Del Toro filmography: Bugs, beasts and bloodletting

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Cronos (1994)
For his feature-film debut, then-29-year-old Guillermo del Toro chose no less a challenge than reinventing the vampire myth. The film marked the beginning of del Toro's relationship with actor Ron Perlman, who plays an American searching for the coveted Cronos Device, and it nabbed the Mercedes-Benz Award at the 1993 Festival de Cannes and swept the Ariel de Oro Awards -- Mexico's equivalent of the Oscars -- winning a raft of prizes including best picture and director.

Mimic (1997)
If "Cronos" came together just how del Toro had imagined, "Mimic" was another story. The director has commented openly about how difficult the production was to mount -- largely because he was working for the first time in Hollywood rather than in the international independent arena, and he was unaccustomed to battling for creative control. Released through Miramax's Dimension Films label, the film pits Mira Sorvino's scientist against mutant insects that assume human form.

The Devil's Backbone (2001)
Soured on Hollywood, del Toro opted to launch his own production company, the Tequila Gang, and turned his attention to a more intimate production about a young boy sent to live in a haunted orphanage in post-civil war Spain. Sound familiar? It should. The story is the narrative predecessor to del Toro's current Picturehouse release "Pan's Labyrinth" and shares many of the same qualities, using magical realism and eerie imagery to point up the very real horrors people inflict on one another.

Blade II (2002)
Four years after New Line debuted its action franchise, del Toro delivered the goods with a bloody adventure that featured a species of brutal baddies, including one played by Ron Perlman. It took some convincing for him to sign on to the project, however. Not only was del Toro still smarting from his experience on "Mimic," but he was in the midst of production on "Devil's Backbone." He wound up finishing one film and immediately ramping up the next. "Blade II" went on to earn some $82 million domestically, more than any of the trilogy's other installments.

Hellboy (2004)
Based on Mike Mignola's graphic novels, "Hellboy" stars Ron Perlman as a surly, kitten-loving demon who fights the forces of darkness. Self-professed fanboy del Toro dreamed for years of bringing the character to the screen -- he fell in love with Mignola's comics while directing "Mimic." But "Hellboy" was a hard sell, especially with leading man Perlman spending the entirety of the film in full makeup. In the end, the film grossed almost $100 million worldwide, which naturally means that a sequel is in the works. "Hellboy 2: The Golden Army" is set to begin shooting in June with del Toro at the helm, with a planned release through Universal in 2008.

Pan's Labyrinth (2006)
Hellboy himself might have run into some trouble solving the three challenges put to young Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) by the faun she meets inside the labyrinth adjacent to her stepfather's property. But the preteen in del Toro's fantasy isn't easily intimidated. Neither, of course, is the writer-director, who spent weeks revising the first 20 pages of the screenplay before hitting upon the perfect way to begin his fable. The end result was worth any hardship: six Oscar nominations, dozens of other prizes and an estimated worldwide take of $47.6 million.


MORE COVERAGE
Monster smash: "Pan's Labyrinth" is garnering Oscar momentum
Del Toro filmography: Bugs, beasts and bloodletting
Dialogue: Guillermo del Toro

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