Guillermo del Toro Shares Updates on The Hobbit and Frankenstein
by Kevin Powers
October 6, 2008
Guillermo del Toro doesn't ever really need an introduction. If you're even remotely a fan of movies, you know of the guy. And if you're fan of good movies (e.g. Pan's Labyrinth), he's probably on your list of favorite directors. Either way, the creative mastermind behind the Hellboy series is definitely going to engrave his name in the tomes of motion pictures with his upcoming take on the The Hobbit, alongside Peter Jackson. Lord of the Rings certainly set the bar, and despite Hobbit dropping in 2011, I bet we're all anxiously waiting to see what del Toro can do. Thanks to an appearance at the New York Film Festival (via ComingSoon), we have some new insight into the massive two-film production and more.
On Preparing for The Hobbit:
"I find you have to discipline yourself to write in the morning, and then watch and read in the afternoons stuff that seems relevant, even in a tangential way. For example, reading or watching World War I documentaries or books that I think inform The Hobbit, strangely enough, because I believe it is a book born out of Tolkien's generation's experience with World War I and the disappointment of being in that field and seeing all those values kind of collapse. I think it's a turning point that you need to familiarize yourself with. I'm starting. Peter Jackson is such a fan of that historical moment and obsessive collector of World War I memorabilia, and he owns several genuine, life-size working reproductions of planes, tanks, cannons, ships! He has the perfect obsessive reproductions of uniforms of that time for armies of about 120 soldiers… each. I asked him which books he recommended… because I wouldn't be watching Krull or The Dark Crystal, I need to find my OWN way into the story. That's the same way I did Pan's Labyrinth or Devil's Backbone, by watching stuff you wouldn't think about."
On the Dragon Smaug:
"All my life I've been fascinated by dragons. I was born under the Chinese sign of The Dragon. All my life I'm collecting dragons. It's such a powerful symbol, and in the context of The Hobbit it is used to cast its shadow through the entire narrative. Essentially, Smaug represents so many things: greed, pride… he's 'the Magnificent,' after all. The way his shadow is cast in the narrative you cannot then show it and have it be one thing, he has to be the embodiment of all those things. He's one of the few dragons that will have enormous scenes with lines. He has some of the most beautiful dialogue in those scenes! The design, I'm pretty sure that will be the last design we will sign off on, and the first design we have attempted. It is certainly a matter of turning every stone before figuring out what he looks like, because what he looks like will tell you what he is."
On the Wargs:
"There will be different sensibilities involved in this movie than there were in the original trilogy. First of all, because we have the travelogues in The Hobbit which goes to places and variations on races that were not addressed in the trilogy. My belief on the 'Wargs' issue is that the classical incarnation of the demonic wolf in Nordic mythology is not a hyena-shaped creature. It is a wolf. The archetype is a wolf, so we're going to go back to the slender, archetypical wolf that is, I think, the inspiration for Tolkien. Listen… if we were having a drink two years from now I would spill the beans, because I'm a pretty easy guy about spilling the beans, but I can't in this instance I can't because it's three years from now… believe me, I am jumping up-and-down inside this fat body!"
As we pointed out before, del Toro is certainly not one to rest on his laurels and is presumably booked up until 2017 with projects. One of the more intriguing ones is a remake of Frankenstein. When del Toro said previously that he intended to "do something" with the myth and that the best parts of the tale are still to be filmed, he's sticking to his word. "I'm not doing Mary Shelly's Frankenstein. I'm doing an adventure story that involves the creature. I cannot say much, but it's not the central creation story, I'm not worried about that. The fact is I've been dreaming of doing a Frankenstein movie since I was a child. The one thing I can promise is, compared to Kenneth Branagh, I will not appear shirtless in the movie!"
I can't say enough about del Toro. I could listen to this guy speak on his creative process all day long. And while neither Frankenstein nor The Hobbit will actually be hitting theaters for a few years, I can't wait to see how they come out following del Toro's touch. He's a genius filmmaker and will continue to dazzle us all with every new project. As always, we'll continue to bring all updates on The Hobbit as they arrives.
Wonderful! If anyone does have a clue or have done research on Tolkien's horrific experience in WW1, then you know exactly where this is going and what DelToro is talking about. Bloody fantastic! Attacks anyone?
D-9 on Oct 6, 2008
I'm really glad that the Wargs are going to be what they are supposed to be - wolves. I love Jackson's trilogy but that was one of the things about it that bugged me. Also, the fact that he loves dragons and is going to put so much work into Smaug is great. All of this is logical stuff but it's very reassuring to hear 🙂
Annabelle on Oct 6, 2008
I CANT WAIT
Richard on Oct 6, 2008
After seeing what an appalling butchery he made of Hellboy II - one of the only movies I've walked out on in recent years - my confidence in his ability to pull off the Hobbit dropped through the floor. I'm hoping Jackson will be able to keep him on track, but I'm dreading what del Toro's going to do with this story.
TorontoGuy on Oct 6, 2008
is it 2011 yet? *drool*
dave13 on Oct 6, 2008
I'm one of the (apparently few) people who think Del Toro is one of the most overrated directors on the planet. A lot of his "genius" designs are really childrens book material.
Brad on Oct 6, 2008
I love movies and LOVE GOOD movies and in no way do I think that pans labyrinth was any good. it was depressing and not genius at all. and as for the hellboy series the first one is the only one that is good and should have ever been made. so on the note of the hobbit he will probably just throw in a whole bunch of stupid looking little creachers and no plot and i totally agree with the comment in number 4 about my confidence in him, he has no idea what he is doing and should not ruin what could be even better than the lord of the rings. what I still can not understand is why peter jackson would ever let him take the helm for this movie and that is the only reason I have any faith in it.
tyler wilson on Oct 6, 2008
Del Toro speaking about Frankenstein reminds me of Jackson speaking about King Kong and I didn't like that one either! About the Hobbit: Boy you better don't screw up!! ^^
tronicIO on Oct 6, 2008
Pans Labyrinth was a mature fairy tale, spun together with intelligent turns, and inspiring magic. Making you wonder the whole film, and leaving it up to you to decide truth from imagination. Understanding this, might take someone who can spell "creatures" correctly.(#7) Excuse me.
SmartGuy on Oct 6, 2008
Hellboy was just for fun and I enjoyed it. I'm pretty sure the Hobbit will have far more tender loving care. Peter Jackson will be indirectly involved in this project.
JohnW on Oct 7, 2008
Bad director or good director. It simply doesn't matter. The Hobbit is such a good story that any reject moron can make it into a blockbuster.
NorthDude on Oct 7, 2008
Wow, what an amazing guy.
Ryan on Oct 8, 2008
"I'm dreading what del Toro's going to do with this story." I agree...
Ira Owens on Oct 9, 2008
I am a huge fan of the hobbit and i think its Tolkien's best story! Im worried that del Toro is going to butcher it. Hellboy and Hellboy II were a disgrace lets just hope he gets this one rite.
Jason King on Nov 22, 2008
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