With giant monsters all set to rise from a portal beneath the Pacific Ocean and challenge the human race this weekend in Guillermo del Toro’s latest flick Pacific Rim, the Mexican director is the flavour of the week. Many would know him as the writer and director of the dark fantasy film of 2006, Pan’s Labyrinth, that earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay, or the Hellboy movie series which brought the fictional Dark Horse Comics character to life with style and ferocity. But there are lot more other things of interest from del Toro’s life and works, a few of which we felt like sharing.
–> Guillermo del Toro has a fascination for monsters. Not a casual fascination but a freakishly strong one. He started directing work with a Mexican vampire flick, Cronos (1993), then followed it up with more horror flicks like Mimic and The Devil’s Backbone. The monsters may look different in the Hellboy series, but they never went away, and the darkness swayed back in Pan’s Labyrinth. Del Toro’s monsters continue to exist, but have grown enormously in size when they will be unleashed in Pacific Rim. His love for Frankenstein though remains unblemished, on which he says he has a “Frankenstein fetish to a degree that is unhealthy”. No wonder he is associated with a remake of the Frankenstein movie and who is there on his wishlist as of now… Benedict Cumberbatch! Would be interesting to see if that story goes anywhere.
–> Guillermo del Toro directs what he writes. Well, almost. While he has not been the most prolific of directors, having worked on only eight movies in a 20-year directing career, he’s credited as a writer or a co-writer for seven of those. The odd one out? Blade II. That one was written by David Goyer (yep, Man of Steel writer) who wrote the story for the original Blade movie. We are guessing del Toro could not say no to a vampire superhero action film!
–> Guillermo del Toro in a Bond flick! Who would have seen that coming? But when del Toro does take a break from his writing, producing and directing work, he ‘moonlights’ as a voice-over artist! Most notably, he had a cameo in the Bond film Quantum of Solace providing multiple voices for the members of the Bolivian army (in fact fellow Mexican renowned director Alfonso Cuarón played a Bolivian helicopter pilot in the same movie). That’s not all. Del Toro has also featured as one of the voices for the strange creature in Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (a movie he had written), and also has had uncredited voice cameos in Diary of the Dead and Hellboy II: The Golden Army. Now that is how you take a break!
–> While Pacific Rim boasting of a production budget of about $180 million would turn out to be the costliest movie directed by Guillermo del Toro, it may very well not have been if things in New Zealand had gone as per plans. For del Toro had been brought on board to direct one of the great spectacles in modern movie making, The Hobbit series of course (which then was planned as a two-movie series). But the financial difficulties being faced by the studio MGM had endlessly stalled the production, and eventually after a two year association with the movie, del Toro had to quit so as to take care of future commitments. A heartbreaking setback for both the director and his fans, indeed! One made quite evident in this explanation he posted on onering.net — “Trust me on this – leaving NZ and the Hobbit crew is extremely painful.” The first of The Hobbit movies released late last year with Peter Jackson resuming directorial duties but Guillermo del Toro is still credited as part of the screenplay team.
–> Cha Cha Cha Films. Catchy, right? That is the name of the film production company started by Guillermo del Toro along with other two acclaimed directors of Mexico, Alfonso Cuarón and Alejandro González Iñárritu. There haven’t been many movies yet released under this banner, only three infact, but the last was the Mexican film Biutiful which was nominated at the Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film and also got Javier Bardem his third Academy nomination.
So that’s a little bit more on Guillermo Del Toro. We could keep talking about him, for instance his interest in building a movie around the side-characters of the DC Universe such as John Constantine, Swamp Thing and The Spectre. But some things can be left for another day. Right now, it is time to get ready for a massive showdown between the gigantic aliens and the humans in Pacific Rim, and be mesmerized by the Guillermo del Toro magic.