"I happen to believe that family is the source of all the joy and all the horror in our lives — both. That's my starting point in every tale."
Critically acclaimed filmmaker and author from Mexico, widely known for his work on the Speculative Fiction
genre. He is perhaps best recognized by moviegoers as director of the Hellboy
film series, as well as his best-received film, Pan's Labyrinth
Del Toro is notoriously known for turning down high-budgeted Summer Blockbuster
movies to work on smaller, independent projects. So far he has rejected offers to direct I Am Legend
; One Missed Call
; The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
, and even Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
. He did, however, accept an offer to work on the upcoming The Hobbit
film series, but The Lord of the Rings
-helmer Peter Jackson
would up taking over the director's spot, with del Toro staying on as a writer.
He is currently developing Trollhunters
, which he will produce at DreamWorks Animation
. He also announced that he will make Dreamworks his animation home and has already worked on a few projects, including Kung Fu Panda 2
. The full press release can be read here
He made his literary debut with co-author Chuck Hogan in 2009, with the release of a vampire novel, The Strain
. It is the first part of a trilogy of novels. He is also hoping for a final sequel to the Hellboy movies.
His pet project is adapting H. P. Lovecraft
's At the Mountains of Madness
for the big screen. Despite backing from James Cameron
and tentative agreement by Tom Cruise
to star, the project was cancelled by Universal
: partly because they thought it unlikely for a Cosmic Horror Story
film to make money at the box office, and partly because del Toro refused to tone down some of its elements so that it would likely be rated PG-13
(his proposed script would definitely catch an R). He has also adamantly refused to include a Token Romance
. He has made attempts to find financing with 20th Century Fox, but has more recently stated that he wishes to put the project on hold due to its similarity to Ridley Scott
Is a frequent collaborator with Ron Perlman
and Mike Mignola
. He is also One of Us
being an avid gamer who cites games like Half-Life
as being his favorites and he is currently making a game titled Insane
Not remotely related to actor Benicio Del Toro.
- As both Writer and Director
- As Director only:
- As Writer only:
Tropes common to his works include:
- Attention Deficit Creator Disorder: Del Toro gave up on directing The Hobbit because he was involved in way too many things, with his schedule filled up until 2017. Among the projects are a new Frankenstein, a remake of Slaughterhouse-Five, adaptations of At the Mountains of Madness, The Haunted Mansion, and Drood, and a third Hellboy (and that's just the ones he'll direct!).
- Bittersweet Ending
- Break the Cutie - Many of his films feature children in extreme peril.
- Clockwork Creature - Cronos and the Hellboy movies have both featured creatures powered by clockwork. A clock also features prominently in Pan's Labyrinth.
- Creator Thumbprint - Slime, aspects of Clock Punk (or at least, clocks), things in jars (often People Jars), and references to Roman Catholicism. The supernatural is extremely common, and he's also greatly interested in the Spanish Civil War.
- Dark Is Not Evil - Most of his films feature sympathetic monsters and evil humans.
- Doing It for the Art - Many of his films are passion projects. He's turned down or postponed high-profile films to work on smaller ones that he has a personal connection to. He's also taken significant budget cuts rather than cave to Executive Meddling.
- Executive Meddling - Guillermo often wrestles with this; his first film Mimic was equated to "having a beautiful daughter and watching her arms get cut off". The studios have fought with him at other points (for example, they wanted Pan's Labyrinth to take place in Nazi Germany instead of Franco's Spain) but his additional clout has allowed him to be more successful in staying true to his vision nowadays.
- The Fair Folk - Seen in Pan's Labyrinth, the Hellboy movies and Don't be Afraid of the Dark.
- Fractured Fairy Tale
- Humans Are Bastards - See Dark Is Not Evil; often, it's the humans who are far worse than any monster.
- Infant Immortality: Subverted and played straight.
- Kids Are Cruel - A recurring theme in his work. Partially a deliberate subversion of the Children Are Innocent movie cliche, and partially allegedly drawn from his own childhood experiences.
- Although don't let that and the aforementioned Break the Cutie trope lead you to believe he hates kids: he has a few of his own, and mentioned he plays video games with his daughter. Awww...
- Magic Realism
- One of Us: He got GLaDOS herself to be in one of his movies. He's also, unsurprisingly, a fan of Left 4 Dead and Bioshock.
- Our Monsters Are Different - His depictions of supernatural creatures often deviate from the norm.
- Production Posse - His movies tend to have Ron Perlman, Luke Goss, and/or Doug Jones; Hellboy II featured all three of them in notable roles. The cinematography is usually done by Guillermo Navarro and Marco Beltrami scores most of his films. He also collaborates frequently with Mike Mignola on the visual aspect of his work.
- Scenery Porn - Most of his films include this in some capacity.
- Signature Style - In addition to his Creator Thumbprint, his films often favor a specific and small palette (amber for Hellboy, blue-green for Pan's Labyrinth and yellow/blue for night/day in Blade 2).
- He also likes a particular type of creepiness; "I have a sort of a fetish for insects, clockwork, monsters, dark places, and unborn things,"
- What Could Have Been: It was rumored that he was approached to direct the upcoming Godzilla remake (which is actually being directed by Gareth Edwards), though Guillermo has since debunked those rumors.