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Del Toro, Guillermo

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author, Film.

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(1964-    ) Mexican filmmaker and author from a wealthy Guadalajara family – his father was kidnapped for ransom in 1997 – who took his first feature production credit when his mother financed and starred in Doña Herlinda y su hijo (1985). He worked in Mexican television and directed short films, including the Fredric Brown adaptation Geometría (1987) – based on "Naturally" (September 1954 Beyond Fantasy Fiction) – before his stylish first feature Cronos (1993), about an insectoid mechanical Vampire, opened doors internationally and enabled him to alternate low-budget Hispanophone productions with big Hollywood projects, beginning with the troubled but vivid bug movie Mimic (1997) from Donald Wollheim's story. The supernatural Comics adaptations Blade II (2004), Hellboy (2005), and Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008) interleaved with a pair of remarkable paranormal dramas set against the Spanish civil war, El espinazo del diablo (2001) and El laberinto del fauno (2006; vt Pan's Labyrinth), the latter winning a 2007 Hugo and 2008 Nebula. Following Peter Jackson's falling-out with New Line he signed on to direct two films made from J R R Tolkien's The Hobbit with Jackson producing, but after repeated production delays he left the project in 2010, though he would share script credit on the eventual Jackson-directed trilogy (2012-2014). Increasingly active as a producer on Mexican and Spanish features, he was also executive producer on Vincenzo Natali's Splice (2009), and since 2010 he has been a consultant to DreamWorks' animated features, with input on Megamind (2009) and Puss in Boots (2010) as well as the Kung Fu Panda sequels and Rise of the Guardians (2012); he also advised on the monsters in Cowboys & Aliens (2011). With Chuck Hogan he co-authored the supernatural trilogy The Strain (2010), The Fall (2011), and The Night Eternal (2011). He returned to sf with the Mecha-kaiju mashup Pacific Rim (2013), in which human-operated giant Robots battle colossal alien Monsters or Kaiju; he has acknowledged the influence of Tetsujin 28 Go.

A Monster Movie specialist who draws deep from a distinctive well of Catholic imagery and mythology, del Toro has a vivid flair for the demonic (see Gods and Demons; Supernatural Creatures), a sensibility strongly aligned with Gothic SF, and a thematic preoccupation with the hubris of anthropocentrism. Aside from Mimic and Pacific Rim, all of his films have been in supernatural genres of Horror, but he is well-read in sf and adept in its thematics. A cherished project is a big-budget version of H P Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness, for which funding has proved elusive; though very highly regarded by peers and fans, his highly individual films have to date made only modest profits for their studios. A highly connected figure thanks to his years in Mexican television, he has been a central node in the networking of Hollywood and south-of-border talent, including his fellow directors Alejandro González Iñárritu and the UK-based Alfonso Cuarón (see Children of Men). His Strain novels, written with Chuck Hogan, are supernatural Horror. [NL]

Guillermo del Toro

born Guadalajara, Mexico: 9 October 1964



The Strain

  • The Strain (New York: HarperCollins/William Morrow, 2009) with Chuck Hogan [The Strain: hb/Ervin Serrano]
  • The Fall (New York: HarperCollins/William Morrow, 2010) with Chuck Hogan [The Strain: hb/Ervin Serrano]
  • The Night Eternal (New York: HarperCollins/William Morrow, 2011) with Chuck Hogan [The Strain: hb/Ervin Serrano]

The Blackwood Tapes

  • The Hollow Ones (New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2020) with Chuck Hogan [The Blackwood Tapes: hb/]

individual titles

about the filmmaker


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