Guillermo del Toro talks thoughtfully wrecking cities in ‘Pacific Rim’

Guillermo del Toro directed the battle bots epic "Pacific Rim." Credit: Getty Images
Guillermo del Toro directed the battle bots epic “Pacific Rim.”
Credit: Getty Images

Guillermo del Toro is first and foremost a movie buff, which has been causing him a distinct amount of unhappiness. You see, del Toro has been so busy making movies — particularly his latest, the giant robots vs. giant monsters blockbuster “Pacific Rim” — that he hasn’t had any time to actually watch other people’s movies. Or at least that’s the excuse he gives for not having seen “Man of Steel” or the first installment of “the Hobbit,” which was originally pegged to direct.

There’s been a lot of criticism about the levels of carnage shown “Man of Steel.” Your film also features a great deal of urban destruction. How do you keep that from crossing the line from fun into too realistic?
Well, kaiju movies by definition bring a completely escapist fun in these type of fights. When you’re a kid and you’re watching Godzilla stomp a bunch of tanks or jets or cut through a city, the proportions of these things are so enormous that you cannot correlate them to anything real. What I do is I then bring in visually a very different sense of style from reality. I have these super-colored lights illuminating the rain, so it looks like a living comic book or a living anime. And the thing that I do very, very consciously is I vacated all the streets so they would be empty of people. So you’re never thinking, “Oh, the kaiju just crushed 600 people.” Because the streets are vacated and everybody’s in a refuge, all they can destroy is buildings and vehicles when nobody’s there.

Have you seen “Man of Steel”?
No, I haven’t. I haven’t seen many movies because I’ve been making one. The only two or three times I’ve gone to the movies in the last few years have been to movies that my daughters want to see. So I went to “Les Miserables” and I went to some animated movies — movies that I would not necessarily have gravitated towards. But that’s being a parent, taking your daughters to see the Justin Bieber concert movie.

Does that mean you have to go see the One Direction movie later this summer?
No, no. [Laughs] Actually my daughters are not into that stuff.

Are you planning to do another non-English language film anytime soon, or do you live in Hollywood exclusively now?
Yeah, I would love to. I produce a lot of movies in Latin America and Spain and I’m producing a movie right now in Mexico. As a director I would love to do it, but I need to find a story that suits me. It’s not like I have a drawer full of stories in Spanish and in English. [Laughs]

What determines if a story is better told in Spanish rather than English?
You cannot aspire to do a movie that is as quirky as “Pan’s Labyrinth” in the Hollywood machinery. It would get tested and noted by executives to death. It would end up having a happy ending and all that bulls—. And at the same time you cannot end up with a movie that is as spectacular and huge and magnificent in showmanship as “Pacific Rim” if you do it in Mexico or Spain. So depending on the scale of the story, depending on if you need to protect the production value and spectacle or if you need to protect the content and quirkiness of the story, you go from one [end of the] scale to another.

“Pacific Rim” introduces audiences to numerous “kaiju” — giant monsters from another dimension — and “jaegers” — the giant, piloted robots mankind creates to fight them off. It’s a movie clearly made at least in part with action figures in mind. Among the jaegers and kaiju in the film, do you personally have a favorite?
“Yes,” he readily admits. “My favorite jaeger is Cherno Alpha, because I think he is adorable. It’s kind of this heavy, sort of clumsy, very old-fashioned, almost steampunk-y jaeger, and I like that. It looks like a giant iron boiler. And my favorite kaiju is Leatherback, the gorilla-esque one, because I fully identify with his beer belly.”


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Canadian charged in 'Heartbleed' attack on tax agency

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian police have arrested a 19-year-old man and charged him in connection with exploiting the "Heartbleed" bug to steal taxpayer data from…

National

Every dog has his day in court, in…

(Reuters) - Call him juror K-9.A computer glitch is likely to blame for a summons that called a German Shepherd to report for jury duty,…

Breaking: Local

Judge rules Tsarnaev can view victim autopsy photos

Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev can view the autopsy photographs of the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

Local

Police warn of attempted assault on woman near…

Police in Cambridge issued an alert after a woman said she was the victim of an attempted sexual assault after leaving Porter Square early Wednesday.…

Television

‘Survivor: Cagayan’ recap: Episode 8

Sure, it's called Survivor. But this season should really be called 'The Tony Show.'

Television

Jim Rash talks 'The Writer's Room' and amazing…

For Jim Rash, as the fifth season of "Community" comes to a close, the second season of "The Writer's Room" begins.

Television

'Dexter' star Jennifer Carpenter moves into producing role

The actress who played the title character's sister in "Dexter" is teaming up with producer George Stelzner to adapt Erika Hayasaki's book "The Death Class:…

The Word

Wahlburgers announce North America domination

Tuesday was a huge day for Donnie Wahlberg.

NBA

Celtics turn attention to NBA Draft, improve lottery…

Celtics turn attention to NBA Draft, improve lottery odds with loss

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's are baseball's best, Brewers…

MLB Power Rankings: A's are baseball's best, Brewers and Braves right behind

MLB

Injury bug tearing holes in Red Sox

Red Sox fans will recall that last year the bullpen was decimated by injuries. From Franklin Morales to Andrew Miller, from Craig Breslow to Andrew…

Wellbeing

This Week in Health: chocolate may prevent obesity…

Can chocolate prevent obesity and diabetes? Location of study: U.S. Study subjects: Mice Results: The positive health benefits of chocolate have been studied increasingly more…

Wellbeing

This Week in Health News: breastfed infants trying…

Are breastfed infants trying to prevent mom from having another baby? Theory: The act of breastfeeding not only brings mom and baby closer together –…

Wellbeing

Unexplained infertility may be caused by lack of…

Researchers have identified a protein on the egg's surface that interacts with another protein on the surface of sperm, allowing the two cells to join.

Tech

5 surprising facts about Google Glass

Your sex life could get more interesting.