Mike Fleming of Deadline was lucky enough to score a pretty extensive interview with Guillermo Del Toro at Toronto, and the filmmakers insight, always delivered with jolly profanity, is a great example of why he remains such an endearing figure in the movie business. He is there to shepherd Julia’s Eyes and Biutiful, two films he’s produced, through the festival. Biutiful is the newest movie from Babel director Alejandro Inarritu, and Julia’s Eyes, a horror film from first-timer Guillem Morales. Both films sound intriguing, with Julia’s Eyes following a woman who is progressively losing her sight as quickly as she is becoming convinced someone or something is stalking her.
The conversation is long and covers a number of topics that range from the coulda-been projects Del Toro let go for At The Mountains of Madness, the state of independent foreign film, and how he treats his producing role on all of these small projects. He also deftly dances around the assertion that Warner Brothers wanted him to return Superman to the big screen.
I’ve yanked out a few highlights from the interview, but really you should go read the whole thing and then come tell us what you think about it on the CHUD Message Board. Does his interpretation of how to keep Lovecraft’s monsters black and white work for you? Do you agree with his explanation fo why James Cameron’s brand of filmmaking is so important? What about on how indie filmmakers should treat the changing landscape? Let us know!
On independent and foreign films in America…
“…I can almost bet to you that within the next two years, somebody is going to become a big player in the much smaller pond that is specialty films. I don’t know who that is, if it’s going to be somebody reemerging like a phoenix from the ashes, or a new player. But somebody is going to do it.”
“If film making is magic, there’s a difference between close up magic and David Copperfield. If you’re doing close up magic, which independent filmmakers do, it is a very delicate craft, interpersonal relationship, and being able to enrapture a very small audience. If you’re doing a big spectacle film, you’ve got to be mindful of large masses. Even then, you’ve got to be responsible only to your storytelling.”
On his role as producer…
“I am the nice adversary, the guy that’s going to ask the tough questions and is not going to be happy with the quick answer. But once I see the certainty, the whites of their eyes, and know they are coming to take the fort, I’ll say, do it. What I bring to the table is mostly in pre-production and post production. I think that during the shoot, you should never be there, unless something goes really wrong and as producer, you’re responsible. The sign you did your job right is if you are not there…”
On James Cameron, and how 3D will affect the creatures and storytelling…
“It’s hard to say without spoiling it. The way the creatures are rendered and done is going to bring forth an aspect of Lovecraft that has not been done on live action films. Part of my speech was, I’m putting all the chips I have accumulated in 20 years as a director, betting them on a single number. This is not just a movie and then move on to the next. It’s do or die time for me. Cameron does his movies like that every time and I find it surprising the way people judge success in retrospect, like, of course, I would have done that. Avatar was the largest gamble, again, so were Titanic and Terminator 2. I love that type of filmmaker, with those gigantic stainless steel balls, Alec Baldwin-style in Glengarry Glen Ross, fucking clanking together. You can’t explain success in retrospect. The moment you leap into the void, that moment is impossible to negate, after success. He leaped into the void. Peter Jackson leaped into the void with The Lord or the Rings. George Lucas did with Star Wars.”
The rest is here.