Guillermo del Toro was born October 9, 1964 in Guadalajara Jalisco, Mexico. Raised by his Catholic grandmother, del Toro developed an interest in filmmaking in his early teens. Later, he learned about makeup and effects from the legendary Dick Smith (The Exorcist (1973)) and worked on making his own short films. At the age of 21, del Toro executive produced his first feature, Dona Herlinda and Her Son (1986). Del Toro spent almost 10 years as a makeup supervisor, and formed his own company, Necropia in the early 1980s. He also produced and directed Mexican television programs at this time, and taught film.
del Toro got his first big break when Cronos (1993) won nine academy awards in Mexico, then went on to win the International Critics Week prize at Cannes. Following this success, del Toro made his first Hollywood film, Mimic (1997), starring Mira Sorvino.
del Toro had some unfortunate experiences working with a demanding Hollywood studio on Mimic (1997), and returned to Mexico to form his own production company, The Tequila Gang.
Next for del Toro, was The Devil's Backbone (2001), a Spanish Civil War ghost story. The film was hailed by critics and audiences alike, and del Toro decided to give Hollywood another try. In 2002, he directed the Wesley Snipes vampire sequel, Blade II (2002).
On a roll, Del Toro followed up Blade II (2002) with another successful comic-book inspired film, Hellboy (2004), starring one of Del Toro's favorite actors, Ron Perlman.
Married with children, del Toro lives in Los Angeles.
|Lorenza Newton||(? - present) 2 children|
Often uses insects or insect imagery
Uses a lot of religious relics and artifacts. Always mentions Catholicism
Archangels, symbols and other religious items
Frequently works with cinematographer Guillermo Navarro
One or more of his protagonists are often strongly and pivotally influenced by their father figures.
Became a vegetarian after seeing The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) but only for four years. Currently, he's no longer a vegetarian.
Fought the film studios for almost seven years to get Ron Perlman for the title role in Hellboy (2004). The studio wanted a bigger name to ensure the success of the movie, but del Toro thought that Perlman was the perfect choice and wouldn't make the movie if he wasn't cast.
Has a photographic memory.
1997: His father was kidnapped in Mexico and held for seventy-two days until his ransom was paid.
In a January 2007 interview on the radio program "Fresh Air with Terry Gross," said that his strictly Catholic grandmother was a "Piper Laurie in Carrie (1976)" figure in his childhood. He told Gross that his grandmother would require him to mortify himself in self-punishment, in one case placing metal bottle caps into his shoes so that the soles of his feet were bloodied while walking to school. She also tried to exorcise him twice because of his persistent interest in fantasy and drawing monsters from his imagination.
His favorite movie monsters are Frankenstein's Monster and the Creature of the Black Lagoon.
In 2007, he was one of 10 Mexican Oscar-nominees. The others were Alejandro González Iñárritu, Guillermo Arriaga, Adriana Barraza, Alfonso Cuarón, Guillermo Navarro, Emmanuel Lubezki, Eugenio Caballero, Pilar Revuelta and Fernando Cámara.
Lost 45 lbs. while making Pan's Labyrinth (2006), which he admitted in the DVD's video prologue.
Turned down the chance to direct Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996).
States Mimic (1997) as the worst of his films and has disowned it, blaming constant interference from the producers as the reason for the poor result.
Dec. 2007 - Ranked #37 on EW's The 50 Smartest People in Hollywood.
Was asked to direct End of Days (1999), but he turned it down.
His movie and comic book collection is so huge that he had to buy an extra home to accommodate it.
Is good friends with director Robert Rodriguez.
States The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) as his favorite movie.
In an article in USA Today (August 22, 2011), del Toro listed his 6 favorite fright flicks: "Freaks" (1932), "The Uninvited" (1944), "The Innocents" (1961), "Jaws" (1975), "Alien" (1979), and "The Shining" (1980).
When you have the intuition that there is something which is there, but out of the reach of your physical world, art and religion are the only means to get to it.
Aside from being a perfect Hellboy, he is a gentleman, a friend to die for, a great actor and - for the ladies - he has the sexiest male voice this side of Barry White. What more can one ask for? - On Ron Perlman, 2002.
I remember the worst experience of my life, even above the kidnapping of my father, was shooting Mimic (1997) [del Toro's first Hollywood feature, in 1997, which was severely compromised by producer interference]. Because what was happening to me and the movie was far more illogical than kidnapping, which is brutal, but at least there are rules. Now when I look at Mimic, what I see is the pain of a deeply flawed creature that could have been so beautiful.
It would be a cliché to say that, because I am a Mexican, I see death in a certain way. But I have seen more than my share of corpses, certainly more than the average First World guy. I worked for months next to a morgue that I had to go through to get to work. I've seen people being shot; I've had guns put to my head; I've seen people burnt alive, stabbed, decapitated ... because Mexico is still a very violent place. So I do think that some of that element in my films comes from a Mexican sensibility.
The sign of a true friendship is when you can forgive success.
These shots are not eye-candy, they are, to me, eye-protein. - regarding Pan's Labyrinth (2006).
My life is a suitcase. I am the traveling Mexican.
That's what I love about fairy tales; they tell the truth, not organized politics, religion or economics. Those things destroy the soul. That is the idea from Pan's Labyrinth and it surfaces in Hellboy and, to some degree, in all my films.
On Stanley Kubrick: I admire Kubrick greatly. He is often accused of being a prodigious technician and rigid intellectual, which people say makes his films very cold. I don't agree. I think that "Barry Lyndon" or "A Clockwork Orange" are the most perfect marriages of personality and subject. But in fact, "Full Metal Jacket" is even more so. It looked at rigidity and brutality with an almost clinical eye. It is, for me, a singular film about the military, about war and its consequences. The famous scenes, like the induction with R Lee Ermey where he renames the soldiers and reshapes them into sub-human maggots, had a particular impact on me. Also the suicide scene with Vincent D'Onofrio in the bathroom. And the sniper set-piece at the end. Those are absolutely virtuoso pieces of filmmaking.
I think that 50 percent of the narrative is in the audio/visual storytelling. I happened to think the screenplay is the basis of it all, but definitely doesn't tell the movie. It tells the story, but doesn't tell the whole movie. A lot of the narrative is in the details.
History is ultimately an inventory of ghosts.
If you're not operating on an instinctive level, you're not an artist.... Reason over emotion is bullshit, absolute bullshit... We suffocate ourselves in rules. I find fantasy liberating.
Do whatever the fuck you want, even if it's wrong, and then tell about it with honesty. That is filmmaking to me...Success is fucking up on your own terms.
[At San Diego Comic-Con]: I fabricate everything. There's not a single real thing in Pan's Labyrinth, because ultimately I'm very specific about [those details]. Context is everything in a fable, because every story has already been told. So the only variations I find are the voice of the storyteller and the context in which it's told.
'Stanley Kubrick''s absolute control over the medium turns his rock-solid framing and tense timing into real weapons pointed directly at the unsuspecting audience of The Shining (1980). No one has ever used the Steadicam as perfectly as he did in the tracking shots behind Torrance, Danny's tricycle. He uses the soundtrack brilliantly, fusing concrete music with sound effects and score to unsettle and position the uber-mannered, hyper-real performances of his actors. And, refreshingly, Kubrick is not above moments of Grand Guignol: the elevator doors spilling blood, the axe on the chest, the Grady twins bathed in blood or the old undead crone festering in the bathtub. He proves that great horror can be both shocking and a highly artistic endeavor.
[on what scares him] (jokingly) Politicians -- a lot. They are so deranged, especially these days. And human pettiness. Oh my God that's scary. It's so horrifying. I've seen a UFO, and I've heard ghosts twice -- once in New Zealand and once in Mexico, but those are not the scariest things. The scary things are real things like every day.
[on celebrating Hallowe'en] I've been making myself up as a nasty zombie and playing the character really straight, never breaking and not giving out candy. I wander my neighbourhood with an eye socket gone, moaning and groaning, and the kids all freak out. But this year my wife and daughter begged me to go as a pirate, so that's what I'm doing. But I recommend everybody who has the option, to scare trick-or-treaters and freak out as many people as they can.
The horror story was birthed when we became sedentary cavemen and started telling scary stories to keep the children from wandering off into the night. Today, there's nothing more cathartic for a guy in a three-piece suit, someone super wound-up and super-tight, to get on a roller-coaster of a horror film and scream like a madman.
I like pictures that are perverse and intelligent, something that you actually take home with you. 'Black Sabbath' might not make you jump every minute but [Mario] Brava makes indefatigable images and [Jack] Clayton's so creepy and powerful he's going to outlive the filmmakers going for short-term scares.
[on what attracts him to genre films] The beauty and the horror. These directors have made great works of art in a genre that most people just throw in the garbage bin, that they don't think is important. But 'the Innocents' is as powerful a film as you'll see in any genre. It towers above other films.
I hate Hollywood movies with children as happy, brainless creatures that spout one-liners. What I tried to put in The Devil's Backbone (2001) is how unsafe it is to be a child. Many times in my life I saw children almost kill each other.
[on whether he was thinking of directing a Star Wars sequel] It's like thinking if I want to date a supermodel. I don't think about these things.
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