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Guillermo del Toro Explains Why He Only Does 'Bonkers' Movies

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Guillermo del Toro chats with Alec Baldwin at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival.
Guillermo del Toro chats with Alec Baldwin at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival.
Photo: Getty Images

You never know what you’re going to get with a director like Guillermo del Toro. He likes to take risks and do things that are “absolutely bonkers.” But you can be sure his works are going to entertain, astound, and maybe even change you.

Del Toro held an extensive conversation with Alec Baldwin at the Tribeca Film Festival on Thursday. As reported by Deadline, the pair spoke for over an hour about their mutual love of making movies, and what inspires del Toro to make such unusual and groundbreaking works like Pan’s Labyrinth and the Oscar-winning film The Shape of Water (also Pacific Rim, because my coworker James would disown me if I didn’t mention it). He compared filmmaking to “orchestrating an accident,” and said his biggest motivation is making sure he’s doing something unique.


“The movies I do, most of the time I do them because the premise is so absolutely bonkers,” he said. “When you’re on a set and you’ve absorbed 100 years of have to stop and say, ‘OK, that’s what would normally happen in that movie. What can I do that is different?’ And you stop yourself. You have to stop yourself.”

When asked why he tends to flock to monster movies like The Shape of Water and the upcoming Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, del Toro said it’s partially because they represent what Deadline’s Dade Hayes called “the complexity of humanity.” Del Toro noted how we see our world as “a narcissistic place,” where we strive for perfection based on a black-and-white view of how our lives are supposed to be. “There’s a dichotomy between black and white. Nobody is black and white. All of us exist in between,” he said. “We have the right to be polychrome...At 10 a.m., I’m a motherfucker. At 12, I’m a saint.”


Monsters bring our strengths and weaknesses to the surface, so we can examine them in a safe space. Perhaps that’s what drove del Toro to adapt Pinocchio, which is currently in production at Netflix.

“Media tells us to be perfect in so many ways,” he said. “You have to have perfect hair, perfect teeth. Never let them see you sweat. No, no, no, no, no. Let me sweat, motherfucker. I don’t have perfect teeth. I don’t have perfect hair. I don’t give a fuck. I want to be a good human being. There’s no commercials for that.”

Del Toro also noted how, while his body may not be at its physical peak, his brain is “like a six-pack.” I didn’t have anywhere else to note that, I just think it’s a fantastic line.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark comes out August 9.

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