Monday, March 30, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
The source of the debate is this statement from GDT:
I was never into heroic fantasy. At all. I don't like little guys and dragons, hairy feet, hobbits -- I've never been into that at all. I don't like sword and sorcery, I hate all that stuff.
Talk about painting yourself into a corner! GDT made these statements in Cannes to Salon in 2006 while promoting PAN'S LABYRINTH, and LOTR fans have had it in the back of their minds ever since.
Guillermo finally responded to this statement in May 2008 during an online chat with fans:
Guillermo del Toro: ...I stand by the general lines of my statement in 2006. When that statement was made- at different times during PANS LABYRINTH’s promotion, many a time I made the distinctive call to say that althought I had not read Tolkien outside THE HOBBIT I had been fascinated by the Trilogy films. A statement that I already had the chance to make in 2005 when PJ, Fran and I met about HALO.
So, no, generally I am NOT a “Sword and Sorcery” guy or a “Fantasy” guy- By the same token, I’m not a sci-fi guy but I would make a film based on Ellison in a second- or on Sturgeon or Bradbury or Matheson.
I’m not into Barbarians with swords but i would kill to tackle Fafhrd and Grey Mouse… and so on and so forth… I’m a believer but not a Dogmatic.
Allow me to put a final, finer point to our discussion. The aesthetics of HELLBOY II are completely Pop and color-saturated, much more comic book / modern than I would ever use in THE HOBBIT but- I spend two years creating a world of Fairies, Elves, Trolls, etc.
Two Years. A career / creative decision that precedes any inkling of THE HOBBIT. I wrote the script years before I met with PJ or Fran. In other words I dedicated the last 6 years of my career (between PL and HBII) to create Fantastical world inhabited by Fairies, Fauns, Ogres, Trolls, Elves, etc.
In that respect- I guess I am a Fantasy guy when the particular world appeals to me. Back in the Jurassic Period (1992 / 1993) when CRONOS won the Critic’s Week at Cannes I was referred to as an “art house guy”- I followed that with a giant cockroach movie that proved successful enough to spawn two sequels and allow me to co-finance THE DEVILS BACKBONE which send me back to being an “art house guy”.
Then I did BLADE II and people thought of me as an “Action guy”- PJ went through a similar mercurial career with HEAVENLY CREATURES, BAD TASTE, DEAD ALIVE, etc I squirm away from a tag and I hope I can avoid being just a “Fantasy guy” after PL, HBII and H…
I do the tales I love (regardless of what shelf Barnes & Noble classifies the book under) and I love the HOBBIT.
I love it enough to give it half a decade of my life and move half a world away to do it.
Guillermo's commitment to this project (a big chunk of his life and substantial relocation) says a lot. But let me underline his statements about why he loves this project - Guillermo LOVES fairy tales - and he considers THE HOBBIT as a Fairy Tale. Here is a statement from his introduction on the TORN message boards:
At the age of 11 I read THE HOBBIT and it enchanted me as only a classic Fairy Tale can- it had enough darkness and dread and emotion to make a profound impression that lasted me until now. Beorn, Mirkwood, the Wargs, Smaug, the Riddles in the Dark, they all have lived in me for many years... Nevertheless at that early age, the rest of Tolkien proved to contain Geography and Genealogy too complex for my prepubescent brain... I was never propelled into an aleatory addiction to sub-genres like Sword & Sorcery or indiscriminate fantasies about magical this or that- Like any other genre or subgenre there's a great abundance that makes it hard to discern when a new "trilogy" or "chronicle" comes from as genuine a place as Tolkien's...
GDT sees themes in THE HOBBIT that are very interesting to him, specifically, "the illusory nature of possession, the sins of hoarding and the banality of war". I believe Guillermo's attraction to these themes will lend considerable gravitas to this story, elevating it above a mere "fantasy adventure tale." Guillermo has done some of his best stuff when working in fantasy metaphors, specifically when relating to war, namely DEVIL'S BACKBONE and PAN'S LABYRINTH.
I believe for the reasons mentioned, Guillermo will bring the same love and passion to THE HOBBIT as those two deeply personal projects.
Friday, March 20, 2009
BEST WIDE-RELEASE FILM
HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY
Leo Bill, THE LIVING AND THE DEAD
Kare Hedebrant, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN
Trevor Matthews, JACK BROOKS: MONSTER SLAYER
Ron Perlman, HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY
Marc Senter, THE LOST
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
A.J. Bowen, THE SIGNAL
Robert Englund, JACK BROOKS: MONSTER SLAYER
Doug Jones, HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY
Vinnie Jones, THE MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN
Michael Pitt, FUNNY GAMES
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Beatrice Dalle, INSIDE
Lou Doillon, SISTERS
Jennifer Ellison, THE COTTAGE
Lauren Roy, THE CHAIR
Anna Walton, HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY
Guillermo del Toro, HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY
John Ainslie, Jon Knautz, JACK BROOKS: MONSTER SLAYER
John Ajvide Lindqvist, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN
John Strysik, STUCK
Mitchell Lichtenstein, TEETH
BEST MAKEUP/CREATURE FX
Mike Elizalde, Cliff Wallace, David Martí, Montse Ribé, HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY
Jacques-Olivier Molon, INSIDE
David Scott, JACK BROOKS: MONSTER SLAYER
Robert Hall, QUARANTINE
Todd Tucker, Drac Studios, TRAILER PARK OF TERROR
Click on this link to get information on how to vote, and to view all nominees. Votes are due in by April 27!
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Personally, I think the first several minutes of FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING might be the best movie opening of all time. At the very least Top 5.
Do you think that THE HOBBIT might open in a similar manner - perhaps a combination of flashback (history of Middle Earth before the Ring) and maybe even a flash forward (the destruction of the Ring)?
Personally, I would love to see this - it would set the epic scale of the film perfectly.
Monday, March 2, 2009
Guillermo wrote this screenplay between 1993 and 1998 with Kit Carson and Matthew Robbins. (Robbins co-wrote the MIMIC screenplay with Del Toro). It was originally entitled MONTECRISTO, and of course is based on the famed novel by Alexandre Dumas.
GDT wrote the story as a "Gothic-western". It was written during a time when GDT's father was kidnapped and held for ransom, and Guillermo has described this screenplay has having "a lot of rage." He has described the film as being technically challenging, most recently in a 2008 interview with Den of Geek:
I think that’s a movie that still bugs me a little bit. I mean, when you ask me if I’m scared of The Hobbit, I’m not, I’m more scared of Left Hand Of Darkness, because it’s a movie that I’m very, very proud of the screenplay, but it requires a set of tools that are a little daunting. It’s sort of like a David Lean, Sergio Leone epic western. Very much full of magic. And it’s the only movie without any creatures."
In 2002, Guillermo gave a French magazine some great details on the film (as reported by AintItCool News):
"It's a very gothic adaptation of the book. I've always thought that Dumas (the author of the book) wanted to evoke the spirit of the "1001 nights", his fascination for the Orient. Each adaptation was an adventure film or a classic movie without any invention, exoticism. So I wondered what would give this book adapted as a western(...). In the book, the Count is often mentioned as a "pirate", a "vampire", a "thief". He's very dark. And in my adaptation, the Count only goes out at nights. He's very close to a Dracula coming from a western, all dressed in black, red and gold. He has a mechanical arm that allows him to draw his gun faster than every one (...). Monte Cristo will be a very catholic movie (...)."
DARKNESS is considered by Guillermo to be one of his pet projects, along with AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS. And, like ATMOM, the timing just hasn't been quite right in getting it made. In 2002, Kevin Reynolds directed a film version starring Jim Caviezel. Now, with the epic HOBBIT going into production, and other commitments to Universal, the fate of this project is still unknown.