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del Toro on The Hobbit and Frankenstein

GuillermodelToro.jpgAmong the many projects Guillermo del Toro has ahead of him, are the small matter of two Hobbit films and Frankenstein. He has been talking about them both, including what he thinks will prove the inspiration for The Hobbit.

And he also tells us why Frankenstein is a dream come true for him. Suffice to say he won't have much free time over the next few years.

Guillermo del Toro has three vampire novels to write, two Hobbit films on the go, a Frankenstein film and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde as well. Just now though he seems immersed in The Hobbit. And he is looking to World War I as inspiration for the two films.

I find you have to discipline yourself to write in the morning, and then watch and read in the afternoons stuff that seems relevant, even in a tangential way. For example, reading or watching World War I documentaries or books that I think inform 'The Hobbit,' strangely enough, because I believe it is a book born out of Tolkien's generation's experience with World War I and the disappointment of being in that field and seeing all those values kind of collapse. I think it's a turning point that you need to familiarize yourself with. I'm starting. Peter Jackson is such a fan of that historical moment and obsessive collector of World War I memorabilia, and he owns several genuine, life-size working reproductions of planes, tanks, cannons, ships! He has the perfect obsessive reproductions of uniforms of that time for armies of about 120 soldiers... each. I asked him which books he recommended… because I wouldn't be watching 'Krull' or 'The Dark Crystal,' I need to find my OWN way into the story. That's the same way I did 'Pan's Labyrinth' or 'Devil's Backbone,' by watching stuff you wouldn't think about.

He was talking at the Director's Guild of America, through Coming Soon. It's interesting to find out a little bit about how he gets his ideas for films. And lets face it he usually come up with the goods. It also turns out, his fascination for dragons will also be evident in The Hobbit.

It's such a powerful symbol, and in the context of 'The Hobbit' it is used to cast its shadow through the entire narrative. Essentially, Smaug represents so many things: greed, pride… he's 'the Magnificent,' after all. The way his shadow is cast in the narrative you cannot then show it and have it be one thing, he has to be the embodiment of all those things. He's one of the few dragons that will have enormous scenes with lines. He has some of the most beautiful dialogues in those scenes! The design, I'm pretty sure that will be the last design we will sign off on, and the first design we have attempted. It is certainly a matter of turning every stone before figuring out what he looks like, because what he looks like will tell you what he is.

Wow, he definitely sounds excited about The Hobbit. Just as well really, when he'll be devoting so much of his life to it. The Frankenstein film that he'll be doing after The Hobbit, also sounds like a dream come true for him.

I'm not doing 'Mary Shelly's Frankenstein.' I'm doing an adventure story that involves the creature. I cannot say much, but it's not the central creation story, I'm not worried about that. The fact is I've been dreaming of doing a 'Frankenstein' movie since I was a child. The one thing I can promise is, compared to Kenneth Branagh, I will not appear shirtless in the movie!

Well, it looks like del Toro will be bringing his individual style to both of The Hobbit films. Are you excited about his vision for The Hobbit? Or are you a little worried that he may go over the top?



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