Guillermo del Toro is a Mexican director, producer, screenwriter, novelist and designer. He is mostly known as a film director of what could be called strange science fiction, fantasy, and war films, having begun is career in his native Mexico as a visual effects and makeup artist.

After he was given a $30 million budget for the film Mimic, he gained a lot of notoriety in the crime-ridden country and his father was kidnapped and held for ransom. Since then, del Toro has exiled himself from Mexico. He has continued his career in the United States.

Early life

Del Toro was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. He was raised in a strict Catholic household. He first got involved in filmmaking when he was eight years old and studied special effects and make-up with special effects artist Dick Smith. He also wrote four and directed five episodes of the cult series La Hora Marcada, along with other Mexican filmmakers such as Emmanuel Lubezki and Alfonso Cuarón.

He spent ten years as a special effects make-up designer and formed his own company, Necropia. He also co-founded the Guadalajara International Film Festival. Later on in his directing career, he formed his own production company, the Tequila Gang.

In 1997, at the age of 34, Guillermo was given a $30 million budget from Miramax Films to shoot his second film, Mimic. During this time, his father, automotive entrepreneur Federico del Toro, was kidnapped in Guadalajara. Although Federico was eventually released safely, there was intense economic pressure from his captors, to the point that del Toro's family had to pay twice the amount originally asked. The event prompted del Toro, his parents and his siblings to move abroad. In an interview with Time magazine, he said this about the kidnapping of his father: "Every day, every week, something happens that reminds me that I am in involuntary exile from my country.”


Del Toro has directed a wide variety of films, from comic book adaptations (Blade II, Hellboy) to historical fantasy and horror films, two of which are set in Spain in the context of the Spanish Civil War under the authoritarian rule of Francisco Franco. These two films, The Devil's Backbone and Pan's Labyrinth, are among his most critically acclaimed works. They share similar settings, protagonists and themes with the 1973 Spanish film The Spirit of the Beehive, widely considered to be the finest Spanish film of the 1970s.[1]

Del Toro views the horror genre as inherently political, explaining, "Much like fairy tales, there are two facets of horror. One is pro-institution, which is the most reprehensible type of fairy tale: Don't wander into the woods, and always obey your parents. The other type of fairy tale is completely anarchic and antiestablishment."[2]

He is close friends with two other prominent and critically praised Mexican filmmakers Alfonso Cuarón and Alejandro González Iñárritu.[3] The three often influence each other's directorial decisions, and have been interviewed together by Charlie Rose. Cuarón was one of the producers of Pan's Labyrinth, while Iñárritu assisted in editing the film. Del Toro has also contributed to the web series Trailers From Hell.[4]

In April 2008, del Toro was hired by Peter Jackson to direct the live-action film adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit. On May 30, 2010, del Toro left the project due to extend delays brought on by MGM's financial troubles. Although he did not direct the films, he is credited as co-writer in An Unexpected Journey, The Desolation of Smaug and The Battle of the Five Armies.[5]

On June 2, 2009, del Toro's first novel, The Strain, was released. It is the first part of an apocalyptic vampire trilogy co-authored by del Toro and Chuck Hogan. The second volume, The Fall, was released on September 21, 2010. The final installment, The Night Eternal, followed in October 2011. Del Toro cites writings of Antoine Augustin Calmet, Montague Summers and Bernhardt J. Hurwood among his favourites in the non-literary form about vampires.[6]

On December 9, 2010, del Toro launched Mirada Studios with his long-time cinematographer Guillermo Navarro, director Mathew Cullen and executive producer Javier Jimenez. Mirada was formed in Los Angeles, California to be a collaborative space where they and other filmmakers can work with Mirada's artists to create and produce projects that span digital production and content for film, television, advertising, interactive and other media. Mirada launched as a sister company to production company Motion Theory.[7]

Del Toro directed Pacific Rim, a science fiction film based on a screenplay by del Toro and Travis Beacham. In the film, giant monsters rise from the Pacific Ocean and attack major cities, leading humans to retaliate with gigantic mecha suits called Jaegers. Del Toro commented, "This is my most un-modest film, this has everything. The scale is enormous and I'm just a big kid having fun."[8] The film was released on July 12, 2013 and grossed $411 million at the box office.

Del Toro directed "Night Zero", the pilot episode of The Strain, a vampire horror television series based on the novel trilogy of the same name by del Toro and Chuck Hogan. FX has commissioned the pilot episode, which del Toro scripted with Hogan and was filmed in Toronto in September 2013.[9][10] FX ordered a thirteen-episode first season for the series on November 19, 2013, and series premiered on July 13, 2014.[11]

After The Strain’s pilot episode, del Toro directed Crimson Peak, a gothic horror film he co-wrote with Matthew Robbins and Lucinda Cox. Del Toro has described the film as "a very set-oriented, classical but at the same time modern take on the ghost story", citing |The Omen, 'The Exorcist and The Shining as influences. Del Toro also stated, "I think people are getting used to horror subjects done as found footage or B-value budgets] I wanted this to feel like a throwback."

Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska, and Charlie Hunnam starred in the film.[12][13] Production began February 2014 in Toronto, with an April 2015 release date initially planned. The studio later pushed the date back to October 2015, to coincide with the Halloween season.[14]

He was selected to be on the jury for the main competition section of the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.[15][16]

Del Toro directed the cold-war drama film The Shape of Water, starring Sally Hawkins, Octavia Spencer, and Michael Shannon.[17] Filming was set to begin on August 1, 2016 in Toronto,[18][19] but del Toro confirmed on his personal Twitter account that filming would begin on August 15, 2016.[20] Production was officially announced to have begun on that day and wrapped twelve weeks later, the film is currently in post-production.[21][22]

On July 21, 2016, it was reported that del Toro will retire from producing for projects that he isn't creating or directing himself.[23]

At the D23 Expo in 2009, his Double Dare You production company and Disney announced a production deal for a line of darker animated films. The label was announced with one original animated project, Trollhunters.[24][25][note 1] However, del Toro moved his deal to DreamWorks in late 2010.[26] Trollhunters was released to great acclaim on Netflix and "is tracking to be its most-watched kids original ever."[27]

Selected Quotes


  • "My life is a suitcase. I am the traveling Mexican."
  • "If you're not operating on an instinctive level, you're not an artist.... Reason over emotion is bullshit, absolute bullshit... We suffocate ourselves in rules. I find fantasy liberating."
  • "When you have the intuition that there is something which is there, but out of the reach of your physical world, art and religion are the only means to get to it."
  • "I'm an asshole", with a chuckle when asked about being a nice down to earth person after a sneak peek of Pacific Rim during the San Diego Comic-con in 2012.

About Pacific Rim

  • "It’s a great, great kaiju-vs.-mankind extravaganza. I saw all those movies as a kid; I grew up watching Gojira, War of the Gargantuas, Frankenstien Conquers the World, you name it. We saw them every Sunday in Mexico; there was a matinee with either British horror or Japanese horror, so I grew up on a steady diet of Japanese horror and science fiction. And we used to get a lot of Japanese TV—Ultraman, Space Giant… Mexico, for whatever reason, unexplainable to me, had a huge market for Japanese fiction.”|Guillermo del Toro[28]
  • “A movie like this, it’s easy to forget how unique you can make it. I wanted to make the movie not a war movie but an adventure movie — a movie that has a huge, romantic sense of adventure, grandeur, operatic battles that were not only respectable but have a huge emotional content. Because in a movie like this when you have 25-story monsters and you don’t have a sense of awe and scale, everything is lost.”
  • “I wanted to recreate the sensation you have in an adventure movie of what it was to be there battling with a thing that is the size of a skyscraper – a thing that can actually face a tornado and win. When you get a budget you can do two things: you can get crazy or lazy. And I chose to be as crazy as I could. We used creativity and passion and madness as a fuel to make this movie.”
  • “When we built the streets, we rigged the streets with hydraulic systems, so when a monster’s walking, the pavement is rigged to bounce. And blocks of pavement bounce and cars bounce and buildings bounce. You may think, ‘Oh – that’s CG!’ It wasn’t. We were shaking the entire set!”
  • On CGI - "We approached it like Harryhausen approached stop motion. One of the things we were very clear about is no fucking motion capture. It was because I don’t want the robots moving just like human beings. I needed the robots to really move with a sense of shock absorber, a joint, a gear moving.”[29]
  • “I wouldn’t compare it to a Godzilla film. I told my crew we should not reference other movies. We should not go and re-watch Gamera or re-watch Gojira or War of the Gargantuans because we love them, right? So we said, let’s create the world that we’re doing. We should not be doing a referential film.”[30]

Selected Filmography

Year Film Director Writer Producer
1985 Doña Lupe (short) Guillermo del toro Guillermo del toro Guillermo del toro
1986 Dona Herlinda and Her Son Guillermo del toro
1987 Geometria (short) Guillermo del toro Guillermo del toro Guillermo del toro
1993 Cronos Guillermo del toro Guillermo del toro
1997 Mimic Guillermo del toro Guillermo del toro
1998 Under a Spell Guillermo del toro
2001 The Devil's Backbone Guillermo del toro Guillermo del toro Guillermo del toro
2002 I Murder Seriously Guillermo del toro
2002 Blade II Guillermo del toro
2004 Crónicas Guillermo del toro
2004 Hellboy Guillermo del toro Guillermo del toro
2006 Hellboy: Sword of Storms (animated) Guillermo del toro
2006 Pan's Labyrinth Guillermo del toro Guillermo del toro Guillermo del toro
2007 Hellboy: Blood and Iron Guillermo del toro
2007 The Orphanage Guillermo del toro
2008 While She Was Out Guillermo del toro
2008 Rudo y Cursi Guillermo del toro
2008 Insignificant Things Guillermo del toro
2008 Hellboy II: The Golden Army Guillermo del toro Guillermo del toro
2009 Rabia Guillermo del toro
2009 Splice Guillermo del toro
2010 Biutiful Guillermo del toro
2010 Julia's Eyes Guillermo del toro
2011 Megamind Guillermo del toro
2011 Kung Fu Panda 2 Guillermo del toro
2011 Don't Be Afraid of the Dark Guillermo del toro Guillermo del toro
2011 Puss in Boots Guillermo del toro
2012 Rise of the Guardians Guillermo del toro
2012 The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Guillermo del toro
2012 The Captured Bird (short) Guillermo del toro
2013 The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Guillermo del toro
2013 Pacific Rim Guillermo del toro Guillermo del toro Guillermo del toro
2014 The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Guillermo del toro
2015 Crimson Peak Guillermo del toro Guillermo del toro Guillermo del toro
2017 The Shape of Water Guillermo del toro Guillermo del toro Guillermo del toro
2018 Pacific Rim: Uprising Guillermo del toro Guillermo del toro

Selected Videos


  1. 2nd source is to show that DDYou is Del Toro's co.


  1. Curran, Daniel, ed. Foreign Films, film review and analysis of The Spirit of the Beehive, page 161-2, 1989. Evanston, Illinois: Cinebooks. ISBN: 0-933997-22-1.
  2. Cruz, Gilbert (September 5, 2011). "10 Questions for Guillermo del Toro". Time. Retrieved July 30, 2013.
  3. Del Toro, Cuaron, and Inarritu partners up with Universal
  4. Guillermo del Toro. Trailers From Hell!. Retrieved October 24, 2011.
  5. |title=Guillermo del Toro departs The Hobbit
  6. Charlie Rose, 3 July 2009. Retrieved from the Internet Archive 10 July 2014.
  7. Borys, Kit. "Guillermo del Toro, Partners Open Production Facility Doors" The Hollywood Reporter. December 9, 2010
  8. Guillermo del Toro on Hellboy 3 & Pacific Rim
  9. Guillermo del Toro's Toronto
  10. Finding Emma Watson's Beastly Costar Tops Guillermo Del Toro's To-Do List
  11. 'The Strain' gets FX series order: More vamps!
  12. Guillermo Del Toro’s Next Pic ‘Crimson Peak’ Casts Benedict Cumberbatch, Jessica Chastain, Emma Stone & Charlie Hunnam - Deadline
  13. Hunnam Looking to Reunite With Guillermo Del Toro on 'Crimson Peak'
  14. del Toro's 'Crimson Peak' Gets February 2014 Start Date
  15. The Jury of the 68th Cannes Film Festival
  16. Jake Gyllenhaal, Sienna Miller and Guillermo del Toro Join Cannes Film Festival Jury
  17. Michael Shannon Joins Guillermo del Toro's New Film
  18. Guillermo del Toro on Twitter, March 18, 2016
  20. We start shooting The Shape of Water on Monday. I will tweet some images now and then-
  21. Guillermo del Toro's The Shape of Water Begins Production
  22. Guillermo del Toro's The Shape of Water Begins Production (
  23. Things We Learned About Guillermo Del Toro From The Fantasia Film Festival
  24. Disney in cartoon deal with Del Toro
  25. Helmer to haunt Disney’s ‘Mansion’
  26. Del Toro bullish on several projects
  27. Netflix 2016 Earnings
  28. Guilleromo del Toro
  29. Spinoff Online - Guillermo Del Toro Debuts First Footage From Pacific Rim
  30. MovieLine - Pacific Rim: The Characters and Robotic 'Engineering Feats' of Guillermo Del Toro's Monster Sci-Fi Pic

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