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Dude: Guillermo Del Toro

Lately Guillermo Del Toro’s name has been popping up all over the place, probably most prominently in association with the announcement that he’s going to be stepping into Peter Jackson’s shoes and directing the upcoming LORD OF THE RINGS prequels, THE HOBBIT (Which is being split into two films). Quite frankly, other than Jackson himself. I can’t think of anyone I’m keener on seeing fill that — most likely, broad — footwear.

My first introduction to Del Toro’s work was back in the early nineties when I stumbled across the Spanish movie CRONOS (Staring Ron Perlman). Cronos is a dark movie which, while blocky and heavy going at times, has a wonderful fantasy feel about it. Written and Directed by Del Toro, the movie tells of an old antique dealer who discovers a mysterious golden scarab which, when activated, stabs the possessor in the hand. The fun doesn’t end there though, the device brings eternal youth to the stabbie, along with other desirable side effects like the lust for human blood.

Del Toro hasn’t strayed far from the kind of dark / fantastic / horror world that he created in Cronos. He followed it with MIMIC, THE DEVIL’S BACK BONE, BLADE 2, HELLBOY and, of course, PAN’S LABYRINTH. In a recent interview with SSH he elaborated on his love of the genre:

I always felt very comfortable with the aesthetics of horror, but not very interested in the mechanism of it, you know the startle and the scare. I am very comfortable making creepy, eerie atmospheric things, but I am more interested in the life of the creatures and the monsters than I am making a mechanical version of horror and I am more interested in the aesthetics. I am finding that it is the dark, horror monster realm that I am enjoying the most. [source]

I think it’s safe to say that of all his works it’s his continued association with the Hellboy franchise that keeps me interested… Ok, The Hobbit has my attention too.

After Writing (along with Peter Briggs) and Directing Hellboy (starring Ron Perlman) Del Toro has taken a creative producers credit on the (so far) two Hellboy Animated movies: SWORD OF STORMS and BLOOD AND IRON. Both of these are great fun, however the second manages to feel much more like a complete film and gives me great hope that we’ll be seeing more Hellboy Animated movies.

HELLBOY 2: THE GOLDEN ARMY is currently in post production with its release set for July this year. So far, despite a smaller budget than the first Hellboy film, The Golden Army seems set to deliver some big action. I took some time to warm to the first film, but have since become a fan and HB2:TGA is high on my 2008 viewing calendar.

As for Del Toro, he’s got a pretty sweet dance card lined up. Along with The Hobbit, there’s 3993, a ghost story due for release in 2009, and an adaptation of a HP Lovecraft novella: AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS (rumoured to star Ron Perlman), for release in 2010.

On top of that, he’s just let it be very publicly known that he’s keen to direct an adaptation of Marvel Comics, Dr Strange. Personally, I think he’s the perfect guy for the job… the only question is: Will there be a role for Ron Perlman in it?

[source] [source]

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    He’s the dude…after Pan’s Labrynth, it’s nice to see him following up with a Hellboy sequel, something that might never have been made if he hadn’t done his little Spanish arthouse quirky horror fairy tale flick over the summer with a bunch of mates who looked damn pleased to win all those Academy Awards. Encouraging to think he might direct The Hobbit.

  • I enjoyed Pan’s Labyrinth a great deal – it reminded me of a Jim Henson Creature Workshop movie, but not shit.

    I’ve yet to see the animated hellboy films, but the first movie I really liked… Del Toro has an insane ability to humanise the bizarre.

    And from memory he’s best mates with Alfonso Cuaron – excellent company to be keeping

  • I think he is a wise choice for helming the Hobbit film(s) and am eagerly anticipating what him and PJ can come up with.

    I didn’t mind Hellboy, and the sequel looks ok, so should be interesting.

  • Yeah, he’s certainly shown that he understands the kind of source material to make something like The Hobbit.

    And when he really needs to, he can get his Michael Bay on and start blowing things up!

  • As long as it isn’t as scary/creepy as that crazy eyeball-hand thing from Pan’s! That was wild. So that pretty much gaurantees he is going to have an incredible eye for fantasy.

    Not many film-makers with such a limited directorial portfolio would have made it onto the short list for the next Hobbit films, so its a credit to him.

    Oh and I should check out CRONOS huh? Might see if my local DVD store *cough* has a copy. BAM!

  • Cronos is certainly a weird movie Morgs. Creepy as hell.

    The only *down side* is that it’s all in Spanish – so if your “video store” doesn’t have the version with subs, then this may help.

    THe plot is a bit hard to follow – and I don’t think the language barrier has much to do with that – but, over all, it’s probably worth watching just to see where the guy ‘came from’ (as far as his movies go).

    The Devil’s Backbone… now, there’s some suggestion that it’s actually based on Del Toro’s experiences as a kid… if that’s true, then it explains everything.