Oscar-winning filmmaker Guillermo del Toro has long been regarded as one of Hollywood’s finest auteurs. But there was a time when he was just an up-and-coming director meeting with studios looking for work. During a recent interview, Del Toro remembered one such meeting with a studio which he dubbed the ‘worst pitch meeting of his career’.
“I’ve been offered, from the largest superhero franchise to the Seed of Chucky. I’ll tell you one of the worst pitch meetings I’ve ever had. It was for The Fly II. And it was super early in my career, it was ’92 or something like that. I get in and I sit down and they say, ‘What do you think about The Fly II?’ and I said, ‘I think you shouldn’t make it.’ And they said, ‘Why?’ and I said, ‘Because the first one was so great.’ And that was it. They validated my parking.”
That was one time that the filmmaker’s honesty cost him a job. But it is a decision that Del Toro stands by, as he goes on to explain that type of honesty towards his work and reasons why he wants to attach himself to a particular project has stayed with him throughout his varied career.
“I know one thing: from the beginning of my work, I know that I will only take movies that I’m willing to die on the set for. I take them very seriously. Doesn’t matter if it’s a giant robot or an action movie. There’s a reason for me to take it, a personal reason. Nobody has to agree. I’m not running for office. I just go at it and I say, ‘This is what I want, this is what I got,’ and that’s when I say a movie is successful or not. Did it achieve what I wanted?”
It is this dogged honesty about what he has to offer to a project that has led Del Toro to become an Oscar-winning filmmaker with several blockbuster films to his credit. It has also led him to turn down offers for a number of sequels throughout his career, from the aforementioned Seed of Chucky to The Fly II.
Of course, even a director with enormous influence and resources like Del Toro can struggle to get certain projects off the ground, as the filmmaker revealed in the same interview by drawing attention to a ring prop he wears on his person in real life as a reminder of the project that he dreams of working on one day; a movie adaptation of the horror classic novella At the Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft.
“This is why I wear this ring since the project got canceled. This is the fake ring about a fake university, the one that appears in the book, Miskatonic University, and I’m gonna wear it until I make the movie. They may bury me with it.”
Del Toro is currently working on the star-studded feature Nightmare Alley, as well as a stop-motion musical adaption of Pinnochio. This news comes from IndieWire.