Guillermo Del Toro

Guillermo del Toro

With the news that Marvel and Disney’s plans to dominate film and television just got kicked up a notch by a massive deal with Netflix to churn out four new original programs and a miniseries, it appears that Warner Bros. and DC are now getting in on the whole franchise universe/world conquest gambit. Guillermo del Toro, who is currently working on Justice League Dark film, spoke to Cinefilos.it about the progress with his project — and spilled that it would be fitting into an entire DC world, something that hasn’t really been discussed at length. Guillermo. “We’re still on [Justice League Dark], writing, and hopefully it will happen but there are no developments that are new. We’re still at Warner Bros., they are making plans for the entire DC universe. All the superheroes, all the mythologies, and part of that is Justice League Dark. They’re planning on TV, movies, and all the media, so we have to fit into that plan.” The revelation from del Toro is not all that surprising; with 2015′s Batman vs. Superman on the way, featuring potential appearances by Wonder Woman and Nightwing, and tentative plans for both Justice League and The Flash movies down the pipeline in 2016 and 2017, the door has been open for some time for DC superheroes to have their interconnected heyday. With del Toro’s Justice League Dark, the more monster-y of the DC universe’s characters, like Constantine, Swamp Thing, and Deadman are also headed for the big screen.

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commentary pacific rim

Guillermo del Toro is a director of visually arresting films that continuously announce his love of cinema from the rooftops. His best works (including The Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth) mix fantasy and reality into intoxicating concoctions, but even his lesser efforts (everything else) are imaginative and stylish creations. His latest, Pacific Rim, is a fun and exciting adventure that mashes giant monsters and giant mecha into a wet dream of action, epic fight scenes, and pre-teen joy. It’s a big movie for kids and the kids in all of us, and that comes with both good and bad. The former outshines much of the latter, but it doesn’t excuse it. So how does del Toro’s commentary stack up against the film? Will he talk about Charlie Hunnam‘s acting performance? Will he teach what amounts to a two-plus hour film class on how to make effects heavy movies? Will he acknowledge the script’s deficiencies including the silliness of punching monsters to death instead of using bunker-buster missiles or, I don’t know, a big ass sword? Let’s find out together! Keep reading to see what I heard during Guillermo del Toro’s commentary for Pacific Rim.

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cumberdict

It’s not often one gets to write a story that includes so many names that geeks adore, but here we go: Tom Hiddleston is going to be replacing Benedict Cumberbatch in a Guillermo del Toro movie. Let’s back up a bit though. First, the actors in question. Benedict Cumberbatch, he of Sherlock fame, has been a very busy guy lately. So busy, in fact, that just this week he’s been the subject of a million rumors connecting him and the new Star Wars movie, and he’s signed on to star in a Percy Fawcett biopic called Lost City of Z. Eventually something was going to have to give in his schedule, and it looks like that something is the movie he was going to do with del Toro, Crimson Peak (okay, it was said that he’s not dropping out because of another project, but that could just be because they’re not admitting that he’s in Star Wars yet). Tom Hiddleston, he of Avengers fame, is an actor who is every bit as charming and every bit as British as Cumberbatch, so when faced with the task of finding a replacement for Cumberbatch in his film, he’s the guy del Toro decided to call. Well, Heat Vision is reporting that the deal is done, the day is saved, and del Toro has his charismatic, British centerpiece. Tim Hiddleston is all signed up to star in Crimson Peak.

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pacific_rim_thorp_Kaiju

Pacific Rim really screwed up the kaiju. I don’t mean that the way you think. The CGI in this film was beautiful — the meticulously crafted combat sequences reignited an excitement for computer generated nonsense that I’d not felt since I first watched Jurassic Park. The creatures themselves are majestic, inventive, and captivating, especially when they’re getting punched by gigantic walking nuclear cooling towers. I could’ve watched them wreak havoc for another two hours — easily — and not gotten bored. But as kaiju, an important archetype in 20th Century Japanese storytelling, they’re borderline offensive. To explain why I need to go back a bit.

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Pacific Rim: VFX

Taking a break from Comic-Con, it’s time to look back at a movie that made quite the splash in San Diego last year and is currently in theaters, Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim. At that time, there was but a trailer for the giant monsters vs. giant robots movie, but the buzz was electric. One calendar year later, the film has made it’s way to theaters and has opened much softer than expected by the Warner Bros. accounting department. All the same, it’s a movie I, myself said was more fun “than anything else we’re going to see towering above us on the big screen this summer” in our review. One of the biggest draws of Pacific Rim: the scope of the action and the scale of its participants. Most of which is accomplished via the mastery of the folks at Industrial Light & Magic and Spectral Motion, among others. Under the watchful eyes of VFX supervisors John Knoll and James E. Price, and animation supervisor Hal Hickel, a team of artists created some of the most impressive icons of Summer 2013. Care to know how they did it? Good, because we just so happen to have a video explaining the “Digital Artistry of Pacific Rim.” Watch it for yourself just after the jump.

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3166992-pacific-rim-charlie-hunnam-rinko-kikuchi2

Depending on where you look, Pacific Rim is either in 2nd or 3rd place at the box office this weekend. But it should make enough money to warrant a sequel, especially with international business. And those of us who are into this new original property from Guillermo del Toro are really, really into it. There’s certainly franchise potential, what with its whole background mythology (and back story, which you can find in graphic novel form). Plus it’s going to at least gross more than del Toro’s first Hellboy film, and that spawned a part II. There’s also the fact that Legendary Pictures began moving ahead on developing Pacific Rim 2 way back in December, hiring the first film’s screenwriter, Travis Beacham, to start penning another installment. In the months since, he and del Toro have been sharing some bare bits and pieces and possible ideas for what happens next. The details are thin but these teases about the direction part 2 would go in allow for some educated guessing and speculation as to what we’d see as far as more monster and robot battles. Below I highlight some of what’s been officially said, some of what’s been drawn from those reports and some of what we’re simply hoping for with Pacific Rim 2. If you haven’t yet seen Pacific Rim, there are spoilers to be found ahead. So get off the computer, go see it and then come back to read further.

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reject recap 071313

This week I could have upped the number of stories to 20. It’s been that full of big news and hot trending topics and great original content. It helped that this week FSR brought two excellent new newswriters into the fold, Samantha Wilson and Adam Bellotto (who isn’t quoted this week but surely will be found on the Recap soon enough). It also helped that we’re a week away from Comic-Con and relevant teases and revelations are already trickling out. Plus we were excited about finally seeing Pacific Rim, suddenly excited about the idea of Sharknado and feeling good about movies again with the first looks at the Oldboy remake, the latest (scary again) sequel to Child’s Play and the Tom Hanks as Walt Disney portrayal of Saving Mr. Banks. Oh and the whole Grown Ups 2 not being too terrible thing. Wait, no, nobody feels good about (or believes) that. We’ve also gotten some great coverage of the 2013 New York Asian Film Festival from Rob. And not to ignore television ever, we posted on Bar Rescue, joke-machine sitcoms and a newbie’s viewing of The Sopranos. With all this stuff packing the pages of FSR the past seven days, you likely missed one or two posts and are in need of catching up with the following week in review. Start your weekend right after the jump.

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Year Zero

While fans of this week’s biggest (and robot-ist and monster-ist) new release, Guillermo Del Toro’s Pacific Rim, have already started leading the charge for its final battle sequences to be recognized as some of the best battle sequences in modern cinema, my hyperbolic praise for the film has to be heaped on something that happens far, far earlier. Del Toro’s film centers on a world that’s been dealing with the influx of the intergalactic monsters known as Kaiju for over a decade, a world that has already experienced both fear and hope, triumph and despair – basically a world where the sort of major battles that round out the film’s action are somehow commonplace and old hat. Which is why the film starts with a long-from prologue that explains how Travis Beacham’s story actually got to this point – what it was like when the Kaiju first appeared, how humans bonded together to fight back, the way Jaeger pilots were treated by the public, the straight-to-our head success rate in battling Kaiju, and the ultimate realization that even the best Jaeger was no longer good enough for the constantly-evolving Kaiju. As entertaining as I found Pacific Rim to be, it was the film’s prologue that most intrigued me – and, frankly speaking, it was something that I found myself wishing was the part committed to film first. (Perhaps the early years of the Jaeger program will get the prequel treatment one day, but I’m still a bit sad that all […]

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Pacific Rim

Let’s all take a moment to be thankful that Guillermo del Toro walked away from The Hobbit. No matter what you ultimately think of that movie or Pacific Rim, the one he ended up making instead, there’s something undeniably fun about the concept of giant robots battling giant monsters that The Hobbit just can’t accomplish no matter how many 20-minute a cappella interludes it had. On concept alone, Pacific Rim is the movie I’d rather see every time. Luckily, the end result pays off the faith in this case, delivering Summer of 2013′s biggest, most relentlessly entertaining monster blockbuster. The kind of heroic piece of nerdy filmmaking that just might save us all from the summer daze.

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Guillermo del Toro

Guillermo del Toro abides by zero perceived distinctions between high and low culture. Whether working with Hollywood popcorn properties like Blade II or Hellboy, or creating imaginative, dark arthouse fare like The Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth, del Toro has demonstrated a singular creative vision that stands out against an unimaginative Hollywood. That’s why this weekend’s Pacific Rim, despite being marketed as Transformers 4, promises to be a gloriously geeky respite in a summer of largely unsatisfactory blockbusters. Coupled with the recent news that del Toro might be directing a Charlie Kaufman-scripted adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five, there are many reasons to celebrate the fact that the restlessly imaginative man who introduced himself with Cronos bounced from the streamlined Hobbit adaptations. Equal parts Jim Henson, Brothers Quay, and Terry Gilliam, del Toro is a visionary who also happens to be a bankable name. That’s a pretty rare commodity these days. So here’s some free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) from the guy who we’ve forgiven for making Mimic.

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rim

Jaegers beating Kaiju. Kaiju beating Jaegers. That’s all a movie needs, right? All red-blooded humans should start frothing at the mouth at the sight of piloted robots and otherworldly monsters throwing down, but without their own red blood pumping through metallic veins, the CGI is only spectacle to keep your eyes busy. Enter screenwriter Travis Beacham and the unique solution for injecting heart into Pacific Rim. Needing something that injected a bit of humanity into those massive Jaegers, the film employs a concept called “drifting” that should stifle anyone trying to compare Guillermo del Toro‘s latest sci-fi epic to Transformers.  Beacham’s concept is not only one of the reasons the movie got made, it’s one of the reasons the script was ever written at all. I recently got to speak with the writer, who had a lot to say about the work that went into making Pacific Rim more than a Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em action fest:

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Slaughterhouse-Five

Take a deep breath and imagine Tralfamadore with Guillermo del Toro as its God and Charlie Kaufman as God’s righthand man. According to The Daily Telegraph (vie The Playlist), del Toro has brought on the writer behind Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind to adapt Kurt Vonnegut‘s unstuck-in-time novel “Slaughterhouse-Five.” With del Toro’s experience with The Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth, and Kaufman’s Escher-designed brain, they seem like a perfect pair to visually solve Vonnegut’s gorgeous Rubik’s Cube of sci-fi delirium and wartime madness as seen through the eyes of an optimistic WWII chaplain’s assistant and part-time alien abductee. “Charlie and I talked for about an hour-and-a-half and came up with a perfect way of doing the book. I love the idea of the Tralfamadorians to be ‘unstuck in time,’ where everything is happening at the same time. And that’s what I want to do,” del Toro said, adding, “It’s just a catch-22. The studio [Universal] will make it when it’s my next movie, but how can I commit to it being my next movie until there’s a screenplay? Charlie Kaufman is a very expensive writer!” Of course the news comes with the usual grain of salt that seasons every would-be project from del Toro. He’s got a lot on his plate — more if Pacific Rim is a hit — so even as it’s thrilling to see this partnership bloom at the script stage, there are a million miles to go before it’s on the screen. It’s not like we can start dreamcasting who […]

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geometria 1

This is another edition of Short Starts, where we present a weekly short film(s) from the start of a filmmaker or actor’s career. Pacific Rim director Guillermo del Toro is a movie geek’s best friend. Not just because he makes movies catered to them but because he is one of them, and they love and respect filmmakers who are both knowledgeable and passionate about cinema. If del Toro wasn’t providing the content for us to write about, he’d probably be writing about other people’s films (thank goodness he’s a movie maker, though, and not a movie blogger). I believe that he’s as celebrated an artist as he is, in spite of directing a lot of mediocre works, because people like him personally as much as if not sometimes more so than they like his output. And he’s been putting out stuff for a long time, even more than most fans could possibly ever see. Del Toro is one of the generation of horror and fantasy filmmakers that was producing many short films prior to getting into features, mostly home movies and student films going back even earlier than any film school they might have gone to. He made about ten different shorts on a variety of formats (Super 8, 16mm and 35mm), but only two are available. There’s the ninth, 1985′s Doña Lupe, which can be seen on the compilation DVD “Cinema 16: World Short Films.” And then following that was Geometria in 1997. This is the easiest to get a […]

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Pacific Rim Robots

Another trailer for Guillermo Del Toro‘s Pacific Rim has been released, just in case you’re not already on board. The thing is, there’s not a whole lot that’s different about this new spot and the WonderConone we saw at the end of last month. You’ve got giant monsters battling giant robots in the sea and on land. You’ve got Idris Elba doing his best audition for the next rousing speeches supercut. You’ve got the tagline telling us to “Go Big or Go Extinct.” And you’ve got little bits (littler this time) of the likely comic relief characters played by Charlie Day and Ron Perlman. Honestly, I’d like to see more of the character stuff. Or something else besides big creatures and the kind of action that could just as easily sell a Michael Bay movie. At least the previous trailer hinted at some themes involving the humanity inside the robots. That which make them different from the monsters in spite of them initially being noted for their equal measure — big bad weapons of defense to go up against big bad weapons of offense. Knowing Del Toro, the big ideas are probably there, but of course that stuff doesn’t sell a movie to most people the way explosions and fighting behemoths do.

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245941id1b_PacRim_1sided_120x180_2p_400.indd

You probably don’t need to watch the newly released Pacific Rim trailer below because by this point you already know if you want to see it or not. It’s a Guillermo del Toro movie about giant monsters fighting giant robots! But if for some reason you’re not yet convinced that this is going to be all kinds of over the top explodey goodness go ahead and take 2:38 to watch the new trailer below. It originally premiered at WonderCon where it was meant to be an exclusive, but del Toro and friends have decided to share it with the online world anyway. Check out the much loved Pacific Rim trailer from WonderCon below.

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Pacific Rim Concept Art

As someone whose only experience with legitimate high culture is seeing a bunch of bizarre black and white photography in a pitch black room aided only by a small flashlight (thanks, France!) these new pieces of concept art from Pacific Rim strike me as exactly the kind of thing that an enterprising museum of fine art would do well to acquire. Sure, Banksy will probably just paint over them with a clever message of social relevance, but the time it would spend unmolested would be worth their while. Head over to Total Film for the hi-res versions of the concept art for Guillermo del Toro‘s new movie, and be sure to check out our talk with Charlie Day about playing a scientist for the production. And seriously, who wouldn’t want these pieces framed and hanging on their wall?

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Pinocchio Production Art

There was a moment of concern when one of the writers behind Guillermo del Toro‘s stop-motion Pinocchio said that the project wasn’t moving forward, but now Gris Grimly has updated Bleeding Cool on the situation, and things don’t seem near as dire anymore. “I’m writing to clear up the rumor that has gotten started,” said Grimly. “It all started with misconstrued information that I passed along through my networks. But it has come to my knowledge that Pinocchio is indeed still kicking with interest from the studios. Although I thought it was going to lay quiet for a little while, I never thought it would be canceled. It’s too good.” The animated project is still in pre-production through The Jim Henson Company. For now. Del Toro always has a lot on his plate, so even as this particular fantasy becomes a reality, it might be a while. They still need a distributor to ensure success, and that might be tricky. Of course, Disney has the honor of owning the most popular telling of the story (complete with a singing cricket with a bold sense of ethics), and while children born in 2010 will always see Disney as “the company that makes Star Wars,” their classic properties still command massive respect. And since one of those icons is getting the Blu-ray treatment, they’ve released a new trailer for it. See if it can convince you to fall in love with The Little Mermaid all over again:

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hunnam-shaved-head

What is Casting Couch? It’s having trouble finding casting news in a week where the entire film industry’s eyes are turned to Sundance, but it was able to dig up a couple nuggets anyway. Not a lot is known about Guillermo del Toro’s upcoming project, Crimson Peak, but what we do know is that it’s supposed to be some kind of ghost story, and del Toro is in the final stages of securing Emma Stone to star in it. And now there’s some new news about who the male lead is going to be. Variety is reporting that Charlie Hunnam, the Sons of Anarchy star who del Toro recently worked with on Pacific Rim, is now on board the movie as well. Seeing as details regarding the plot are being kept under wraps, there’s no way of really knowing what role Hunnam is going to play, but probably that doesn’t matter. Honestly, this one had everybody at Emma Stone.

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review_mama

Once upon a time… horror films knew how to consistently land their third act. The original Black Christmas, The Exorcist and John Carpenter’s The Thing build tension and escalate the scares without falling apart by the end, but you don’t even need to go back that far to find ones that get it right thanks to (relatively) recent movies like [REC], The Mist and The Innkeepers. But more than any other genre a lot of horror films from the last few years simply drop the ball before the credits roll. Andrés Muschietti‘s Mama continues that trend unfortunately, but truth be told its grip is pretty damn tenuous from the beginning. After Victoria and Lily’s father kills their mother and some co-workers he takes the girls on a drive that ends with a crash in the woods. The trio wander the cold, desolate forest before finding an old, seemingly deserted cabin and settling in for the night. Father of the year doesn’t make it to morning. Five years later the now feral girls are found and returned to their uncle Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and his girlfriend Annabelle (Jessica Chastain), but something else has come home with them and it’s not too keen on sharing custody.

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Emma Stone

Guilleremo del Toro just needs to keep making movies forever. At least one a year. Maybe every two years for a particularly big project. Let’s hope that Pacific Rim reminds everyone with checks to write why this guy is so loved and that he can keep busy with all the projects he’s attached to — including the ghost story Crimson Peak. According to Variety, the movie is close to securing Emma Stone to star. Although almost nothing is known of the script’s plot, hauntings are pretty popular right now even as Paranormal Activity‘s spectre still moans limply in theaters, and Stone is in high demand so the combination here makes sense.  She’s a talented actor, but it’s her popularity in particular that matters here. If she’s the puzzle piece that gets a del Toro ghost story greenlit, then let’s she’s as close to signing as Variety reports. At any rate, the Stone/del Toro combination is something of a geek dream. Who wants to bet Doug Jones will be on board soon?

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published: 04.19.2014
A-
published: 04.19.2014
B+
published: 04.18.2014
C-
published: 04.18.2014
C

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