New Media Rockstars was given the once in a lifetime opportunity to interview horror master Guillermo Del Toro in a special press roundtable. Within it we got the chance to hear his thoughts on some of YouTube’s creators, the YouTube Space, and new media as a whole.
Chobot: Let me just start off by thanking everybody for joining us here at the House of Horror’s YouTube Space LA for the roundtable with Mr. Guillermo Del Toro.
Del Toro: AKA Gerard Depardieu (laughter) in ‘Green Card’.
Chobot: So let’s just start off, can you describe a little bit about the YouTube Space and also a little bit about your involvement, as well as the contest that you guys had?
Del Toro:Well, very much like the filmmakers, the idea was to have young designers come in and put their own spin on some of the elements, and some of you have visited the set on ‘Crimson Peak’. It’s sort of inspired by … but at a scale that is affordable and in the time and the space they have. But they are very talented designers. They created a variety of flavors, beautiful controlled palette, beautiful controlled textural sampler, and all I did was just give them my opinion like I would to the short filmmakers and say, ‘Well, maybe this, maybe that,’ but it’s all their doing, and I think they have a bright future ahead. If I was a young filmmaker, and they allowed me to shoot in these sets I would go nuts. They’re just fantastic.
Chobot: And feel free anybody to jump in with questions of your own obviously, but I’m actually really curious about not only the horror films that have inspired you but obviously you have quite an artistic background as well. What are some of the artists that have inspired you as far as actual artwork specifically?
Del Toro: Well, you know I’m a big fan of the symbolists. Carlos Schwabe, Moreau, Felicien Rops is a symbolist that I adore. The engravings and the paintings of Gustav Dore. I’m actually, my discipline as a kid was at the same time as movies, I learned voraciously about painters and sculptors and at the same time I was learning about comic book guys. So in my mind, high brow/low brow are engaged in a mud wrestling contest because I can say I’m inspired by Moreau or Rops and I’m also inspired by Bernie Writson or Richard Corbin or John Romita, many of them.
The main thing for me is that you need to train your eye to be able to recognize not only the styles but what makes them unique. That is a really good way of forming your visual vocabulary. I’m influenced by a lot of people from different periods.
Parra: Do you think that maybe your study across the different mediums is also why you work in so many different mediums?
Del Toro: The reality is that I think a lot of people think about what they do in a manner that seems designed or created and they are very carefully tailoring or couturing an image. I decided to live my life around middle-40’s, and I decided to live my life like when I was 10 years old. Which in the morning you are an astronaut, in the afternoon you’re a cowboy, and at night you’re an Indian. You don’t have to… I mean let your life be your life, and enjoy it.
I mean I try to collaborate with people I admire. Hideo Kojima on games because I want to learn from Hideo Kojima, with Pedro Almodovar producing because I want to learn from Pedro. When I want to produce. When I want to produce, Andy Muschietti, or Jorge Gutierrez, or Juan Antonio Bayonne to learn from them, and how that defines who I am, working with Chuck Hogan or Carlton Cruz, is merely accidental. It comes from a huge appetite for life.
Parra: Was there a massive difference, because you spoke of Hideo Kojima, was there a massive difference for you directing a game versus a film?
Del Toro: We unfortunately were involved on a game that took about two and a half years pre-production with THQ that was called ‘Insane’, and then THQ went under before we could make the game, but I learned a lot there.
With Hideo we are still in the early stages, I don’t think the game will come out for another couple of years. So you know, I won’t be able to speak of that experience, but speaking from the experience at THQ, it gave me a lot of tools that I didn’t have that were very useful in the planning the projects that I’m doing.
I think five or six years ago, no more than eight years ago, the only thing I did say was I want to work in all the mediums I can because my belief is that in the next five to ten years everything will be monoplatform, meaning we will get our storytelling from a single platform. It will meld what we know about cable, what we know about downloading, what we know about analogue, digital, it’ll become a single entity. You’re gonna be able to in some stories, you will always have independent films, and you will always have smaller stories that have the idiosyncrasy of their own medium, but in the larger constructions, which you can see now happening with cross platform entertainment, you’re going to have a thing that you’re going to be able to enjoy in comic book form, animated form, continuous storytelling form in a way that is very, very fluid and malleable.
It was a pleasure interviewing Mr. Del Toro. I cannot express how grateful I am to YouTube Space LA and Legendary for the amazing opportunity.
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