time I watch that film, because it is so harmonious with what I felt when I wrote the book.”