Guillermo Del Toro was recently in New York City as part of the New Yorker Festival and our good pal Anthony Moody from Indalo Productions caught up with him to talk all things Hobbit!
Guillermo talks about gathering his LOTR team together, working with John How, Alan Lee and Howard Shore, his own Hobbit art, and the million and one projects he’s been connected to recently!
Read part two of the interview where Guillermo gives us a few more details about his writing methods, he discusses major themes he sees in The Hobbit, and talks a little bit about casting!
Read part one of the interview where del Toro talks about his writing duties with PJ, Tom Bombadil and the possibility of a THIRD Hobbit movie(?!).
Transcription for theOneRing.net by Elven – Deleece C
Anthony: Some of the work which has begun, I understand Howard Shore is actually already at work on the music – is that correct?
Guillermo: Yeah. Yeah. That’s right.
Anthony: And how …
Guillermo: … I’m meeting with him tomorrow.
Andrew: Oh, OK. And is that you’re first?
Guillermo: Ah, no. I met him before. And I’ve admired him for even longer. But, my feeling is one of the most fortunate things that he’s back because if you have to single out the most important pieces of continuing that Universe, he certainly is one.
Anthony: Absolutely. So thus far what are your conversations with him like? I mean down to Do you feed him pages? Or are you..
Guillermo: No I think the best way to go about this is to keep the pages to ourselves and just allow people to come from different places – where it be designers, you know. We have conversations – I’ve had a great couple of conversations with John Howe and Alan Lee. And John has been feeding me reactions – reaction sketches to those conversations. And I try not to react to those sketches yet. I try to allow him to feel he’s free to try anything he wants; ‘cause then you are surprised. The same thing is with Howard. I think the parameters are pretty clear. And that is it has to belong to the same Universe, and the music of the three movies – so.
Anthony: And you yourself are an old school sketcher – have you taken pen to paper for Smaug? or some of the other creatures?
Guillermo: Up too recently? Yeah. I started recently because I was not very clear that I could do it on my sketchbooks before, now I know I can and I’m doing it. One of the things I did is – I know – you know, I’ve been using for example acrylic painting, alcohol markers for all the other illustrations in my books and for The Hobbit I have (I am now) using a completely different technique because the stuff I know – I was a self taught illustrator until four weeks ago when I started to take some private lessons [Heartily laughs] But I really going to the basics because I never went to art school and I finally found a medium in which illustrations for The Hobbit are becoming alive for me, and I’m using a different technique than I’ve ever used before. And I’m very happy with that. I’m spending quite a bit of time doing it.
Anthony: Can you say what that medium is?
Guillermo: Well I’m using both a water and acrylics as almost watercolours and I’m using in some instances I’m just doing some graphite and charcoal. [Anthony: “OK”] And I’m trying some pastels now for the first time. There are some elements in The Hobbit that I hope are recognisable from some of the Tolkien illustrations and I’m looking at a lot of Victorian stuff so that – you know – and a lot of it is either watercolours or charcoal or pastels, so a lot of the information of looking at those illustrations guided me to the techniques.
Anthony: That’s fascinating. You mentioned your schedule and not knowing whether you could fit in this, the illustrating yourself. You very famously pretty much the busiest or certainly most booked guy in the business right now. How do you keep it from completely overwhelming you?
Guillermo: Because all the stuff, you know, when things are announced, that doesn’t mean that’s when things start. To give you an example about two weeks ago it was announced that we were doing three vampire novels and so forth – you know we started writing those, in the case of myself, two years ago, and with Chuck Hogan on board a year and a half ago. So it’s not like we’re writing them now, it’s they are written and that they’re going to be published and they’re already written – but it’s been announced last week or two weeks ago. And it’s not like – for example, I’m producing (I just finished) producing a movie in Spain called Rabiar (Anger) and it won’t be announced for I don’t know, months, but by the time it’s announced [Anthony: “It’s done”] It’s done. And the same is it’s true for many other projects you know, so that you know. To give you an example, I have a written pitch for the Frankenstein movie at Universal since seven years ago, and it was just recently announced – or ultimately for example to, ‘Don’t be Afraid of the Dark’ which is a movie that is being at Miramax – that movie was written well Matthew Robbins and myself, in 1994 – no, sorry 1998. [Anthony: “So 10 years ago”] Ten Years ago. And it’s announced now and everybody’s says “how’s he going to write it, How’s he gonna …” It’s already been done, you know. And everybody knows my role as producer in these movies ends up completely when I move to New Zealand. They can come to New Zealand to consult, because I’m not going to be available. [Anthony laughs]
Anthony: Right, right. What about directing another Spanish language film?
Guillermo: Not until after. I mean I’m writing a movie that graphically took me four years to write – I’m doodling little sketches, I’m reading. Normally for the Spanish language movies, before I can write, I read. And I’m fortunate enough that my reading for that movie completely intersects with a lot of what I’m reading for The Hobbit. So I’m reading about that, I’m keeping notes for both movies. It’s called ‘Saturn and the End of Days’, and that’s going to take a while. I don’t even know whether it’s going to be in Spanish or in English – ultimately it will be a return to a smaller format of movie making. It will be a tinier, a much more smaller movie.
Anthony: Hmm Interesting! Speaking of you being the ‘busiest man in the world’ I’ve taken up plenty of your time. I deeply appreciate it and I just want to express thanks to you for your love of the material The Hobbit and your obvious diligence to it – I know everybody was sleeping well already, and I think everybody’s just going to be even happier…
Guillermo: And allow me to add one thing – because of all those projects, there is one that is to me – in a way I it may not be as complex and as monumental at first sight as The Hobbit, but is ‘At The Mountains of Madness’. And that movie I have kept alive for many, many years and I want to keep it alive to do as soon as I can. Right now I am fortunate that most of my projects rest at the same place, and that is Universal, including Saturn and the End of Days. So I want to send a message out that, that that movie is alive and well and that there’s a lot of research and development that has to be done to create the creatures in that movie, and the City. Some artists and key technicians have been working on for now years, and will continue to work through the production and post production of The Hobbit. Scrutinized by me, but they have their own set of logarithms and chemical materials to solve before we can create those creatures properly. So that movie is not dead – it’s not instated, it continues to evolvewith Te Hobbit. And it is my belief that a lot of the stuff we’re going to develop in terms of digital and make-up tools for The Hobbit will be used for that.
Anthony: And New Zealand so far?
Guillermo: You know I love it. I absolutely love it. It is my hope that we will end up buying a house there, and we are selling our house in California and moving the family.
Anthony: And your books and your comic books… Your DVD’s.
Guillermo: You know I actually did the anal retentive thing – which is, the library which is a separate home – I have my family house and I have what I call my oblique house which is my library- it’s about five blocks away from my house, and it has a secret book shelf and it has my collection of books and DVD’s and all that – That’ll stay as a work place in LA [Anthony: “I see”] and what I did is – and I know this is unthinkable and obscene – and that is I duplicated about 1,000 DVD’s and about 300 books that I will need in New Zealand so I can have a library in New Zealand [Laughs] and a library in LA. I know it’s disgusting [both Anthony and Guillermo laughing] but the reason is I know books get damaged when they travel – and as a collector of books, there are many, many books I have where the spine is in perfect condition and the pages are unmarked by human hands because I read them extremely carefully and I hold the spine with one hand and I’m holding the pages open with the other. [Anthony: “I do the same thing”] Except its pretty sad isn’t it, you know. It tells you how f*cking void my Soul really is.
Anthony: [laughing] I think it’s wonderful. Thank-you so much again, it’s been absolutely fantastic, deeply appreciated.
Guillermo: You’re welcome. You’re welcome!
Anthony: All the best!
Guillermo: And please, I haven’t had time to go into the message boards for a while…
Anthony: How – where did you find theOneRing.net by the way?
Guillermo: You know I found it – I was told about it by fans and I really found it to be – you know I love internet communities that are, for lack of a better word, ‘civilized’. [Anthony agrees] You know because you can disagree or hint on something but you don’t have to be rude about it, you know, and I think that it’s one of those places there is dissention, about not only about the movies but some of the books, some of the ‘which books are more important’, ’which movies are important’, ‘if the movies are great adaptations or not’. But, it’s always carried on with incredibly interesting points. I do believe there is not dogmatism, and it’s a really great place to drift around and spend a good few hours if you can.
Anthony: Hmm Interesting…
Guillermo: But I haven’t gone to the boards in a while and I hope to be able to if I have a moment or two [laughs].
Anthony: Well I’m sure if you wanted to post even semi regularly or blog style you could even.. [Guillermo: “I’ve tried to – yeah’] I’m sure that..
Guillermo: The thing is I always write in the morning and I know that if I go to the Net I won’t write. [Anthony agrees] Cause you know five minutes on the Net is four hours on the net. And you know you cannot. It’s non linear thinking. Going on the Net is not linear – you jump around and you end up – you can start in the most scholarly website and end up at Paris Hilton dot com, you know, it’s absolutely like an addiction.
Anthony: Yeah we’ve all found ourselves at the end of the day wondering where the day just went. [Anthony and Guillermo laughing]. Fantastic. Thank-you so much again.
Guillermo: My pleasure!
Transcription for TheOneRing.net by Elven – Deleece Cook 10/08