Guillermo del Toro was at the Director’s Guild of America tonight in midtown Manhattan as part of The New Yorker Festival series of talks. During a conversation with New Yorker staff writer Daniel Zalewski, del Toro talked up some of his future projects, including the two-film adaptation of The Hobbit and an upcoming remake of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein.”
Some tidbits (he sounds like a kid in a candy store when talking about his upcoming projects – and isn’t it funny that he and Peter Jackson look like twins separated at birth?):
On gathering Hobbit ideas: “I find you have to discipline yourself to write in the morning, and then watch and read in the afternoons stuff that seems relevant, even in a tangential way. For example, reading or watching World War I documentaries or books that I think inform ‘The Hobbit,’ strangely enough, because I believe it is a book born out of Tolkien’s generation’s experience with World War I and the disappointment of being in that field and seeing all those values kind of collapse.”
More after the jump…
On bringing Smaug to life: “All my life I’ve been fascinated by dragons… Essentially, Smaug represents so many things: greed, pride… he’s ‘the Magnificent,’ after all. The way his shadow is cast in the narrative you cannot then show it and have it be one thing, he has to be the embodiment of all those things. He’s one of the few dragons that will have enormous scenes with lines. He has some of the most beautiful dialogues in those scenes!
On the Wargs’ appearance in The Hobbit: “There will be different sensibilities involved in this movie than there were in the original trilogy…. My belief on the ‘Wargs’ issue is that the classical incarnation of the demonic wolf in Nordic mythology is not a hyena-shaped creature. It is a wolf. The archetype is a wolf, so we’re going to go back to the slender, archetypical wolf that is, I think, the inspiration for Tolkien.
On doing Frankenstein: “I’m not doing ‘Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein.’ I’m doing an adventure story that involves the creature. I cannot say much, but it’s not the central creation story, I’m not worried about that. The fact is I’ve been dreaming of doing a ‘Frankenstein’ movie since I was a child. The one thing I can promise is, compared to Kenneth Branagh, I will not appear shirtless in the movie!”