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On the eve of his first movie release in five years, Guillermo del Toro was giddy during a Thursday night screening of Pacific Rim at LACMA.
The Mexican director, who has garnered acclaim for his work on Pan’s Labyrinth and the Hellboy franchise, spoke to a sellout crowd about all things Pacific Rim and even delved into some personal anecdotes.
In an honest and hilarious moment, del Toro recounted his earliest memories of monsters, which inspired his latest film’s ferocious Kaiju.
“When I was a child, I would wake up and dream that I was awake in the room I was in and I would see real creatures in my bedroom,” he explained. “But for a child, that was really hard to process. I was afraid to step out of the crib because my parents had this green shaggy rug, so when I looked through the crib, I saw this sea of waving green fingers waiting for me to land and they would pull me down. So I peed.”
Following the screening, when del Toro was introduced for a Q&A, he received a long standing ovation from the crowd, many of whom are subscribers to the Film Independent or LACMA communities.
“I wanted this to work as a summer movie and have the staple of characters that you’d expect but try to at least do something different, ” he admitted. “Everything is a political aesthetic choice.”
Pacific Rim, from Warner Bros. and Legendary, stars Idris Elba, Charlie Hunnam, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day and Ron Perlman. It follows a group of people who create giant robots to fight off the invading megamonsters from the sea.
“I didn’t want to celebrate the machines as cold, polished surfaces or to live in this gorgeous neon world where everybody is a waspy crew-cut guy. I mean, there’s a single country saving the world all the time, and the aliens get one single map — they go to New York!”
Though the film was subject to bad tracking early on and drew comparisons to Michael Bay‘s Transformers franchise, del Toro insists his film balances substance and style while evoking nostalgia.
“The toughest thing in this movie was to keep the simplicity amidst all its complexity,” he says. “I wanted it to function on both levels to make it a throwback. I tried to pattern it after adventure films with rangers and marshals waiting at outposts, riding the Jaegers [robots] into battle.”
Del Toro also made a selling point for 3D during his post-screening talk: “The scale is mythical, a disregard for human scale, and it’s a huge change to see it in 3D. You have to see it on the most obscenely large screen. I wanted to make this movie as a case for post-conversion of 3D can be great.”
Yet for all his serious and intellectual musings on his own craft, del Toro still found time to poke fun at himself and his decisions.
On the meaning of the Pacific Rim title, del Toro jokes, “We’ve heard all the jokes. We would give the porn industry a winner. Someone will get nominated for an AVN award.”
The film opens in theaters July 12.
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