Biography of Guillermo del Toro
Guillermo del Toro is a director, screenwriter, author, and artist, renowned for his dark horror films with high-quality visuals and deep meaning. His directorial genius has gifted the world with "Pan's Labyrinth," "The Devil's Backbone," "Hellboy," "Pacific Rim," "Crimson Peak," and other films that keep the audience on edge from start to finish.
Guillermo del Toro Gomez was born on October 9, 1964, in the Mexican city of Guadalajara. Despite having a Catholic grandmother who strictly enforced religious upbringing (or perhaps because of it), from a young age, he was drawn to everything dark and mystical.
At the age of 8, Guillermo, an avid film fanatic, got his hands on his father's Super8 camcorder, with which he shot his first short films, using "Planet of the Apes" toy characters and anything else at hand. The main character of one of his childhood films was a "serial killer potato" with ambitions for world domination - in the film, it killed del Toro's parents, then ran out of the house and died under the wheels of a car.
His passion for directing did not fade over time: in high school, he recorded about 10 short horror films and attended film school after graduation. Two of his early films have survived: "Donna Lupe", which he shot at 19 (about an elderly tenant who decided to take revenge on the police running contraband behind her back) and "Geometria", shot two years later (about a boy who used black magic to pass a geometry exam).
In the mid-80s, he, a talented artist, also founded his own special effects company, Necropia. He worked in this field until 1993 - that's when audiences first heard of director Guillermo del Toro.
In 1993, a 29-year-old director presented his first feature film "Cronos" to the public, shot for 2 million dollars – a laughably small amount in the cinema world. The film struck both European and American viewers with its unique plot: it told about an ancient mechanism that granted its owner immortality as long as it was fed with their blood. Guillermo del Toro's directorial debut was even nominated for the main prize at the Moscow International Film Festival.
The director is a patriot of Mexico, and still recalls his forced escape from his native country. In 1997, Miramax Studios allocated Guillermo $30 million for shooting the horror film "Mimic". After that, unknown people kidnapped his father Federico, who owned a car sales business, and demanded a ransom twice the size of the fee from Miramax. Director James Cameron helped organize the collection of money for the ransom and found people to negotiate. The father was saved, but after that, the entire Guillermo family moved to Canada.
The film itself, although it did not recoup the studio's funds, still received warm reviews from critics, and the subsequent horror film "The Devil's Backbone" (2001), the script of which del Toro wrote as a schoolboy, was a real treat for the eyes and hearts of genre fans.
Then Guillermo undertook the second part of the adaptation of the comics about the vampire hunter Blade. The film, with Wesley Snipes in the lead role, grossed over 150 million worldwide.
In 2004, "Hellboy" with Ron Perlman was released, an adaptation of popular US comics about a demon from Hell, summoned to alter the course of World War II.
Del Toro had been harboring the idea of filming "Hellboy" for a very long time and declined the third part of "Blade" to focus on it, soberly assessing his strengths. The director himself appeared in one of the scenes of the film, hiding in a dragon costume.
In 2006, the critically acclaimed film "Pan's Labyrinth" by Guillermo del Toro was released - a mystical tale with a recognizable director's touch, where reality and fiction intertwine. 11-year-old Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) arrives at a military camp with her pregnant mother and stepfather - a fascist officer who must clear the area of rebels. During one of the walks, she discovers a mysterious labyrinth where a creature named Faun lives. It claims that Ofelia is a princess of fairy-tale lands, but she can become it only after three trials.
"Pan's Labyrinth" received 6 Oscar nominations, including "Best Foreign Language Film", and won 3 for cinematography, makeup, and set decoration.
According to the director, "Pan's Labyrinth" is the sister of "The Devil's Backbone". And in 2007, del Toro produced the horror film "The Orphanage" by Spanish director J.A. Bayona. The film became the third part of the trilogy, which began with "The Devil's Backbone".
After the sequel to "Hellboy" (2008), Guillermo hardly directed himself. Together with Peter Jackson, he wrote the script for the "Hobbit" trilogy, as well as for the horror film "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark" with Katie Holmes and Guy Pearce in the lead roles.
There are two sides to fear. The first happens, as in fairy tales, when you break taboos: don't go into the woods, don't talk to strangers, always obey your parents. The second is harder to describe, it's always chaotic and disorderly.
In 2013, the premiere of the fantastic action film by del Toro "Pacific Rim" with Idris Elba and Charlie Hunnam took place. This time, the director drew inspiration from anime and tokusatsu - Japanese series about superheroes. Although, in the opinion of many viewers, the plot was quite trivial, the signature spectacle of del Toro ensured the film's box office success.
That same year, he served as executive producer of the horror film "Mama" and filmed an introductory couch gag for the animated series "The Simpsons".
Then Guillermo tried himself as a series director. Based on the "The Strain" trilogy, written by him in 2009 in collaboration with screenwriter Chuck Hogan, he filmed a series of the same name, telling about a parasite spreading the vampire virus. A detailed universe, including the peculiarities of vampire physiology, secured the series high ratings for four seasons.
In 2015, the Gothic romance "Crimson Peak" with Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, and Tom Hiddleston was released. Del Toro called it his best picture after "Pan's Labyrinth" and "The Devil's Backbone". All stages of work on the film took eight years; about six months at the post-production stage del Toro devoted strictly "to playing with color and the order of scenes".
Everything was thought out to the smallest detail, even the furniture used in the decorations was made in two sizes. When the characters were supposed to feel weak, they were seated in larger furniture, so they looked tiny against its background, and vice versa.
In 2016, the director presented the first season of the animated series "Trollhunters", also filmed based on del Toro's book. The plot centers around a 15-year-old boy named Jim Lake, who found an amulet that turned him into a hunter for evil trolls and an ally of the good ones. The main character was voiced by Anton Yelchin, who tragically died during the project.
In August 2017, the premiere of a new film by Guillermo del Toro "The Shape of Water" - about the love of an ordinary woman and a man-amphibian, took place in the USA. In March 2018, the film won three Oscars in the categories "Best Picture", "Best Production Design", and "Best Original Score". Guillermo himself received the statuette as "Best Director".
After this, the director began working on an interpretation of the fairy tale about Pinocchio in his own, dark key, which eventually saw the light in 2022, and also planned to shoot his version of "Frankenstein". Interestingly, Toro sees a lot in common between the wooden doll and Frankenstein's monster: "These are creatures, created and left in a world that they must get to know on their own. Both undergo a moral and spiritual journey".
In 2021, he finished work on the noir thriller "Nightmare Alley" with Bradley Cooper and Cate Blanchett. The main character is a conman manipulator who, to his misfortune, got involved with a much more dangerous person.
Guillermo del Toro's Personal Life
In 1986, Guillermo del Toro married artist Lorenza Newton, whom he had known since his college days and with whom he remained inseparable until their divorce in 2017. They had two daughters together: Mariana and Marisa.
In 2021, the director married for the second time. His new chosen one was historian and screenwriter Kim Morgan, with whom he worked on "Nightmare Alley". They first appeared as a couple at the Oscars ceremony in March 2018. "The Shape of Water" then received four statuettes and won in the most prestigious categories: "Best Picture" and "Best Director". Guillermo del Toro dedicated his victory to his wife.
The director has a separate house dedicated to storing his books, drawings, and props used for making films. He calls it "Bleak House".
Guillermo sketches all his ideas, be it costumes, makeup or characters, in a notebook he always carries with him.
Guillermo believes in ghosts and claims he has encountered them twice. The first time was in Mexico, at his uncle's house. Sitting in an empty room at night, he heard someone sighing sadly next to his ear for 15 minutes.
The second time was while filming "The Hobbit". As usual, he jokingly asked the hotel to put him in a room with ghosts. The entire film crew was very tired and had dispersed to their rooms. In the middle of the night, he was awakened by a loud woman's cry. Looking out into the corridor and finding it empty, he continued his search. The sound led him to a window in his bathroom that overlooked a narrow alley. There was no one there, but the sound was very clear and loud.
Many people think that Guillermo and Benicio del Toro are relatives. In reality, they just share the same surname.
Guillermo del Toro now
In October 2022, on the eve of Halloween, the series "Guillermo del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities" was released on Netflix. It is a collection of eight scary stories, filmed by different directors, but each of them was presented by del Toro.
In early 2023, the director shared plans to make an animated adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro's novel "The Buried Giant". And in March of the same year, he had another triumph at the Oscars - his "Pinocchio" won the award for "Best Animated Film".
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