The modern master of movie monsters, Guillermo del Toro produced the new version of Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, which showed earlier this summer at the L.A. Film Festival. While he did press for the film and the festival, I got to ask del Toro a few questions about the monsters we love and the upcoming del Toro directed Pacific Rim.
Crave Online: I’ve been thinking a lot about why we love our monsters, whether it’s Frankenstein or Freddy Krueger, Alien or Chucky. As someone who’s well versed in this world, why do we love our monsters?
Guillermo del Toro: I really think it’s an essential part of the imagination of human beings. I always say the moment we started to understand the universe through fable, in the earliest moment, we started to talk about angels and demons at the same time. We begin to explain the birth of the sun and the death of the sun and the birth of the moon and all that. The universe is dual, night and day, cold and hot. Mythology, when we articulate it, it needed the duality. I think one is as powerful as the other in terms of myth. I always say there is the same compulsion, if not more, in the carving of a gargoyle than in the carving of a saint in the same cathedral. They are part of the same sort of cosmology, so I think we need them. I think that what happens is people sometimes say fantasy is a childish concern. Most of these people are frankly people that if you interrogate them deeply, they believe in certain things that are accepted socially, like geography, politics, sexual politics. How is that not a childish fantasy? That you have a piece of paper that says the France ends here and Spain starts here? Who said that? It’s only because it’s socially accepted they think it’s mature to accept it. I think fantasy is rebellion always. Fantasies are rebellious, malleable nature. Conformists normally reject fantasy. We love them because they are in away the freest part of our spirit is inhabited by monsters. I believe that.
Crave Online: I know you had to give up your journals while you were working on The Hobbit, because everything you drew could have been studio property. Have you gotten back to your journals now?
Guillermo del Toro: Yeah, I am. I am going back. I’m actually restarting now. I was very happy because I don’t force it. I don’t force it at all. I caught myself drawing again in Canada so I’m very happy about that. I drew the first page in a year or two, for the first time in a long time. I couldn’t open them.
Crave Online: Are those drawings for Pacific Rim or just something else?
Guillermo del Toro: Yeah, I was drawing something for Pacific Rim. Some of the movies I love the most, I don’t have one page or a page and a half. It’s not the number of pages. I don’t memorialize the movie. It’s my very own process so sometimes a year and a half and there are no notes. I carry them with me, but since The Hobbit I was sputtering. I couldn’t get back to it because I was so worried about the confidentiality in The Hobbit. I was obsessed by if I leave the notebook behind and they find it and they read something about the plot… Now that I have no confidentiality problems, I’m going back.
Crave Online: Can Pacific Rim have a slow pace, like you enjoy building the tone? Or by nature of it being a big movie, does it have to move quickly?
Guillermo del Toro: Movies are weird. You never have enough time so you’re never like this is leisure. You’re always under pressure. Deadlines disappear or not but you’re always under pressure. I think what you need to do in a movie like this is if you ever, ever feel you have time or can take your time or you don’t have to work as hard, you’re in the wrong business.
Crave Online: I meant narrative pace. Like I saw The Arcane Enchanter that you showed at LA Film Fest and that’s all mood and tone.
Guillermo del Toro: I wish. Well, I think Devil’s Backbone has a pace like that or in a certain way, Cronos and Pan’s Labyrinth. But no, the pacing of this movie is constantly in movement. I think you can be contemplative. It’s more interesting to be contemplative in a big action scene if you can and be active in an intimate scene. I think we’re going to have both in this movie.
Crave Online: I want you to know I read Outlawvern.com every day now. He’s my inspiration.
Guillermo del Toro: Oh yes! I’m glad you are. I’m very happy that you are doing that.
Photo credit – Wenn.com