If I were asked to make a list of my favorite people, I'm sure Guillermo Del Toro would take up at least three or four spots on the list all by himself.
Sure, he's an amazing visual artist, with a rich and detailed imagination that seems to have no limits in scope or variety, and that is something you have to value in an age where we finally have technology that can keep up with him.
And, yes, I think he's got a wicked sense of humor that comes out only in the overtly comic moments in his movies but also in the way he plays things straight. He's not above playing around with the audience and the way they expect things to unfold. He'll tell you a story and he'll stick it to you with some violation of convention, and if you're onboard, you'll laugh, and if you're not, you'll wonder what kind of madman has control of the camera.
For years, Guillermo's been moving from studio to studio, looking for the right fit, and it appears that he and Thomas Tull have a love thing going on. “Pacific Rim” was a significant film for the studio because it was the first thing they developed, start to finish, in-house. They were starting to bristle at being described as Warner's financial partner and they wanted to show what they could do when they are the ones calling the shots in every department. For Guillermo, the film came at a time when he was still reeling from two major development frustrations in a row, and knowing Guillermo the way I do, I think there are few things that eat at him more than lost time.
There are so many stories he still wants to tell, so many characters he'd love to bring to life, and to make a movie the way he does it takes several years, a sort of immersion. You can't do that if you don't live and breathe it, and if you invest yourself into a film to that degree and it falls apart at the finish line, it can be crippling. I've seen Guillermo at his lowest, creatively speaking, and now he seems like he's on a personal high, and it's remarkable to see how happy he is.
We talked about the differences between his films “The Devil's Backbone” and “Pan's Labyrinth” and his new film “Crimson Peak,” and how different the system is in Europe. For Guillermo, “Crimson Peak” represents a collision between his foreign-language style and his blockbuster abilities, and it's exciting to see what he's doing. One of the reasons he feels energized right now is because of the relationship he's got developing with Thomas Tull, Jon Jashni, and Legendary Pictures.
“Thomas and I have a fantastic relationships. Jon and Thomas have made, in Legendary, a real filmmaker's home. And when people say, 'Who's your point person?', I say, 'Thomas or Jon.' It's that direct.”
If not for this relationship and Donna Langley at Universal, his new gothic horror film would not be happening. He explained, saying, “With 'Crimson,' Thomas read it, and he knew it was an adult movie. 'R-rated?' I said, 'R-rated.' And this is what's stopped me in the past. And he says, 'If you can do it for this number, it's R-rated.' And I say, 'I'll do it for that number.'”
I hope Legendary and Guillermo make films together for 50 years. I hope “Hellboy 3” and “At The Mountains Of Madness” and “Pacific Rim 2” are all among them. I hope “Crimson Peak” is everything Gordo wants it to be. It is a great time to be a Guillermo Del Toro fan, and it looks like it's a pretty great time to be him, as well.
“Crimson Peak” is in theaters October 16, 2015.