Rogue Of The Week: Guillermo del Toro

Thursday, 10 March 2011 13:39 Written by  Jordan DeSaulnier
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Rogue Of The Week: Guillermo del Toro

His dream project, the HP Lovecraft adaptation At The Mountains of Madness, may have gotten the axe from Universal this week, but Guillermo del Toro can rest easy knowing that, though his last two mega-projects have not come to fruition, he has principals and lets his passion dictate his choices.  The Pan's Labyrinth director, who previously declared that he would never direct a movie that didn't contain monsters, is our first Rogue of the Week to earn the title not simply based on the movies he has made, but also on those that he hasn't made.

Sure, del Toro has brought his phantasmagoric creatures to life in critically acclaimed Mexican films Cronos and The Devil's Backbone, and he's also brought his distinct, stunning style to studio action with the likes of Blade 2.  He also somehow managed to get a major to studio to finance a movie starring Ron Perlman as a big red, Nazi-conjured demon with Hellboy.  Then he somehow did it again with Hellboy 2: The Golden Army.  

What's cooler than that, though, are the paychecks del Toro declined to bring the Mike Mignola comics to life.  His love for Hellboy was such that the sought-after director turned down a bevy of high profile jobs in order to direct the first first film, including Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban, which ended up being helmed by his compatriot and friend Alfonso Cuarón.  When he had the opportunity to make a sequel following the success of Pan's Labyrinth, del Toro declined offers to direct Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince, I Am Legend, and Halo, all of which would certainly have meant a bulging wallet and a heaping of industry cache.

Universal, the studio that was invested in very preliminary pre-production for At The Mountains of Madness, pulled the plug despite the involvement of producer James Cameron and star Tom Cruise.  Had del Toro compromised on the film's whopping $150 million price tag, or agreed to deliver a PG-13 rating rather than an R, the film could have been made already, yet he consistently opted instead to stand behind his vision.  He says, "I’ve been offered four or five times at different studios the chance to make this movie in what I think was the wrong way. With $20 million or $30 million less than what I need, with a contractual PG-13, and I don’t want to do it that way."

The temporary abandonment of the Lovecraft adaptation on which he has labored for well over a decade followed almost two years spent on the two part Lord of The Rings prequel The Hobbit.  While that epic languished in pre-production due to MGM's financial woes, Universal's interest in At The Mountains of Madness grew, and del Toro exited The Hobbit in the faith that his dream movie just might happen.  He said that the decision to leave "hurt like a motherf***er," yet The Hobbit joined the list of surefire hits most directors would kill to be involved with, but which del Toro nonetheless departed to follow the fire in his belly.

Lucky for us, del Toro will stop whittling away the years of his creative prime on films that don't materialize, as his next movie, Legendary Films' monster movie, Pacific Rim, starts shooting in September. 

Guillermo del Toro's seeming inability to make the expected move is definitely a quality we prize in a rogue, as is his adherence to a wholly unique philosophy, one which prizes passion above all else.  Well, passion and monsters, of course.

Which of the projects that del Toro was offered but didn't end up directing do you wish he had actually made?

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