Guillermo del Toro Predicts the Future of Filmmaking
I really love Guillermo del Toro. Not only is he a brilliant filmmaker, but he's got a lot to say about almost everything (especially filmmaking), and I just love hearing him talk. We haven't heard from him too much recently, obviously because he's down in New Zealand working on pre-production for The Hobbit. But the tech gurus over at Wired got a chance to talk with del Toro recently (initially about his new vampire novel The Strain) and that means they've got one of the most interesting interviews with GdT that you'll ever read. This time the focus is actually on filmmaking and where it's headed in the future. Read on!
Let's get into this, shall we? "People think because you love genre you don't know anything else. It's condescending. If the emotion is provoked and the goals are achieved, what does it matter? Is Thomas Pynchon a more worthy read than Stephen King? It depends on the afternoon. And I love Kurt Vonnegut. He threads the profane and irreverent with the profound and soul-searing." That is del Toro's response to the idea that science fiction / fantasy genres and "serious filmmaking" don't mix in the mainstream. Obviously del Toro achieved exactly that with Pan's Labyrinth and has pushed the boundaries with his other movies.
So what about the future of filmmaking? Scott Brown's discussion in the Wired interview (which is a must read from start to finish) reaches that topic when del Toro is asked to elaborate on exactly how interactivity is going to change Hollywood, which he had hinted at in an earlier response. His answer:
"[Legendary B-movie producer] Samuel Arkoff once told me there are only 10 great stories. That's where the engine and promiscuity come in. Hollywood thinks art is like Latin in the Middle Ages—only a few should know it, only a few should speak it. I don't think so."
If that's the case, then how will we start telling those same 10 stories in different ways? He continues:
"We are used to thinking of stories in a linear way—act one, act two, act three. We're still on the Aristotelian model. What the digital approach allows you to do is take a tangential and nonlinear model and use it to expand the world. For example: If you're following Leo Bloom from Ulysses on a certain day and he crosses a street, you can abandon him and follow someone else."
Now that sounds like a very cool idea. And it also sounds a bit like a video game, which is where some of their discussion ends up. In regards to any updates on in-development del Toro projects, the only one they mention is Slaughterhouse-Five, which is another adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut's sci-fi classic that del Toro is attached to direct. We haven't heard much about this project yet, but it was listed on his extensive Roadmap to 2017 that we posted late last year. This time, Wired brought it up, asking specifically if that reference to Kurt Vonnegut (as seen above) was the reason why he wants to adapt Slaughterhouse-Five.
"Enormous truths can be revealed with a sense of humor and whimsy. With Pan's Labyrinth and The Devil's Backbone, which is a less well-known film, I was trying the same thing, in a way. And with my first feature, the vampire fable Cronos, too. I tried to take genre premises and explore them obliquely, where the fantastic is either tangential or illuminates reality in a different way."
Again, another amazing answer, even if it's vaguely related to his in-the-works Slaughterhouse-Five adaptation. It's a great interview and I wish it went on longer, but alas it ends fairly short. Not only is this interview a huge inspiration for me (in terms of my own interviews, as it's great seeing so much discussion coming from one piece), but there's also just a lot of good ideas it. It's not worth pestering del Toro for any more details. It's best that we just sit back and let him work on all of his projects - whether it be The Hobbit, more vampire novels, more films, or even TV shows or comics. What do you think about his theories?