'I don't believe in romance, I believe in love.  They are two very different things': Guillermo del Toro

Having become the real gepetto who gave life to ‘Pinocchio’, Guillermo del Toro He received all the awards that the virtual father of the most famous doll in the history of cinema never received. Even Disney couldn’t top it when he got ahead of it with the addition of Tom Hanks’ fame, in another version of his own. And with the incredible technique of filming the dolls recreated with plasticine step by step, he turned the Best Cartoon of the year, in a masterpiece that now has another golden doll named… Oscar.

The last time we met you said you felt a bit like Gepetto… And now that you brought Pinocchio to life, if you could bring Oscar to life what do you think he would say to you? (Thinks for a few seconds) “Marijuana is very cheap in Los Angeles (Laughter). The truth is, I don’t know what he would say, but I suppose it could be something like I am really Indio Fernández and I will not drop my sword”.

And why do you think this Pinocchio story deserves an Oscar? “It’s just that it’s not about a kid going out into the real world. I think it is an urgent lesson in the world that is so normal today, about the imperfection of a father with a perfect son and how you can love each other beyond all faults.

And just as the entire world accepts films in English with subtitles, do you think that one day they will accept Spanish-language cinema in the same way and at the same level? “Well, a certain sector does. There are movies that have done it, ‘El Laberinto del Fauno’ did it for example, it raised eighty million (dollars), and it did it with subtitles”.

What does it take to make it normal? “The reality is that a lot of people in North America have an aversion to closed captioning, but when they experience it, they realize that nothing happens.”

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Nicole Kidman’s husband, Keith Urban, once told me with a laugh that with her he learned to ‘read’ a movie instead of watching it, because it had subtitles. In the United States, aren’t they as accustomed to movies with subtitles as we were raised? “I, once, spoke at the (Oscar) Academy, when I spoke about foreign cinema and said ‘I am an expert in foreign cinema because I have seen ‘Star Wars’, ‘Rocky’.”

And with your children, what was the first of your movies that you enjoyed together, before Pinocchio? “of mine? No, mine had never seen anything before Pinocchio.”

What style of animated film did you raise your children with? “Well, the first movie we watched together was Miyasaki’s ‘My Neighbor Totoro.’

Japanese cinema also with subtitles? “Well, in this case it was dubbed into Spanish because it’s an animated movie (Laughter).”

Do you remember the first ‘best’ movie you saw? “The first one I saw was Wuthering Heights, by William Wyler with Laurence Olivier.”

How was that day, the arrival, the cinema… the details? “It was a very bad cinema and my mother, I don’t know why, took me to the cinema in the afternoon. I was sleepy, the movie started and I fell asleep. I woke up in the middle of a scene of rain and thunder and passion, I went back to sleep and I woke up again in another scene just as baroque and gothic and everything and, I think so, it marked me a bit”.

And the first time you went to the movies… as a boyfriend? “Son! How hard to remember!”

Didn’t you often go to the movies? “Yes, yes, yes, but it’s hard to remember the first one. I think it was ‘Peggy Sue Got Married.’

And who chose “Let’s see such a movie”? “That yes, it was me (Laughter)”.

How romantic is Guillermo del Toro really? “I don’t believe in romance, I believe in love. They are two very different things. Romance stays in the trap of forever. Romance has the trap of perfection, of the ideal man, of the ideal woman, of the ideal encounter, which ends with the wedding.

If I remember correctly, at the premiere of ‘The Shape of Water’ you said that love has no shape, like water… “(Love) has no form. I tell you one thing: the two worst places you can put a loved one is on a pedestal or in the basement. No one is demon or angel. When you put someone on a pedestal, a serious mistake, it’s going to fall off, it’s going to break. You put someone in the basement and they are going to die, the sun doesn’t hit them, the air doesn’t hit them”.

For your part, the list of movies you rejected like ‘Harry Potter’ or ‘I Am Legend’ and even the blockbuster ‘The Hobbit’ (based on the beginning of ‘The Lord of the Rings’) is endless. Have you ever regretted saying no? “Yes. I think I should have done ‘The Wolf Man’ with Benicio (del Toro) and I think I should have done ‘Harry Potter’, the third one. I really liked the books but the first two films seemed very childish to me and I thought that I had to continue that way and Alfonso (Cuarón) made it. For me, my favorite Harry Potter is Alfonso’s. It’s not because he’s my soul brother but because it’s the movie that changed the whole series.”

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Any movie that you got to see and said “I would have loved to direct it”…? “’Brazil’ by Terry Gilliam. ‘The Time Bandits’ by Terry Gilliam”.

Couldn’t you do them again? “No no. Terry Gilliam is a genius. Nobody could. ‘Mad Max’… I would have also liked to direct”.

You could direct that one again! “(Nods and smiles silently).”

Do you dare to fill in the ellipsis in “I’m scared…”? “… The politicians”.

Hate if…? “… they ask me for perfection”.

I love when…? “… they let me be.”

People think that…? “… I love crime, bloody… (sadistic)”.

I would like you to know that…? “…it’s hard for me to put my socks on, a lot.”

The best advice you’ve ever heard? “Take care of your teeth and fuck a lot.”

Worst advice you’ve ever heard? “No, no… (takes a few seconds to think). None”.

Best advice you’ve ever given? “‘Serenity and patience’. Said it (the Mexican superhero) Kalimán”.

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Deborah Acker

I write epic fantasy; self-published via KDP. Devoted dog mom to my 10 yr old GSD, Shadow! DM not a priority; slow response at best #amwriting #author.

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