Guillermo del Toro is a positive man.
You have to be positive with a schedule like his. The director and visionary, who began his film work back in the early 80’s studying under one of the great masters (we’ll get to that later), is on quite the run these days. Since winning nine Mexican Academy Awards for his breakout vampire classic, Cronos, back in 1993, the auteur has been on a tear in Hollywood, and he hasn’t looked back.
With the Pacific Rim Blu-ray/DVD hitting the shelves this week, what better to do than take a long look at the director of such rollicking films as Hellboy and Blade II. Here’s ten things you should know about Guillermo del Toro…
1. He’s an Author
Beginning back in June of 2009, del Toro and writer Chuck Hogan set upon creating a trilogy of gothic, vampire tales—starting with The Strain—that earned some pretty good reviews. This month, he’s releasing his artistic musings and film notes in a large compendium entitled Cabinet of Curiosities. You see? He can do more than just make amazing films.
2. He directed This Year’s Simpson’s Treehouse of Horror Intro
In one of the most reference-filled animated montages of all time, del Toro masterfully created what is easily one of the most dynamic, entertaining and hilarious introductions to an episode of The Simpsons ever. Just check out the video for yourself and see if you can spot all the references in this piece of work, directed by del Toro himself. Mr. del Toro even stated in an interview recently that he’d love to direct a sequence on one of The Simpson’s Treehouse of Horror episodes in the future. Here’s keeping our fingers crossed!
3. He’s Already Working On A Sequel To Pacific Rim
While he and his writing partner Travis Beacham are busy writing the sequel to one of this summer’s biggest hits (10th highest grossing film of the year so far) it’s still not set in stone as to whether or not we’ll be seeing a sequel to Pacific Rim. Here’s the dilemma: while the film made $407 million worldwide, it only grossed a bit over the $100 million mark here domestically. With a price tag of a whopping $200 million plus, that doesn’t leave a lot of breadcrumbs left on the table for producers, so whether or not we’ll be seeing the giant robots fighting the Kaiju again remains to be seen. One thing is for sure though; Pacific Rim 2 will at least live on paper somewhere in Guillermo del Toro’s house.
4. He’s Directing For TV Too
The visionary director is bringing his ghoulish touch to the pilot of a TV series titled The Strain, based on the trilogy of books he co-wrote (mentioned earlier, of course). del Toro, who if you haven’t guessed by now has a thing for vampires (Cronos, Blade II), should do a fine job launching this could-be series onto the FX network by directing the pilot episode. Of course, with True Blood and other shows and films overpopulating the media with blood-drenched, fanged freaks some might say this is too much. Then others might say: “This is Guillermo del Toro we’re talking about here. He makes gold.”
5. He’s a Busy, Busy Man
If you thought his plate was full with Pacific Rim, The Simpsons, The Strain and his literary ventures, well then watch as this man heaps on more servings. As soon as he’s done shooting The Strain—which he is doing as we speak—he’s venturing into making what he thinks will be his most beautiful and haunting vision yet: Crimson Peak. Del Toro’s take on the haunted house genre has a bevy of stars including Charlie Hunnam (Pacific Rim), Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston (Thor), and Mia Wasikowska. Is it safe to say that del Toro is like the Mexican Tim Burton?
6. He’s Directing a Darker Animated Version of Pinocchio
I just don’t want to hear anymore. That’s enough. del Toro and Pinocchio? But darker? Sold. I’m there. I’ll take my Pinocchio darker any day, and with the Mexican director pulling the strings, I have nothing but blessed birds fluttering out of my chest cavity…birds of joy. Okay, I don’t know where I was going with that metaphor, but the point is how awesome would that sequence inside the whale be in the hands of a master like del Toro?
7. He Almost Made A Video Game Called inSANE
GDT seems like the right kind of guy to help create a video game with his otherworldly visions, but this piece of the gaming puzzle just hasn’t found it’s place yet. First announced at the Video Game Awards back in 2010, inSANE was supposed to be del Toro’s coming out party for the video gaming world. Developer THQ canned the project in 2012, but del Toro maintains that he’ll still create an iteration of the game one way or another. We’ll probably just have to wait a few years (he’s tied up for at least the next two years with Crimson Peak).
I honestly don’t care if del Toro directs Cheetos commercials for the next twenty years until one day he unfortunately chokes on a sub and passes; he is one of the best directors ever. And how can I speechify such a stately and commodious proclamation? Because he friggin’ made Pan’s Labyrinth. It’s one of the most engrossing, heartfelt and visually stunning films of all time. I can watch that movie on a loop and still get choked up every single time at the end. And let’s not dismiss Cronos, which is one of the best vampire flicks ever made. So, let’s just all agree that “The Bull” (that’s my nickname for him whenever we hang out…I actually just have a cardboard cut-out of him that I take with me to bowling alleys) is awesome.
9. GDT Has A Home Dedicated To His Craft and Curiosities
Called “The Bleak House”, the home features blood-red curtains and contains all of the various creatures, from his movies and others, that he has collected over the years. The house also features an impressive library, with some books dating back to the 1700’s. It’s not just all play at “The Bleak House” though. del Toro uses the creepy manor as his base of operations for his many projects.
10. The Guy Who Did the Make-Up For The Exorcist Mentored del Toro
del Toro is not only known for his great directing chops, but his creature creation and make-up skills are not too shabby either. You can put some of the blame for that on the shoulders of Dick Smith, the Oscar-winning make-up artist for films like Amadeus, and The Exorcist. If you want to really get inside the mind of del Toro, and the way his mind conjures up such creepily complicated monstrosities, then check out his new book. But, in the meantime, check out some of the creatures he’s helped create over the years.
Get Pacific Rim on Blu-ray/DVD out this week!