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Guillermo del Toro Gómez ( ; born 9 October 1964) is an Academy Award-nominated Mexicanmarker director, producer, screenwriter and designer whose work has gained both critical acclaim and a devoted fanbase. He is mostly known for his acclaimed films, Pan's Labyrinth and the Hellboy film franchise. He is a frequent collaborator with Ron Perlman and Doug Jones. His films draw heavily on sources as diverse as weird fiction, fantasy and war.

Early life

Del Toro was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexicomarker. He studied at the Instituto de Ciencias, University of Guadalajara. Del Toro first got involved into filmmaking when he was about eight years old and studied special effects and make-up with SFX artist Dick Smith. He participated in the cult series La Hora Marcada along with other renowned Mexican filmakers such as Emmanuel Lubezki, Alejandro González Iñárritu and Alfonso Cuarón.

He executive-produced his first short film, Doña Herlinda y su hijo, in 1986, at the age of 21. After that, he spent eight years as a special effects make-up designer, and formed his own company, Necropia. He also co-founded the Guadalajara International Film Festival. Later on in his directing career, he formed his own production company, the Tequila Gang.

In 1997, at the age of 33, Hollywoodmarker opened its doors to his talent. Guillermo received $30 million budget from Miramax studios to shoot his second film, Mimic. It was during this time, he heard that his dad, an automotive entrepreneur Federico del Toro, was abducted in Guadalajara, Mexicomarker. Although Don Federico was released, there was so much economic pressure from their captors, to the degree that they had to pay two times the amount for the rescue. After this bitter event, his parents, siblings, and himself prompted them to move abroad and live as expatriates.

Professional career

Guillermo del Toro has directed a wide variety of films, from action hero comic book adaptations (Hellboy and Blade II) to historical fantasy and horror films, two of which are set in Spain in the context of the Spanish Civil War under the authoritarian rule of Francisco Franco. These two films, El espinazo del diablo (The Devil's Backbone) and El laberinto del fauno (Pan's Labyrinth), are among his most critically acclaimed works. They share similar settings, protagonists (young children), and themes (including the relationship between fantasy/horror and the struggle to live under authoritarian or dictatorial rule) with the 1973 Spanish film The Spirit of the Beehive, widely considered to be the finest Spanish film of the 1970s.

Del Toro, as interviewed on WNYCmarker's Leonard Lopate Show, lists several fascinations that have become regular features in his films: "I have a sort of a fetish for insects, clockwork, monsters, dark places, and unborn things." In recent interviews, he has stated that he has always been "in love with monsters. My fascination with them is almost anthropological... I study them, I dissect them in many of my movies: I want to know how they work, what the inside of them looks like, [and] what their sociology is." He also mentions as influences Arthur Machen, Lord Dunsany, Clark Ashton Smith, H.P. Lovecraft, Jorge Luis Borges and Juan Rulfo.

He is close friends with two other prominent and critically praised Mexican filmmakers, Alfonso Cuarón and Alejandro González Iñárritu. The three often influence each other's directorial decisions, and have been interviewed together by Charlie Rose. Cuarón was one of the producers of Pan's Labyrinth. Del Toro turned down The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe to do Pan's Labyrinth, for which he also received a Nebula Award for Best Script. He has also turned down a chance to direct I Am Legend, One Missed Call (2008), Halo, and even Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, whose predecessor was directed by Cuaron, to work on Hellboy II: The Golden Army.

Several of del Toro's films have included Ron Perlman as the main or secondary actor. This includes Blade II and the Hellboy movies for which he had to petition for seven years to have Perlman in the role of Hellboy due to the fact that the producers originally wanted someone better known.

Future projects

In April 2008 del Toro was officially announced as director of The Hobbit in J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings series alongside executive producer Peter Jackson. Del Toro stated that "Contributing to the 'Lord of the Rings' legacy is an absolute dream come true." For the next four years, del Toro, his wife, and two daughters, will live in New Zealand. As a consequence of his taking on The Hobbit, projects he had been planning to take on in the next few years, including a follow-up to Hellboy II: The Golden Army, have been put on hold. "I think we would all come back to do a third Hellboy," said Del Toro in an interview with IGN, regarding a third movie in the franchise. "If they can wait for me to get out of Middle-earth, but we don't know. Ron may want to do it sooner, but I certainly know where we're going with the movie on the third one." In a separate interview, Del Toro remarked that in comparing the trade-off of doing personal projects for The Hobbit, "It's a great cancel."

After The Hobbit and its follow-up, Del Toro was scheduled to direct four films for Universal; Frankenstein; Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; a remake of Slaughterhouse-Five; and Drood, an adaptation of a Dan Simmons novel published in February 2009. He still has his sights set on filming At the Mountains of Madness by H. P. Lovecraft. Drood is expected to be his first project after the two films set in Middle-earth. These projects would have filled up his schedule until 2017. Part of the Universal deal entails continuing research and development for the creatures in At the Mountains of Madness. In June 2009, Del Toro said he would only direct Frankenstein and just produce Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Del Toro is also in the early stages of development of Saturn and the End of Days.

Del Toro said his Frankenstein would be a faithful "Miltonian tragedy", citing Frank Darabont's "near perfect" script, which evolved into Kenneth Branagh's Frankenstein. Del Toro said of his vision, "What I’m trying to do is take the myth and do something with it, but combining elements of Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein without making it just a classical myth of the monster. The best moments in my mind of Frankenstein, of the novel, are yet to be filmed [...] The only guy that has ever nailed for me the emptiness, not the tragic, not the Miltonian dimension of the monster, but the emptiness is Christopher Lee in the Hammer films, where he really looks like something obscenely alive. Boris Karloff has the tragedy element nailed down but there are so many versions, including that great screenplay by Frank Darabont that was ultimately not really filmed." He has also cited Bernie Wrightson's illustrations as inspiration, and said the film will not focus on the monster's creation, but be an adventure film featuring the character. Del Toro said he would like Wrightson to design his version of the creature. The film will also focus on the religious aspects of Shelley's tale. Del Toro has stated that production on Frankenstein most likely will not begin for at least four years. Despite this, he has already cast frequent collaborator Doug Jones in the role of Frankenstein's monster. In an interview with Sci Fi Wire, Jones stated that he learned of the news the same day as everybody else; that "Guillermo did say to the press that he’s already cast me as his monster, but we’ve yet to talk about it. But in his mind, if that’s what he’s decided, then it’s done…It would be a dream come true." Regarding his Jekyll-and-Hyde film, Del Toro said he had a "perverse" take in mind where Jekyll becomes addicted to transforming into Hyde. Both films will be period pieces. He has also expressed interest in video games after the Hobbit project, and hopes to be able to create a "Citizen Kane of games."As of September 11th, 2009 it has been made known that Guillermo Del Toro has signed on with the Walt Disney Company to create a new label known as Disney's Double Dare You. This new label will seek to create a family friendly, all-ages animated projects that still manage to thrill and frighten.

The Strain Trilogy

On June 2, 2009 Del Toro released his debut novel, The Strain, which he co-authored with Chuck Hogan. It will be the first part of a vampire trilogy.

Personal life

Guillermo del Toro is married to his High School sweetheart Lorenza Newton, cousin of Mexican singer Guadalupe Pineda. He fell in love with Lorenza when both were studying at the Guadalajara School of Sciences and became inseparable since. He currently lives in Los Angelesmarker, Californiamarker with his wife Lorenza and his two daughters, Mariana and Marisa.

In 2009, in an interview with Charlie Rose, del Toro described his Roman Catholic upbringing as excessively "morbid," saying "I mercifully lapsed as a Catholic, I say, but as Buñuel used to say, "I'm an atheist, thank God." Though insisting he's spiritually "not with [Buñuel]" and that "once a Catholic, always a Catholic, in a way," he followed by saying, "I believe in man. I believe in mankind, as the worst and the best that has happened to this world."

Filmography

Year Film Credited as
Director Writer Producer
1986 Dona Herlinda and Her Son
1993 Cronos
1996 Borthwick, le retour
1997 Mimic

1998 Un Embrujo
2001 The Devil's Backbone
2002 Asesino en serio
Blade II
2004 Crónicas
Hellboy
2006 Hellboy: Sword of Storms
Pan's Labyrinth
2007 Hellboy: Blood and Iron
The Orphanage
2008 While She Was Out
Rudo y Cursi
Cosas insignificantes
Hellboy II: The Golden Army
2009 Splice
2010 Biutiful
2010 Julia's Eyes
2010 Hater
2011 The Hobbit, Part One
Don't Be Afraid of the Dark
2012 The Hobbit, Part Two
Doctor Strange
TBA Pinocchio


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