Warner Bros. Pictures Pacific Rim probably is the most expensive, impressive, and anticipated blockbuster conceived by a Mexican filmmaker. Because it opens this weekend, July 12, I would like to give you a Guillermo del Toro crash course.
He once said, “My life is a suitcase. I am the travelling Mexican,” and what a journey indeed! The Guadalajara-born filmmaker went directly from La Hora Marcada for Televisa to becoming one of the most beloved and respected filmmakers worldwide. He was ranked #35 in Entertainment Weekly’s “50 Smartest People in Hollywood.” Personally, I think he should be in the top 3.
His professional and personal life has been full of challenges, from working in Hollywood as a foreign director to dealing with his father’s kidnapping. He rose to the occasion on all instances.
His work as a director:
La Hora Marcada (1986-1989). A TV project that was horribly manipulated by Televisa executives. To this day, it gives him nightmares.
Cronos (1993). His first full-length film. It is an intelligent and smart vampire story. It received several Arieles and put Guillermo on the map. He casted Ron Perlman as the henchman, and ever since, they have worked on almost all his films.
Mimic (1997). The story is quite interesting. Giant hissing insects start killing humans and mimic them. This movie starring Mia Sorvino could have been a hit, but because studio executives made several changes, it flew under the people’s radar.
Blade II (2002). Sequel to the vampire action film, starring Wesley Snipes. It was far more exciting and well made than the original film. Del Toro obtained more respect in Hollywood, thanks to the good box office and critic results.
The Devil’s Backbone (2001). Guillermo now has a distinct signature as a filmmaker and storyteller. He starts showing his love of stories involving the evil of Franco, the Spanish dictatorship, kids with drama in their lives, fantasy and ghosts. Another hit among critics and fans.
Hellboy (2004) & Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008). If someone was meant to bring life to Mike Mignola’s comic book anti-hero, Guillermo del Toro behind the camera and Ron Perlman as the cigar-loving, gun-crazy red demon did it. Definitely all those years reading comic books and working in making special effects helped Guillermo to make these two incredible movies (and a third one has been announced).
Pan’s Labyrinth (2006). A masterpiece. It tells the story of Ofelia, a little girl who has to deal with the cruelty of his fascist military stepfather during the Spanish Civil War by escaping to one captivating, marvelous, and dangerous fantasy world. It won three Oscars and received a twenty-two minute standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival.
Pacific Rim (2103). This is what we know so far: the studio has given Guillermo total freedom, expanded his budget, and asked him to do it in IMAX 3D. After watching the dailies, producers requested that he immediately start writing the sequel. This is noteworthy because it is not common for a filmmaker to impress big-time studio executives.
Without any doubt, Guillermo is a most gifted person. He directs, produces, and writes all types of films from horror to children’s movies. He even turned down an offer to direct The Hobbit trilogy (he co-wrote it instead). What makes him so exceptional? He works with passion and joy, and he is always very humble and appreciated by his fans. He is a lovable genius-geek.