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Guillermo del Toro's Story Labyrinth

He made his movie name with “Pan’s Labyrinth.” Now, he’s writing about vampires. He joins us.

Director Guillermo del Toro, Sept. 23, 2010 (WBUR's Jesse Costa)

Director Guillermo del Toro was the fantasy-obsessed kid from Guadalajara, Mexico whose other-worldly visions ended up conquering Hollywood and the movie world.

His “Pan’s Labyrinth” won three Academy Awards, and took viewers into fascist Spain and a wild underground fable.

His “Hellboy” ruled the box office with comic book heroism. He’s had “The Hobbit” on his dance card. And “Frankenstein.” And “Slaughterhouse Five.”

And in his new book, he has vampires. Not the kissy, bare-chest, swooning type. Hard vampires.

We speak with Guillermo del Toro, on life and fantasy.

-Tom Ashbrook


Guillermo Del Toro, filmmaker and novelist. His movies include “Pan’s Labyrinth” and the “Hell Boy” films. His latest novel, with Chuck Hogan, is “The Fall: Book Two of the Strain Trilogy.” You can read an excerpt.


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  • John Myers

    Your Hellboy is classic. Thanks for your take on it, Guillermo!

  • Joshua Hendrickson

    HELLBOY was fun, PAN’S LABYRINTH was deep, and if the rumors I’ve heard are true I’ll bet Del Toro’s THE HOBBIT will be as magnificent as Peter Jackson’s LORD OF THE RINGS. But … vampires? Ugh. I’ve have had enough and more than enough of those overrated undead these last few years. The only vampire movies I’ve liked out of the last decade or so were LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, of which the surely dreadful American remake must be accounted utterly unnecessary, and the brilliant Nosferatu-based SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE. I’m sure Del Toro’s take on vampires will be unique and intelligent, but couldn’t he find a subject that hasn’t been utterly drained of lifesblood?

  • galina

    I would love to hear Del Toro talk about the making of “The Hobbit” and some of the challenges he encountered and how him and Peter Jackson got along on the set and how is the movie progressing. How is he liking New Zeland and the Weta shop and all the staff that worked on LOTR? Is it hard to get involved with the group of people who already worked on LOTR and have a vision and experience of those movies and him coming in as a “new guy”?

    My biggest fear is that “The Hobbit” will be dark, because Del Toro’s other movies were so dark and in my humble opinion “The Hobbit” is the “lightest” book our of the LOTR series.

    Big fan of Pan’s Labyrinth. Its amazing, unique, one of the best movies of all time.

    Thank you

  • Jason M.

    “Such fascist, intolerant, freedom-hating and elitist thinking!!” HAHAHAHAHA!!

    But, really, seriously. If you like “Pan’s Labyrinth,” do check out “Spirit of the Beehive,” which, for what it’s worth, was made under an *actual* fascist regime. “Cria Cuervos” is also highly recommended.

  • zach

    I would like to hear Guillermo speak about the importance of keeping and maintaining a sketchbook and how it relates to his creative process.

  • JacFLasche

    Number one vampire of all time — totalitarian government of all stripes.

    Number two vampire of all time — the catholic church, islam, etc.

  • gnn

    what does Mr del Torro think of Alex Rivera’s “Sleep Dealer”.

  • http://hplovecraft wright gregson

    you might ask the director about the story by lovecraft that is set in the North End of Boston. (i forget the name)

  • Kathryn

    It’s great to hear Guillermo talk and express his thoughts in such a solid way. I feel a kindred spirit that I could learn so much from! There’s so much more interest to his fantasy that is missing from the minds of most people who create in the genre.

  • Jeff

    Question for Guillermo del Toro. What about Michael Moorcook? Any chance he’d do Elric?

  • Andrea

    I am curious if Mr. Del Toro has read “The House of Leaves” by Mark Z Danielewski. It is haunting and beautiful and I’d give a limb to see him adapt and direct it. The book centers around the story of a family whose house turns out to be bigger on the inside than it is on the outside and the house eventually opens up into a cavernouss horror. Simply perfect for Del Toro to direct!

  • BHA

    Tom asked: “What is going on in Mexico?”

    The question is “What percentage of the drugs moving in Mexico are transported to the USA?”

    Drug addicts in the USA is “what is happening in Mexico”. No customers, no production. Works with cars, works with illegal drugs.

  • Marc

    I love your movies. You mentioned you read stories to your daughters. I would be interested to know some of the titles so I could read them to my son.


  • Nancy

    I am struck instantly that this story followed the one about the murder of civilians in Afghanistan. More specifically, in regard to the Fantasy-Escape/Reality issue: The most striking thing about Pan’s Labyrinth for me is the degree of reality that it presents, and triggers. I was interested in del Torro’s comment on “spiritual fear”, and wanted to know if he puts it on a level with “holy fear” of Patonic philosophy? A television show like 24 is fantasy. Pan’s labyrinth forces us to face our fears.

  • http://www.onpointradio.org/about-on-point/sam-gale-rosen Sam Gale Rosen

    Hey Wright, “Pickman’s Model,” right? I think Guillermo actually mentioned it during the hour as one of his favorites.

  • Amy

    Pan’s Labyrinth is one of the most beautiful movies that I have ever seen, in its story, historical/social commentary, and visual quality.

    Two things still stand out in my mind.
    1) When I first saw the faun, I mentally recoiled from his appearance. The young girl in the story gradually finds the faun, although frightening in appearance, to be the most beautiful thing in her ugly, horrifying world. By the end of the movie, my actual impression of the faun’s physical appearance had changed from frightening to beautiful, as well.
    2) I still have nightmares about the monster in the cave at the dinner table! The creativity that must have gone into the development of that creature is incredible.

  • Miguel Zepeda

    I hope Del Toro can read this. I want to say El Laberinto del Fauno was amazing but mainly I want to thank him, as a Spanish speaker (and I’m sure many people will agree with me) for making this film in his native language, in the language I presume he imagined and developed this story. We don’t have great stories out there which people forced into English so they can be successful. Again thank you so much for taking such a risk.

    Un coredial saludo

  • veritas

    Del TOro being the victim of reverse racism(getting beat up as a youngster because of his race)…this is such nonsense. no white person can be the victim of racism…i just read the liberal playbook so i should know this.. only white people can be racists;thats a fact no discussion
    e.g. saying things like “Mexico is a nation of millions of people, 99% of whom are latino or Native American and yet the only person who comes out of that country with any artistic recognition in film is the one white guy”now that is racist! it suggests the unthinkable. i think the right calls it truth or reality (one of those ugly words) we call it racism.

  • Rudolph

    I so agree with veritas.
    I closed the window right after he said that. I am utterly disgusted with his nonsense. I should know as I’ve lived in Mexico.
    White people are not discriminated against in Mexico, they have a tremendous amount of privilege, they are the beauty ideal and they are usually very respected regardless of what area of work they decide to specialize in, e.g. White doctors are more sought after than “brown” doctors.
    Just because he couldn’t get along with people in Guadalajara doesn’t mean that there was “reverse racism”. Maybe discrimination played a role in why he was ostracized, but it’s not like he’s the only white person in Mexico, there are plenty of people who have white ancestry.
    I can’t believe this man, I used to like him, and respect him.
    “Poor white boy was discriminated against in a society that practically worships white people”.

  • erick

    hey there r between 20 and 30 percent of white ppl in mexico, therefore there are about 70 percent of other races not 99 percent, that’s stupid, 4 mexico has the third biggest amount of white ppl in latin america after argentina and brazil…moreover…every country in latin america has a good deal of white ppl, a remnant of the spanish conquistadores…and immigrants…for instance, i’m a latin american green eyed white guy (my maternal great grandfather was scottish, and my paternal grandfather was spaniard), and in my country panama, i don’t feel strange, almost all of my friends r white, not by choice, that’s cause of the huge amount of ppl who, even being mixed, have white or light skin and white features, pale eyes, and so on…u have to live here to understand it…here u can find every race…that’s great…and please, guillermo del toro is not the only white person in mexico at all….

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