Guillermo del Toro is an Academy Award-nominated Mexican filmmaker, producer, and author. Del Toro's first experience as an executive producer was in 1986 at the age of 21. Before that he spent nearly 10 years as a make-up designer, and formed his own company, Necropia, in the early 80s. He also co-founded the Guadalajara-based Mexican film festival. Later on in his directing career, he formed his own production company, the Tequila Gang.
Del Toro has directed a wide variety of films, from comic book adaptations “Hellboy” and “Blade II,” to historical fantasy and horror films, two of which are set in Spain during or in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War under the Fascist dictatorship of Francisco Franco. These two films, “The Devil’s Backbone” and “Pan’s Labyrinth,” are among his most critically acclaimed works. Del Toro was nominated for best screenplay for “Pan's Labyrinth,” and the movie was nominated for five more Oscars.
Del Toro is also the co-author of vampire fiction trilogy "The Strain." "The Fall," book two of the trilogy, was published in 2010 by William Morris.
Question: What is your personal philosophy?
Guillermo del Toro: Well I believe... I believe... I'm semi-agnostic. I believe that there are so many things that are entirely unknowable that it’s better to abandon yourself to the wisdom of the universe, or its indifference, as Albert Camus would say. You know? You can abandon yourself to the cold embrace of the universe or its warm embrace, depending on what vibe are you in. But there is however, like in fractals, like in so many things, there is chaos contained within order and order contained within chaos. And a constant flow between the two. And I think that the beauty of understanding that is that you understand that there is a functional model to the universe. Whether it is expanding, contracting and therefore completely changing the rules of time and space and this and that, and generating everything that we consider paranormal or spiritual. I don’t know. But there is a flow. There is an order; there is a function to it. And I think that that allows us to dream our own mythologies.
So I have constructed my own sort of personal religion, you know? Which doesn’t depend on a guy in the sky that I pray to, but it does depend on trying to be as good a person as I can be. And I’m not a good person all the time, but I allow myself to understand that too. And I just think that, you know, that would be the fundamental belief that... You know, the Greeks used to say, we don’t need good government, we need good citizens. And I think that’s the same way religion and spirituality: it doesn’t need a great church or you don’t need to belong to a great church, you just need try to be a good man, to a certain degree. You know? As good a man as you can be. Whatever that measure is, be it you’re a serial killer or a war hero or a Samaritan, whatever you are, be as good a man as you can be.
Recorded on September 22, 2010
Interviewed by Max Miller