Tuesday, September 30, 2008

My Son Thinks I'm Harrison Ford

Today, my 18 month old son was looking at the big Empire Strikes Back poster in my office. I don't think he has ever really studied it before, so his grandmother picked him up and held him close. He immediately pointed at Princess Leiah and said "Mama." Then he pointed to Han Solo and said "Dada."

I love that boy.

Here is the poster. I have it autographed by several of the actors and is a prize possession of mine.

Friday, September 26, 2008

GDT To End the World?

Well, that's what I'm told from this snappy little blog entry I found today. Written by Jim Rohner, it is clever and worth the read, plus the title is eye-catching: News Headline From the Future: Guillermo del Toro Inadvertently Triggers the Apocalypse. My favorite quote:

After everything is said and done and the world has been ravaged by the cosmic battle and Satan and his followers have been sentenced to life without parole in an eternal lake of burning sulfur, God will have a heart-to-heart with Guillermo that will probably end with Him patting the director on the head and telling him "not to do it again**" before patting the lovable little scamp on the head and ushering him off to go play with his friends...

Anyway, a fun read - Enjoy.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

GDT on Ghosts, Death, Religion, and the Movies

Every once in a while I stumble onto a truly great Del Toro interview. I found one today that I absolutely love. Please click over to Pixel Vision and read the full interview, preferably on a comfy sofa with a cup of gourmet coffee. For any GDT fan, it is a wonderful read.

If you don't have the time, here are a few of my favorite moments, posted here just in case the interview goes offline one day.

GDT on the Paranormal
You realize a lot of what animals do naturally; humans do through two levels of thought. One is conscious and the other unconscious or subconscious. Animals don’t have that problem, they have just one single ball of thought or a single ball of being. Our problem is that we divide things that may be instinctive and collective and we have compartmentalized our perception so strongly that we only get them in glimpses and I think this is where the idea of the Jungian archetype comes to work. We all have these images that can recur and that’s where people talk about angel visitations, alien abductions and fairy visitations all being one and the same with different types of logic working from different cultures. I believe that there is a whole dimension that I wouldn’t call supernatural but “supranatural,” that I believe in. I believe I saw my mother walk past our living room. My father and brother and I saw her four hours before she arrived home because she had missed her plane in another city. That astral projection all three of us saw. I saw a UFO once and I know it was a UFO because it was not a normal plane or Venus or Mars or anything like that, it was [irrefutable]. I know there are things that you shouldn’t deny until you experience them, so I have a very magical, experimental sense of the world.

GDT on Death
I hate facing the death of another. I can’t stand somebody else’s pain. I can stand my own very well and I can stand my death. We all have a list of things to do in life: sorry man, but that includes dying. So, you go through life putting your shoes on, taking a cab; at one point you’re going to have to check (makes check sign with finger) dying, and it’s as important as taking a cab – to me. So, in that I believe that I’m immortal, because I don’t give a crap about death anymore. I used to be obsessed with dying and upset about death, but there came a point in my life after the kidnapping of my father that I started relinquishing all that. I said “not important anymore” and I’m at peace. I think the true concept of a miracle, as I annunciate in Cronos, the true concept of immortality is not caring how you die. The true concept of Pan’s Labyrinth is not about dying but about rebirth: she’s reborn, that’s why the blood is there. People say, in western culture, blood means death, but to me it means life – someone is starting to live again. And that’s why the film is so full of maternal and birthing and fallopian, almost uterine, imagery.

Politics as Fantasy
When you’re arguing about whose side of the concept is better – politics are completely a fabrication. I was talking the other day to Neil Gaiman. He said to me, “You realize, don’t you, that we are at war? The pope is at war with many religions as to whose imaginary friend is strongest.” I think that’s a great way of putting it. I mean my imaginary friend is stronger than yours? It’s all cosmologies that we fabricate or chose to believe in. I don’t think one is inherently wrong or one is inherently right. I think that we as humans tend to fabricate things to keep us apart and I believe it’s just as easy to believe in the things that unite us. I believe it’s a defect of mammalian territoriality to invent those borders. So yes, politics, borders, geography, time, space: it’s all a fabrication. To me it’s all perception. All fabrication is a form of imagination.

GDT on Success
I always say that success is not measured by outcome. Success is measured by fucking up in your own terms. That’s success. Trying and failing: that’s success. We live in a world where we say: which movie succeeded this year? “Well this one made $300 million, this movie made $1 million, so the one that made more was more successful.” Or: “This movie was critically praised, and this one was not, so the praised one was successful.” I don’t think so. Success doesn’t have to do with how many people a film connects with but how deeply it connects with them. How that movie becomes a tool for them to construct their philosophy, cosmology and reality. That’s success for a movie. And if it reaches a lot of people deeply, that’s great, but if it makes one person unable to leave the theatre because that person’s crying; that’s success.
G: You make it sound like a religious experience.
GDT: It is! We don’t go to church on Sunday: we go to the movies. So, when you go to the movies and you get the same crappy old sermon, you get angry. You go, “What a piece of shit!”
G: The world’s bigger than that.
GDT: The world is. But when you go to the church, or the movies, and you get a fresh perspective on an intimate truth, you come out of the theatre converted: believing again in the power of movies. It’s a religious experience and an intimate experience and that’s why when we don’t like a movie we get that pissed off and when we like it we get so jazzed.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Happy Hobbit Day

Today is the day to celebrate all things Tolkien!

September 22nd is Bilbo and Frodo Baggins' birthday. Well, sort of. Hard core Tolkien fans will tell you that the Middle Earth calendar is slightly askew from our own count of the days. Nevertheless, this is considered Tolkien week, so be sure to pop in your LOTR DVD's or crack open some Tolkien-authored literature.

If you recall, THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING opened with the Shire celebrating Bilbo's birthday.

So if you want to plan a party, anything with ale, dancing, food, tents and fireworks seems appropriate. You may even find some interesting Tolkien events going on near you! Check your local papers.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Drood: Dickens and the Staplehurst Crash

Many have expressed curiosity in GDT's interest in the DROOD project, which is one of the films he is slated to make in the Universal deal.

Here are a couple of items to stoke your curiosity:

First - the film would be based on Dan Simmons' upcoming novel, DROOD. Here is the product description from Amazon.com:

On June 9, 1865, while traveling by train to London with his secret mistress, 53-year-old Charles Dickens--at the height of his powers and popularity, the most famous and successful novelist in the world and perhaps in the history of the world--hurtled into a disaster that changed his life forever. Did Dickens begin living a dark double life after the accident? Were his nightly forays into the worst slums of London and his deepening obsession with corpses, crypts, murder, opium dens, the use of lime pits to dissolve bodies, and a hidden subterranean London mere research . . . or something more terrifying?Just as he did in The Terror, Dan Simmons draws impeccably from history to create a gloriously engaging and terrifying narrative. Based on the historical details of Charles Dickens's life and narrated by Wilkie Collins (Dickens's friend, frequent collaborator, and Salieri-style secret rival), DROOD explores the still-unsolved mysteries of the famous author's last years and may provide the key to Dickens's final, unfinished work: The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Chilling, haunting, and utterly original, DROOD is Dan Simmons at his powerful best.

Second is this link to a letter written by Dickens following the infamous Staplehurst train accident - the historically real "disaster" referenced in the description above. It describes a bloody scene that no doubt affected Dickens profoundly.

Judge for yourself how this might fit in the Del Toro canon of films.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

GDT Article in FILMINK Magazine

FILMINK magazine ran a feature on Guillermo and Hellboy in their September Issue - they were nice enough to send us a copy of the article! Click on the image below to view a large copy. Enjoy!

You can learn more about FILMINK magazine at http://www.filmink.com.au/. The magazine is on sale in newsagents across Australia and New Zealand and is available through special order via email at http://us.mc533.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=filmink@filmink.com.au.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Oh, Crap! What's Next?

By now you have seen the report from Variety - GDT has committed to a four picture deal with Universal. So what does this mean exactly for the future? Specifically, you might be asking, 'What happened to Hellboy III?' or 'What about Mountains of Madness?'

Here are the movies GDT has committed to, according to the Variety article:
  • Frankenstein
  • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
  • Slaughterhouse Five
  • Drood

The deal goes up until 2017, so that means, at most, shooting four movies in a little more than five years (after Hobbit production ends). Wow - that seems like a tall order. I wonder if maybe Guillermo has "dibs" on these movies and he gets done what he can in that time frame. If so, then what we see from Guillermo in the next 10 years may come down to priorities. Since Guillermo would probably never tip his hand publicly, here is how I see GDT's priorities for the next decade.

1. The Hobbit - no doubt about this one. Guillermo is going to ride this hoopty until the wheels fall off. Definitely a passion project for him, and one that he is sure-fire committed to completing as his next project.

2. Hellboy III. "What?", you say. Well, this is about Guillermo's priorities - and I see his #2 priority being to complete the Hellboy trilogy. This is his passion project, and I know he desperately wants to complete the circle. It is a long shot, but there is definitely, a chance that Hellboy could return. HB2 is doing very well overseas, and as Guillermo has said publicly, Universal is still waiting to make a decision until "the last euro has dropped". Guillermo's long term commitment to Universal could be a "gesture of faith" to the studio in hopes they will continue to support his pet project. Don't rule it out - HB3 could happen.

3. Drood. I know GDT is a fan of Dickens and this shows promise to include one of GDT's favorite literary figures and mix it with some gothic themes - we'll know more when the book comes out. I have this ranked next mainly because of Guillermo's appreciation for Dickens (he has referenced him many times - so I'm assuming he's a fan!) and because Universal execs have reported they believe this would be a likely film to follow The Hobbit.

4. Frankenstein. I see this as next on the list. I believe Guillermo has a strong connection with this project (he is a big-time Frankenstein afficionado). And I think this project has the perfect mix of fantasy, horror, and weighty themes that GDT loves to explore. Plus Universal would love to get a big $$$ project from Guillermo right out of the gate, and I think Frankenstein fits the bill.

5. Slaughterhouse-Five. Given GDT's pattern of alternating between big studio popcorn movies and art-house films, I see Vonnegut's masterpiece coming up next. Of all the films on Guillermo's plate, I think this one has the best chance for an Academy Award. The book is a beautifully powerful science fiction novel, and I think Guillermo is anxious to show his cinematic chops on this one, not to mention get a chance to wear his emotions on his sleeve.

6. ATMOM. I think the previously mentioned films will take Guillermo right up until 2017, so he might get a chance to shake things up a bit. I think by this point, depending on the success of the previous films (specifically Frankenstein), GDT has a chance to convince Universal to do At The Mountains of Madness. I say he "gives it the old college try" once more. If unsuccessful, he moves on to either Jekyll or Saturn and the End of Days.

This priority list probably goes beyond the year 2017, so I'm banking on an "extension". Keep in mind I have no "inside" info from Guillermo - this was just a fun guess on what might be next based on my own opinions and circumstantial evidence. We'll have to check back in 10 years and see how much I got right (if any!)