‘Hobbit’ Update: The Latest from Director Guillermo del Toro

The Hobbit, Hellboy II, a lifetime achievement award … it seems Guillermo del Toro is unstoppable. When the Oscar nominated director postponed his Los Angeles Film Festival appearance from Monday to Thursday we couldn’t wait to talk with him about his upcoming projects. Instead Hollywood.com caught up with del Toro at the Saturn Awards where he was being honored for his life’s work. “It’s premature but I accept it anyway because I love the f*cking trophy,” he told us.

Nothing will be off limits for Thursday night’s festival talk, “They can ask anything. I’ll be brutally sincere if I can.”

Hollywood.com took the opportunity to get some brutal sincerity on his attachment to The Hobbit and the upcoming Hellboy II, in case anyone wants to follow up with him on Thursday night.

1. The Hobbit creatures will be very Pan’s Labyrinth:

“Yeah, but remember one thing. The terrain that is covered by the trilogy is a very defined area. The Hobbit goes different places, goes different things. To give you an example, Shelob is a spider but the spiders of Mirkwood are completely different. So I plan to bring myself to The Hobbit, no doubt about that.”

2. No one is cast in The Hobbit yet. Not James McAvoy, not after Wanted opens, nothing.

“There is a lot of interest in the acting community to be in the movie and there’s a lot of speculation from fans and professionals. But the reality is right now, whatever name is brought forth, it’s a speculation. Just that. We have not locked into a name because we cannot lock into a name until we write the screenplay. It’s not about viable, it’s not about box office. I think we know, Peter [Jackson], Fran [Walsh], Philippa [Boyens] and I are going from the exact same side which is we’ll cast whoever seems to fit the pages. We know the precedent on the trilogy was Elijah Wood who was a very well known actor and on his way to becoming a star, but not necessarily, he wouldn’t have been a superstar back then. I think he was cast right for the part and we’re doing the same.”

3. The Hobbit is not Lord of the Rings for kids:

“I never think in those terms. For me, Blade II is a family film. I’m really thwarted that way. I feel that obviously being faithful to the source, I would love for this to be a movie that can be enjoyed by fathers and sons, by mothers and daughters. I would love in that sense, but very often when you use the word family film, it can conjure watering down things. I believe that Tolkein had, in the last third of the book, I wouldn’t say an edge but had a somber tone that normally would not conjure the term family.”

4. He’s just getting started on The Hobbit:

“Barely started. We have had preliminary chats. We have had a chat where we sketch out what we think of the two movies, but there’s no writing. There is note taking. There is breaking down the novel. There is a lot of work already being done on our part but real preproduction will not start until late July.”

5. He’ll be racking up frequent flyer miles to New Zealand:

“I’m going to be going every two weeks. We start preconceptualizations both in New Zealand and LA. I open the conceptualization shop in August. I travel to Weta to start doing some more research and development and I’m going to be going to New Zealand every two weeks or so. Spend a week there, spend a week, for me it’s like commuting to Burbank. I’m used to these things.”

6. By the way, Hellboy II: The Golden Army comes out next month:

“I love the movie. I love the movie. The thing is, I felt this way with some of the movies I’ve done, not all of them, where you know you love the movie before it comes out and you can shout it to the wind regardless, because no one can predict either the immediate future or the long future of a movie. But I can say safely that regardless, I love the movie. It happened to me with Pan’s Labyrinth. That went and was successful. It happened to me with Devil’s Backbone which came out and was barely noticed except by the critics, but went on to become a movie that people know about and discover on DVD. I feel that way about Hellboy II.”

7. And now it’s the artistic follow-up to Pan’s Labyrinth:

“I think that Pan’s did that, Pan’s became that movie that put me in a different view. Most people knew me for the more commercial movies. So I think that Pan’s allowed people to realize that the same person was behind [both]. People tend to distinguish. They say, ‘Oh, it’s a Hollywood movie’ or ‘I like the Spanish language movies more’ or this and that. I think this one kind of fuses both things into one. It has the same spirit and freedom that I have in the Spanish movies but with a much bigger scope.”

8. Guillermo del Toro‘s creatures still fit in Hellboy’s world:

“The universe, when you see the movie, is so much his world. I mean, the movie I think is tailored around Abe, Hellboy, Liz as characters and they have great character moments in the movie. The creatures are great but the greatest thing I think is the interaction when they have down time. The funny thing is, [Hellboy creator] Mike Mignola said, ‘There are parts of the movie that are completely your world. They are independent of the Hellboy universe.’ But it was not on purpose. It just happened.”

9. Hellboy II makes Hellboy I look like Heckboy:

“It’s tenfold better. Tenfold better in my view. It’s crazier, bigger, freer and certainly creatively it was much more fun to make. As an exercise in production was as creative as the first one because the first one was $66 [million], this is $85 but the scope we Wanted was like that of a movie of $200 or more.”

10. If you like Hellboy II, he won’t be too busy to bring you Hellboy III:

“Well, don’t tell my family, but the idea is if that happened, I would love to do it consecutive to The Hobbit. The first movie was 2004, second movie is 2008, so if the third movie is 2012/2013, it’s not that far off.”