Guillermo del Toro is a Mexican film director, screenwriter, producer, and novelist. In his filmmaking career, del Toro has alternated between Spanish-language dark fantasy pieces, such as the gothic horror film The Devil’s Backbone (2001) and Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) but also more mainstream American action movies, such as the vampire superhero action film Blade II (2002) and the supernatural superhero film Hellboy (2004), among others.
Let’s find out some interesting facts about him!
1.Guillermo del Toro Gómez was born on the 9th of October, 1964, in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.
2.He was raised in a strict Catholic household.
3.When del Toro was about eight years old, he began experimenting with his father’s Super 8 camera, making short films with Planet of the Apes toys and other objects.
4.One short focused on a “serial killer potato” with ambitions of world domination; it murdered del Toro’s mother and brothers before stepping outside and being crushed by a car.
5.Del Toro studied at the Centro de Investigación y Estudios Cinematográficos, in Guadalajara.
6.Del Toro made about 10 short films before his first feature, including one titled Matilde, but only the last two, Doña Lupe and Geometria, have been made available.
7.He also wrote four and directed five episodes of the cult series La Hora Marcada, along with other Mexican filmmakers such as Emmanuel Lubezki and Alfonso Cuarón.
8.Del Toro studied special effects and make-up with special-effects artist Dick Smith.
9.He spent 10 years as a special-effects make-up designer and formed his own company, Necropia.
10.He also co-founded the Guadalajara International Film Festival.
11.Later in his directing career, he formed his own production company, the Tequila Gang.
12.Like many children, the young del Toro was terrified by the thoughts of deadly beings coming to get him. The director claims he made a pact with the monsters so they would leave him alone – giving rise to the wonderfully twisted creations seen in the likes of Cronos, Hellboy and Pan’s Labyrinth.
13.In 1997, at the age of 33, Guillermo was given a $30 million budget from Miramax Films to shoot another film, Mimic.
14.Being a friend with the late Dick Smith, who fashioned the unforgettable effects seen in landmark 1973 horror The Exorcist, offered Del Toro the chance to be schooled by his make up techniques.
15.In 1987, the director applied for Smith’s make-up course in New York and soon they became close associates.
16.Del Toro views the horror genre as inherently political, explaining, “Much like fairy tales, there are two facets of horror. One is pro-institution, which is the most reprehensible type of fairy tale: Don’t wander into the woods, and always obey your parents. The other type of fairy tale is completely anarchic and antiestablishment.”
17.In April 2008, del Toro was hired by Peter Jackson to direct the live-action film adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. On May 30, 2010, del Toro left the project due to extend delays brought on by MGM’s financial troubles.
18.Although he did not direct the films, he is credited as co-writer in An Unexpected Journey, The Desolation of Smaug and The Battle of the Five Armies.
19.He was selected to be on the jury for the main competition section of the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.
20.In February 2016 starred in an episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia titled “McPoyle vs. Ponderosa: The Trial of the Century” as Pappy McPoyle.
21.He redefined the fairy tale movie. The film for which del Toro is best known is his remarkable 2006 fantasy Pan’s Labyrinth, recipient of worldwide acclaim.
22.Pan’s Labyrinth is a violent and powerful fusion of Spanish Civil War story and fairy tale, the movie forces us to question the nature of reality: are we destined to live in a violent world or is there a fantastical, pain-free realm we can escape to after death?
23.Del Toro intended Pan’s Labyrinth to be a thematic complement to The Devil’s Backbone, his 2001 film set in Spain in 1939.
24.Del Toro embodies the ‘one for them, one for me’ mentality. His Hollywood creations, comprising Mimic,Blade II, the Hellboy movies and Pacific Rim, feature considerably larger budgets and bigger stars than his Spanish movies.
25.Due to a drought, there are very few actual flames or sparks in Pan’s Labyrinth. The region of Segovia, Spain was experiencing its worst drought in 30 years when del Toro filmed his movie there, so his team had to get creative.
26.Although, it’s the director’s smaller films that are the most compelling and interesting.
27.During this time, his father, automotive entrepreneur Federico del Toro, was kidnapped in Guadalajara. Although he was eventually released safely, due to intense economic pressure from his captors, del Toro’s family had to pay twice the amount originally asked.
28.The event prompted del Toro, his parents, and his siblings to move abroad. In an interview with Time magazine, he said this about the kidnapping of his father: “Every day, every week, something happens that reminds me that I am in involuntary exile from my country.”
29.He’s directing a darker animated version of Pinocchio.
30.He almost made a video game called inSANE.
31.He is married to Lorenza Newton, cousin of Mexican singer Guadalupe Pineda.
32.He started dating Lorenza when both were studying at the Guadalajara School of Sciences. He currently lives in Agoura Hills, a suburb of Los Angeles, California, with his wife and two daughters Mariana and Marisa.
33.In addition to the home in which he lives with his family, he owns a separate home exclusively to house his books, poster artwork and other belongings pertaining to his work.
34.Called “The Bleak House”, the home features blood-red curtains and contains all of the various creatures, from his movies and others, that he has collected over the years.
35.In a 2007 interview, del Toro described his political position as “a little too liberal.” He pointed out that the villains in most of his films, such as the industrialist in Cronos, the Nazis in Hellboy, and the Francoists in Pan’s Labyrinth, are united by the common attribute of authoritarianism. “I hate structure. I’m completely anti-structural in terms of believing in institutions. I hate them. I hate any institutionalised social, religious, or economic holding.”
36.Del Toro’s favorite film monsters are Frankenstein’s monster, the Alien, Gill-man, Godzilla, and the Thing.
37.In an interview with Robert K. Elder for his book The Best Film You’ve Never Seen, del Toro explains his careful methodology: “I’m as thorough and as well-prepared as I can be in my filmmaking, and that came from the discipline of having to work as a make-up effects artist many, many, many times in my life.”
38.Del Toro is currently directing a cold-war drama film The Shape of Water, starring Sally Hawkins, Octavia Spencer, and Michael Shannon.
39.He’s fascinated by ghosts and not just the literal ones. A self-confessed fan of classic 1961 chiller The Innocents, del Toro opens The Devil’s Backbone with the following haunting lines about what constitutes a ghost: “What is a ghost? A tragedy condemned to repeat itself time and again? An instant of pain, perhaps. Something dead which still seems to be alive. An emotion suspended in time. Like a blurred photograph. Like an insect trapped in amber.”
40.His producing credits are equally impressive.Not just a director extraordinaire, del Toro has also thrown his support behind loads of projects in recent years, including TV hit The Strain starring Corey Stoll.
41.Among his many producing credits: Shrek’s spin-off Puss in Boots, superb 2007 Spanish chiller The Orphanage and last year’s visually striking Mexican animation The Book of Life.
42.He hates horses.
43.Beginning back in June of 2009, del Toro and writer Chuck Hogan set upon creating a trilogy of gothic, vampire tales—starting with The Strain—that earned some pretty good reviews.
44.Pan’s Labyrinth reflects his dislike towards the Catholic Church.
45.He needs to clear something up about his movie, Crimson Peak.Although his latest movie draws on a rich heritage of ghostly cinema, del Toro wants audiences to know exactly what they’re getting into. “Crimson Peak is not a horror film, it’s a Gothic romance, something completely different