Wednesday, July 9, 2008

No bull, del Toro really likes monsters


All creatures great and small populate “Hellboy II: The Golden Army,” but that’s really no surprise with the Great del Toro -- who goes by the name Guillermo -- back at the helm for the sequel to his 1994 surprise-hit original.
I mean, the Oscar-nominated writer of “Pan’s Labyrinth” just loves to show off those scary effects monsters, as he explains during a recent press confab for his latest summer extravaganza.
“At the risk of sounding like a ‘Diary of the Dead’ pamphlet, I really believe that there is a tradition in Mexico of craftsmanship of creating those mythical creatures that belong to no particular mythology or set of beliefs,” he begins.“They are fanciful dragons with fat heads and the tail of a dog and the body of a cow. They come straight from the brain of the artist that creates them. They're incredibly colorful and this is a culture that loves the designer.

“We love these monsters. We love creating them. We love the very act of doing them as the artistic gesture. We are the equivalent to the medieval masons carving gargoyles in a cathedral, except we don't do this necessarily in the Catholic realm of mythology. We do this as art and do it freely. I'm very influenced by that. I'm a Mexican filmmaker in origin and therefore people ask me if I'm a Mexican filmmaker and I say, 'How could I not be?'

“If I endeavored myself to not be that I would not succeed because I was raised in Mexico. I heard all the legends and I drank all the drinks and I ate all the foods. I walked on the streets. Therefore, when I see 'Devil's Backbone' I see the Spanish Civil War and I also see a lot of that literature in there.”

Del Toro, 44, apparently won’t go back behind the camera again until 2010 when he begins production on pair of “Hobbit” films.

“We're going to have a break in the middle of filming, but I don't know how long the break is going to be,” he says. "We're going to do it because the textural differences between the two movies. The second one is meant to blend with the trilogy, and so many sets will have to be refurbished and reconstructed and so forth. Ultimately, we will start editing, and I normally shoot six days a week and edit on the seventh, but I'll start editing the first part of the first movie in that break.”

Before then, the ever-busy del Toro will produce a number of projects, including films directed by fellow countrymen Alfonso Cuaron, Rodrigo Garcia and Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu.

(For more on “Hellboy II” and this week’s other big effects film, “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” be sure to check out my reviews on the Sun News website. While there, look for my 10 questions to “Journey” star Brendan Fraser, then read about his lovely co-star, newcomer Anita Briem, on my post at MovieZen).

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