“The worst thing you can do is be solely by movie monsters. You need to be inspired by National Geographic, by biological treatises, by literature, by fine painters, by bad painters.”
–Guillermo del Toro
That’s from this piece in this week’s New Yorker magazine, about the filmmaker Guillermo del Toro. It’s long, comprehensive, and full of new information about the director of films like Pan’s Labyrinth, the Hellboy films, and recent Criterion Collection-inductee Cronos. Did you know he was a militant athiest? I didn’t!
The reporter, Daniel Zalewski, wound up having some amazing luck with this piece: During the period del Toro he was profiling the guy, the director left to direct The Hobbit, dropped out of directing The Hobbit, and started work on The Mountains of Madness, which still doesn’t have a green light. There’s plenty of information on del Toro’s vision for those movies — including a color scheme and visual style for The Hobbit that sounds astonishing — as well as a lengthy section where he designs a maquette for the Monster in his adaptation of Frankenstein.
The profile is excellent, if a little creepy at times — Zalweski seems oddly obsessed with del Toro’s fetishism of monsters early on, and doesn’t really use it as a through-line — but since del Toro makes creepy movies, that’s okay. But the quote I posted above resonated, and although it’s a much-echoed sentiment in many forms by artists around the world; I think that it’s important for filmmakers, especially. A bad movie can be just as inspiring as a good one, whether it’s someone thinking “Hell, I can do better,” or appreciating the ideas of a piece, but wanting to take it one step further.