In its request for an interview with Guillermo del Toro about “Hellboy 2: The Golden Army,” TORn promised there would be no questions about “The Hobbit.” After all, the man who was working on three hours of sleep, is on a media blitz for his second film about a red skinned demon-spawn-do-gooder that files his horns down to “help him fit in” with Jane and Joe Average.
But, the Mexican-born director, after a friendly round or two of phone tag, brought it up in his interview with TheOneRing.net; but more on that later, we’re here to talk Hellboy.
He makes no bones about it; he thinks its best to see the first Hellboy film to more fully enjoy the second one. The original screen adaptation of the Mike Mignola-created, small-press comic book broke even in its North American theatrical run and made some money with its DVD sales and international box office.
So what can viewers expect?
But just monsters? No no no.
(Staying true to our word, TORn didn’t bring up in the interview that the above description is a pretty good recipe for a movie about a really mean dragon and Hobbits, Dwarves, were bears and five armies, but the description hung in the air, taunting us.)
Del Toro pointed out that while Hellboy comes from the comics, this movie is a director’s and writer’s vision, not a note-by-note translation from page to screen. The characters in the film interact on a level they don’t in the comic which is more mood-driven.
So how does the director of the 2006 Spanish-language film “El Laberinto del fauno,” (aka “Pan’s Labyrinth”) that had critics falling all over themselves to dish praise and earned the veteran director the most buzz and best acclaim of his career, go from that Oscar-winning film to a summer comic book blockbuster?
“I try not to be slavish to industrial Hollywood productions or only the small independents. I try to go back and forth.”
The director has explained on TORn’s own message boards (where he posts occasionally as “Guillermo”) that what viewers see him do in the Hellboy universe is not what they will see in “The Hobbit” and its sequel.
For now, he is granting interviews, returning phone calls, attending pressers for television, radio, print and the World Wide Web. He confesses that the blitz isn’t always easy but isn’t the hardest part of making a film either.
The schedule has him sleeping immediately after the TORn interview and then more and more press for the rest of the week, up to the release of the film Friday at a theater (probably several) near you. It hits in 2,900 cinemas and faces competition from the Will Smith superhero flick “Hancock,” and lingering comic films like “Iron Man,” “The Hulk,” and the action-oriented Indiana Jones flick.
Even then it doesn’t end. The hardy director will still have a few “very very small trips” in places like France and Germany on consecutive days and visits to other non-North America markets.
And then it is finally time for earnest work on that little New Zealand two-movie package he is throwing together with Peter Jackson’s team called “The Hobbit” and “No Title Yet.”
Hey, he brought it up, he was only asked when he would tackle his “next project.”
He also mentioned that contract work is still in process.
He reiterated a previous message to readers of www.TheOneRing.net.
The next stage, the stage that will eventually make fantastic extras on DVDs, will be that of unleashing his artistic and imaginative side, along with a few collaborators.
While Howe, Lee and del Toro (and probably others) are dreaming, fans surely will be dreaming about what is being cooked up
So del Toro’s concept team will be fully mobilized in Los Angeles while the Jackson 5 (Jackson, del Toro, Boyens, Walsh and Weta master Richard Taylor) will be forging a script and a road map for the films’ visuals.
According to the director, that means that the director will be sitting on a lot of flights from Los Angeles to Auckland and then changing planes to Wellington to meet with Weta and Camp Jackson and then returning to California the same way.
In a lot of ways, the journey to the Lonely Mountain is about to begin. Coming this week: TORn gives you a sneak peek of “Hellboy 2: The Golden Army.