Monday, July 7, 2008

HELLBOY WEEK Monday - This time it's personal...

Welcome to Hellboy week at Savage Tales. In celebration of Friday's release of Hellboy II: The Golden Army I am featuring new (and slightly used) Hellboy stuff everyday this week.


I thought I would start the week with some personal stories of my time working with Guillermo del Toro on the first Hellboy movie. Through work I often get to meet filmmakers and spend some time helping them achieve their vision in the marketing materials for their films.

Photo: Egon Endrenyi/Universal Pictures

Way back in 1994 I saw Chronos, the first feature directed by Guillermo del Toro, on the big screen in Hollywood. I liked it due to the striking visual style and the performance of Ron Perlman. I saw Mimic on video and didn't think much of it. I later learned that he was very unhappy with the studio's version of the film.

The first time I met Guillermo del Toro it was late in the evening. He arrived at the session around the same time as Director of Photography, Guillermo Navarro. We were at a facility that was brand new and we were working on the color timing for the marketing. I had worked with Mr. Navarro before so he was already comfortable with me. He later won the Oscar for his photography on Pan's Labyrinth.

So the Guillermos arrived and were happy with how things were looking and only wanted a few small changes. Unfortunately, the new Digital Intermediate equipment decided to stop working. The two men had been chatting a while when del Toro asked me, "Do you mind if we speak in Spanish for a bit?" I replied that of course that would be fine, but I was impressed by the question. I grew to learn that the kind of courtesy on display that night was typical del Toro.

The gear got going again and we were close to the final color for the trailer when the gear went down again. Navarro said his "goodnights" but del Toro stayed and waited. We chatted about kids and family, monsters and heroes. I told him of my love of the Hellboy comics and that I was thrilled at how the movie was coming along. He is an utterly charming man. I wish that I had known about his notebooks and sketches. I might have been able to get a look at them.

We finally finished in the wee hours of the morning, but I didn't care about the time. I was working on Hellboy with Guillermo.

One Saturday we were laying down the whole Hellboy feature onto tape. With no sound. We finished Reels 1 & 2 and I had to leave to work on something else. Guillermo knew the other filmmaker and sent me on my way. When I returned he had skipped ahead and finished the last 2 reels of the film so that I wouldn't see the ending until I could see the whole movie. I thought that was so cool. Then he invited me to a sneak preview screening.

Needless to say I loved the movie! Guillermo pushed me to see The Devil's Backbone, now my second favorite del Toro film after Hellboy. I really recommend "The Devil's Backbone".

After "Hellboy" del Toro went on to make "Pan's Labyrinth", his biggest success, which was nominated for 6 Oscars and won 3. Guillermo didn't win one for himself, though. But because of the massive critical and financial success of "Pan's Labyrinth", Guillermo had heat in Hollywood. That got Hellboy II made and Guillermo going to New Zealand to direct a pair of "Hobbit" movies. Hopefully Hellboy II will lead to Hellboy III...

Here's a look at Guillermo del Toro on Jimmy Kimmel Live...

Here's the online movie prequel comic...

So go see Hellboy II: The Golden Army - you know you want to...

© 2008 W. Peter Miller

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That is a great story. Thanks for sharing it. I've also enjoyed his work since Chronos. The Devils Backbone and Pan's Labyrinth are both terrific films that I have been able to introduce to a variety of people that would not normally have watched them. I even enjoyed Mimic; especially the creepy creature designs. Blade 2 is an underrated superhero flick that is definitely worth watching. I remember going to one of the preview screenings of Blade 2, having a great time and then needing to keep my mouth shut about all of the coolness I had witnessed, so my friends would not strangle me.