Conversations: Guillermo del Toro

Guillermo del Toro talks about making an adult fairy tale and hating hobbits.

Published October 13, 2006 1:30AM (EDT)

Mexican film director Guillermo del Toro describes his aim in making "Pan's Labyrinth" -- which debuts at the New York Film Festival on Sunday and goes into wide release in December -- as wanting to create a "fairy tale that was nevertheless an adult movie." Talking to Salon film critic Andrew O'Hehir at the Cannes Film Festival last May, del Toro talked about his inspirations, exploring the sewer system of his native Guadalajara as a child and how he doesn't like hobbits.

I couldn't help thinking of Tolkien and C.S. Lewis in this film. Were you a fan of those books?

I was never into heroic fantasy. At all. I don't like little guys and dragons, hairy feet, hobbits -- I've never been into that at all. I don't like sword and sorcery, I hate all that stuff.

C.S. Lewis was another thing. I really enjoyed him as a kid, but he's too Catholic for me. It's not something as an adult I can feel comfortable relating to.

This may be a total cliché, and punch me if you think it is --

For the record, I did punch him.

-- but does any of the eclecticism in your films have to do with being Mexican? There's a long tradition in Mexican movies of just throwing whatever crazy things you want in there -- you have wrestlers, you have Aztec mummies, you have whatever you want.

One hundred percent, I mean, really, 100 fucking percent. People say to me, "What is Mexican about your movies?" -- I say, "Do you need to ask?" Some of the Mexican horror movies teach you one thing: That sometimes, when a movie works, it works purely on faith and cojones. Those are two tools that I try to access.

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By Salon Staff

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