Hero Complex Film Festival 2013: Guillermo del Toro Q&A

deltoroguillermo01Following The Mist, I was also able to attend another very entertaining scheduled event at the Hero Complex Film Festival, a back-to-back screening of the The Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth.  Both are films written and directed by Guillermo del Toro, who provided an hour-long Q&A in between features.  For anyone who is familiar with Guillermo del Toro, they would know that he is one of the most entertaining directors to listen to, as he is always full of passion for his projects and isn’t one to censor himself (not to mention his wonderful Mexican accent).  This entire conversation has been recorded and provided in a link.  Read on to learn more about what he had to say about his past films, his career as a filmmaker, his personal life, and his upcoming feature films, most notably Pacific Rim (Post Updated with latest Pacific Rim trailer).


For those unaware, The Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth are perhaps the best films that Guillermo del Toro has made so far.  I appreciate and really love some of his commercial efforts, Blade 2, Hellboy, Hellboy 2: The Golden Army, but ‘Backbone’ and Pan’s Labyrinth are features that really feel like something special, as they bring forward interesting ideas and visuals, while also working as films that can connect on a more personal level.  It is not too surprising that they are very personal films for Del Toro.

Both films feature young children dealing with something of a fantastical nature, while in the midst of the Spanish Civil War.  In The Devil’s Backbone, after Carlos, a 12-year-old whose father has died in the Spanish Civil War, arrives at an ominous boy’s orphanage he discovers the school is haunted and has many dark secrets that he must uncover.  In Pan’s Labyrinth, a girl in 1944 Spain, fascinated with fairy-tales, is sent along with her pregnant mother to live with her new stepfather, a ruthless captain of the Spanish army. During the night, she meets a fairy who takes her to an old faun in the center of the labyrinth.  This faun tasks her with quests to fulfill in order to prove herself as a true princess.


This Q&A features Guillermo del Toro talking heavily about both films, along with his work on other films and how his personal life and relationships have made an impact.  The Q&A is a little spoiler-ish for the films screened that night and also features plenty of F-bombs from the always colorful Del Toro, so be aware of that.  Also, once again, I did my best to tweak the audio recording to sound as best as possible, but the environment I was in only allowed me so much clarity.  I should also note that this Q&A begins after the audience was given an exclusive look at the newest upcoming trailer for Pacific Rim.  Regardless, please enjoy this fun conversation!

Here are a few tidbits for those who did not want to listen to the complete Q&A:

  • Much of Guillermo’s inspiration for these films came from his childhood.
  • Guillermo was bullied in school and “became fat” in order to be strong enough to beat up his bullies.
  • Guillermo loves the idea of spreading more awareness about the Spanish Civil War, which is why he has it as the backdrop in both films.
  • Guillermo really did not have a great time making Mimic.
  • Guillermo learned a lot from making Mimic, including how to work in and outside of the studio system.
  • Making The Devil’s Backbone after Mimic was a huge relief, as he had creative control.
  • Guillermo owes a lot to Pedro Almodovar, who gave Del Toro plenty of creative freedom and advice, as he grew as a filmmaker.
  • Guillermo was inspired by his daughters in many ways as a filmmaker, including having the guts to stand up to studio execs.
  • Guillermo’s father was kidnapped right after he finished Mimic.
  • The Devil’s Backbone was made with a lot of different themes in mind, which included thoughts from a political standpoint.
  • After 9/11 occurred, Pan’s Labyrinth afforded Guillermo the chance to really delve into his thoughts on that subject and relate them, to an extent, through film.
  • Guillermo is quite fond of working with child actors, but knows how to pick them.  He looks for children that do not “act”, but instead “look”, react to scenes naturally.
  • Guillermo and Ron Pearlman have a friendship that seems stronger than most.  They have worked on five films together and have an incredibly shorthand.  Guillermo would take a bullet for Ron and knows more than most about him.
  • Guillermo has a “man cave” which contains a treasure trove of movie art, props, and who knows what else.
  • Guillermo is super excited about Pacific Rim and ensure people that if he only showed “money shots” from the film, it would be a “70-minute orgasm”.
  • Guillermo’s wife and daughters have a big crush on all the robots in Pacific Rim.
  • Pacific Rim is the most satisfied Guillermo has ever been, while working on a studio film.
  • Guillermo is excited to see to see Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla film in 2014.  He loves that concept and loved Edwards’ film Monsters.
  • Guillermo has big plans for Justice League Dark and plans to include Deadman, The Spectre, Swamp Thing, Constantine, Phantom Stranger, Zatanna, Zatara, Sargon the Sorcerer and Etrigan the Demon.
  • Every film that Guillermo has done is a film that he wanted to do, including Mimic.  He is proud to have worked on everyone, regardless of its quality.


The Devil’s Backbone will arrive on Criterion Blu-ray this coming July.  Pan’s Labyrinth is currently available on Blu-ray.  Feel free to order and pre-order those items here:

Check out the trailers for both films:

Learn more about Hero Complex Film Festival 2013 by clicking on the poster below:

hcff poster

devils-backbone-blu-ray Pans-Labyrinth-2006-bluray

Aaron is a writer/reviewer for WhySoBlu.com.  Follow him on Twitter @AaronsPS3.
He also co-hosts a podcast,
Out Now with Aaron and Abe, available via iTunes or at HHWLOD.com.


Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Gamer, Comic Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

2 Responses to “Hero Complex Film Festival 2013: Guillermo del Toro Q&A”

  1. Brian White

    Nice monstrous content and coverage here on this one and the Mist post!

  2. Aaron Neuwirth

    Much appreciated, I had a lot of fun putting these posts together.