Director Guillermo del Toro has a true love of monsters. Whether it is the monsters of fairy tales of old in Pan’s Labyrinth or new like his big screen adaptations of Mike Mignola’s comic Hellboy, del Toro fully gestates these monsters as fully fledged characters. You can’t help but become as fascinated with these monsters as his passion for them exudes from them both visually and emotionally.
Guillermo del Toro is not only a master storyteller, but an innovator driving the evolution of story-telling to the next level with a multi-platform approach. In a recent interview with Wired, del Toro talked at length of many of the monsters of his current projects, including The Night Eternal, the final book of the vampire epidemic trilogy with Chuck Hogan, and Pacific Rim, his monsters-versus-mechs film with Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. Del Toro also confirmed that Ron Perlman (Sons of Anarchy, Hellboy) will indeed be in Pacific Rim!
Q: Now that The Night Eternal has been released, are you sad to be done with the trilogy or glad to have the project completed?
Guillermo Del Toro: We’re very happy. We tried a lot of different things with these books. We’re sad to let it go because we have so much involved in that world, you know? And Chuck and I are very much “helicopter parents” — every time we send a manuscript, we would send 50 notes the next day, and then we would send a new chapter a week later. And even now I would love to have added a few chapters more. But there’s nothing you can do — at some point you have to stop writing.
Q: What made you want to write an apocalyptic vampire tale?
Del Toro: Originally I wanted very much to try and present the origins of the vampire plague in very modern terms. And then little by little, with each book, go back to finding the spiritual in the biology and finding the biology in the myth.
I feel like science and religion are like a Möbius strip. When you dig deep enough into religion, you find science to explain it, and when you dig deep enough and long enough into science you find things that are unexplained.
And I wanted very much for the books to come full circle. There’s a passage at the end of The Night Eternal where one of the characters, Mr. Q, says, “The language of God is biology.” Essentially he says that god sends the letter, but he doesn’t send the dictionary.
I agree with that idea. And that’s what we started with. For example, if I was writing Dracula right now, how would I deal with the arrogance of science? Because science is very, very arrogant. And I thought, “Well, the best way to deal with that is with an epidemic.”
Q: Now that these books are done, what are you working on now film-wise, book-wise, etc.?
Del Toro: We start shooting next Monday [Eds. note: Nov. 14] on Pacific Rim, which is a gigantic production for Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. We are wrapping production on a smaller, very powerful horror film called Mama which I am producing. Chuck and I are working on a series of books that I can’t talk too much about. But we started on that about two weeks ago. I’m still working on animation at DreamWorks. I’m keeping myself pretty busy.
Q: What more can you tell us about Pacific Rim?
Del Toro: We are working with actors that I absolutely adore. Idris Elba, Charlie Day, Charlie Hunnam, Ron Perlman. It’s really, it’s a very, very beautiful poem to giant monsters. Giant monsters versus giant robots. Twenty-five-story-high robots beating the crap out of 25-story-high monsters. We’re trying to create a world in which the characters are real and how it would affect our world politically, how it would affect the landscape if creatures like this really came out of the sea, etc.
Q: Can you tell us what happened with the movie adaptation of Slaughterhouse Five? (Del Toro was attached to the project at one point.)
Del Toro: I hope you don’t mind, but I’d prefer not to discuss projects that aren’t active. We are turning in a screenplay for the TV pilot for The Hulk. We turned in a screenplay for Haunted Mansion at Disney. Those are things that are active. But otherwise [talking about non-active projects] it creates the impression of … I am diverse, but I’m not that diverse.
Q: Are you still working on inSane, the videogame?
Del Toro: Oh yeah! Up until the end of pre-production on Pacific Rim, we were still going up to Chicago, to Champaign, Illinois, to work with the developer. And every week we have a conference [call] where we exchange ideas about the design, the gameplay, about the models. I’m taking it little by little. I think it’s going to be a fun, scary game. It’s a maiden voyage into the medium for me. I’m learning a lot of stuff.
Pacific Rim is slated to hit theaters on July 12, 2013.