Guillermo del Toro
Guillermo del Toro (born October 9, 1964) is a Mexican director, producer, screenwriter, novelist and designer. He is mostly known for his acclaimed films, ‘Blade II’, ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ and the ‘Hellboy’ film franchise.
He first got involved in filmmaking when he was about eight years old and studied special effects and make-up with legendary SFX artist Dick Smith. He spent eight years as a special effects make-up designer and formed his own company, Necropia. Guillermo wrote and directed ‘Cronos’ in 1993. A Mexican horror film starring veteran Argentine actor Federico Luppi and American actor Ron Perlman, the first of several films on which del Toro, Luppi and Perlman have collaborated.
In 1998, at the age of 34, Guillermo was given a $30 million budget from Miramax to shoot his second film, ‘Mimic’. During this time, his father, Federico del Toro, was kidnapped in Guadalajara, Mexico. Although Federico was eventually released safely, the event prompted Del Toro, his parents and his siblings to move abroad.
In 2001, del Toro wrote, directed and produced ‘The Devil’s Backbone’, a gothic thriller set in Spain, 1939 during the Spanish Civil War. the film follows Carlos (Fernando Tielve), a young boy who arrives at an orphanage, thinking that he will be staying there temporarily, until his father returns from the war. Carlos then sees a ghost of a boy in the kitchen doorway… The movie was a critical and commercial success, enough to warrant another Hollywood project.
He was entrusted with the sequel to comic book vampire hit Blade, ‘Blade II’ was a better film than it’s predeccessor and to date the most successful in the franchise. Taking up the action two years after the first movie, Blade has been killing vampires in Russia and Eastern Europe before a new challenge arrises. Decribed brilliantly at time of release as “Blade II is for those undiscriminating movie-goers who want nothing more from a trip to the multiplex than loud, raucous, mindless entertainment.”
In 2004, he wrote and directed his dream project, ‘Hellboy’ based on the graphic novels by Mike Mignola. Starring Ron Perlman as Hellboy, a demonic beast who secretly works to keep the world safe from paranormal threats. The movie is visually spectacular and was successful enough to warrant a sequel in 2008. ‘Hellboy II: The Golden Army’, also written and directed by del Toro.
In 2006, del Toro released his best film to date, ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’. The film takes place in Spain in May–June 1944, five years after the Spanish Civil War, during the early Franco period. The narrative of the film interweaves this real world with a fantasy world centered around an overgrown abandoned labyrinth and a mysterious faun creature, with which the main character, Ofelia, interacts. Ofelia’s stepfather, Captain Vidal, hunts the Spanish rebels who fight against the Fascist reign in the region, while Ofelia’s pregnant mother grows increasingly ill. Ofelia meets several strange and magical creatures who become central to her story, leading her through the trials of the old labyrinth garden. The film won three Academy Awards for Best Art Direction, Cinematography and Make-Up.
Since the release of the Hellboy sequel, del Toro hasn’t directed another movie. He has however been incredibly busy writing and producing work for others. In a production capacity he brought us ‘The Orphanage’ (2007), ‘Splice’ (2009), ‘Julia’s Eyes’ (2010), ‘Kung-Fu Panda 2’ (2011) and ‘Don’t be Afraid of the Dark’ (2011) among others. He was bust for a considerable time writing the screenplay for the forthcoming adaptation of Tolkeins ‘The Hobbit’ which he was going to direct. he has since left the project and has four films lined up for Universal: ‘Frankenstein’, ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’, ‘Slaughterhouse Five’ and ‘Pacific Rim’… the slate keeps changing, however whatever he decides to do, I’ll see.