Guillermo del Toro Poster

Quotes (29)

  • When you have the intuition that there is something which is there, but out of the reach of your physical world, art and religion are the only means to get to it.
  • Aside from being a perfect Hellboy, he is a gentleman, a friend to die for, a great actor and - for the ladies - he has the sexiest male voice this side of Barry White. What more can one ask for? - On Ron Perlman, 2002.
  • I remember the worst experience of my life, even above the kidnapping of my father, was shooting Mimic (1997) [del Toro's first Hollywood feature, in 1997, which was severely compromised by producer interference]. Because what was happening to me and the movie was far more illogical than kidnapping, which is brutal, but at least there are rules. Now when I look at Mimic, what I see is the pain of a deeply flawed creature that could have been so beautiful.
  • It would be a clich√© to say that, because I am a Mexican, I see death in a certain way. But I have seen more than my share of corpses, certainly more than the average First World guy. I worked for months next to a morgue that I had to go through to get to work. I've seen people being shot; I've had guns put to my head; I've seen people burnt alive, stabbed, decapitated ... because Mexico is still a very violent place. So I do think that some of that element in my films comes from a Mexican sensibility.
  • The sign of a true friendship is when you can forgive success.
  • These shots are not eye-candy, they are, to me, eye-protein. - regarding El laberinto del fauno (2006).
  • My life is a suitcase. I am the traveling Mexican.
  • That's what I love about fairy tales; they tell the truth, not organized politics, religion or economics. Those things destroy the soul. That is the idea from El laberinto del fauno (2006) and it surfaces in Hellboy (2004) and, to some degree, in all my films.
  • [on Stanley Kubrick] I admire Kubrick greatly. He is often accused of being a prodigious technician and rigid intellectual, which people say makes his films very cold. I don't agree. I think that Barry Lyndon (1975) or A Clockwork Orange (1971) are the most perfect marriages of personality and subject. But in fact, Full Metal Jacket (1987) is even more so. It looked at rigidity and brutality with an almost clinical eye. It is, for me, a singular film about the military, about war and its consequences. The famous scenes, like the induction with R. Lee Ermey where he renames the soldiers and reshapes them into sub-human maggots, had a particular impact on me. Also the suicide scene with Vincent D'Onofrio in the bathroom. And the sniper set-piece at the end. Those are absolutely virtuoso pieces of filmmaking.
  • I think that 50 percent of the narrative is in the audio/visual storytelling. I happened to think the screenplay is the basis of it all, but definitely doesn't tell the movie. It tells the story, but doesn't tell the whole movie. A lot of the narrative is in the details.
  • History is ultimately an inventory of ghosts.
  • If you're not operating on an instinctive level, you're not an artist.... Reason over emotion is bullshit, absolute bullshit... We suffocate ourselves in rules. I find fantasy liberating.
  • Do whatever the fuck you want, even if it's wrong, and then tell about it with honesty. That is filmmaking to me...Success is fucking up on your own terms.
  • [at San Diego Comic-Con]: I fabricate everything. There's not a single real thing in El laberinto del fauno (2006), because ultimately I'm very specific about [those details]. Context is everything in a fable, because every story has already been told. So the only variations I find are the voice of the storyteller and the context in which it's told.
  • Stanley Kubrick's absolute control over the medium turns his rock-solid framing and tense timing into real weapons pointed directly at the unsuspecting audience of The Shining (1980). No one has ever used the Steadicam as perfectly as he did in the tracking shots behind Torrance, Danny's tricycle. He uses the soundtrack brilliantly, fusing concrete music with sound effects and score to unsettle and position the uber-mannered, hyper-real performances of his actors. And, refreshingly, Kubrick is not above moments of Grand Guignol: the elevator doors spilling blood, the axe on the chest, the Grady twins bathed in blood or the old undead crone festering in the bathtub. He proves that great horror can be both shocking and a highly artistic endeavor.
  • [on what scares him] (jokingly) Politicians -- a lot. They are so deranged, especially these days. And human pettiness. Oh my God that's scary. It's so horrifying. I've seen a UFO, and I've heard ghosts twice -- once in New Zealand and once in Mexico, but those are not the scariest things. The scary things are real things like every day.
  • [on celebrating Halloween] I've been making myself up as a nasty zombie and playing the character really straight, never breaking and not giving out candy. I wander my neighbourhood with an eye socket gone, moaning and groaning, and the kids all freak out. But this year my wife and daughter begged me to go as a pirate, so that's what I'm doing. But I recommend everybody who has the option, to scare trick-or-treaters and freak out as many people as they can.
  • The horror story was birthed when we became sedentary cavemen and started telling scary stories to keep the children from wandering off into the night. Today, there's nothing more cathartic for a guy in a three-piece suit, someone super wound-up and super-tight, to get on a roller-coaster of a horror film and scream like a madman.
  • I like pictures that are perverse and intelligent, something that you actually take home with you. I tre volti della paura (1963) might not make you jump every minute but Mario Bava makes indefatigable images and Jack Clayton's The Innocents (1961) is so creepy and powerful, he's going to outlive the filmmakers going for short-term scares.
  • [on what attracts him to genre films] The beauty and the horror. These directors have made great works of art in a genre that most people just throw in the garbage bin, that they don't think is important. But The Innocents (1961) is as powerful a film as you'll see in any genre. It towers above other films.
  • I hate Hollywood movies with children as happy, brainless creatures that spout one-liners. What I tried to put in El espinazo del diablo (2001) is how unsafe it is to be a child. Many times in my life I saw children almost kill each other.
  • [on whether he was thinking of directing a Star Wars sequel] It's like thinking if I want to date a supermodel. I don't think about these things.
  • Kaiju [monster] movies, by definition, bring a completely escapist fun. When you're a kid and you're watching Godzilla stomp a bunch of tanks or jets or through a city, the proportions of these things are so enormous that you cannot correlate them to anything real. What I do is I then bring in visually a very different sense of style from reality. I have these super-colored lights illuminating the rain, so it looks like a living comic-book or a living anime, you know? And the things that I do very, very consciously is I vacated all the streets so they would be empty of people. So you're never thinking 'Oh, the kaiju just crushed 600 people'. Because the streets are vacated and everybody's in a refuge, all they can destroy is buildings and vehicles when nobody's there.
  • You cannot aspire to do a movie that is as quirky as El laberinto del fauno (2006) in the Hollywood machinery. It would get tested and noted by executives to death, and end up having a happy ending and all that bullshit, you know? And at the same time, you cannot end up with with a movie that is as spectacular and magnificent in showmanship as Pacific Rim (2013) if you do it in Mexico or Spain.
  • [on what's the scariest thing he's ever seen on a television show] When I was a kid, it's not a metaphor, but I actually soiled myself when I was a child watching Night Gallery (1969). There was an episode called The Doll. I remember when the doll smiles, I literally lost control of my sphincter.
  • The natural state of a movie is 'not-getting-made.'
  • [on Mimic (1997) and working with Miramax] I really hated the experience. My first American experience was almost my last because it was with the Weinsteins [producers Harvey Weinstein and Bob Weinstein] and Miramax. I have got to tell you, two horrible things happened in the late 90s, my father was kidnapped and I worked with the Weinsteins. I know which one was worse... the kidnapping made more sense, I knew what they wanted. (...) I lost casting battles, I lost story battles but the one thing "Mimic" is visually 100% exactly what I wanted. The movie is visually gorgeous and it has a couple of sequences I'm very proud of. [Oct. 2017]
  • [speech on receiving his first Golden Globe in 2018] For 25 years I have handcrafted very strange little tales made of motion, color, light and shadow. In three precise instances, these strange stories, these fables, have saved my life. Once with El espinazo del diablo (2001), once with El laberinto del fauno (2006), and now with The Shape of Water (2017), because as directors, these things are not just entries in a filmography. We have made a deal with a particularly inefficient devil that trades three years of our lives for one entry on IMDb. And these things are biography and they are alive.
  • I would go to Catholic Church and the saints made no sense. But Frankenstein made sense, The Wolfman made sense, The Creature from the Black Lagoon made sense. So I chose that as my religion.