Friday, January 12, 2007


On the table in front of Guillermo Del Toro at the Hotel Inter-Continental -- where the good-natured, bespectacled Mexican filmmaker was holed up as the Toronto International Film Festival premiered his amazing Pan's Labyrinth -- there's a heavy, handcrafted, leather-bound notebook.

It's the book that Del Toro kept in the months before and during the making of Pan's Labyrinth. Its pages abound with intricate, detailed notes (in his native Spanish) and incredible sketches of some of the film's characters and sets: the half-man, half goat; skullheads; eyeless faces; spooky houses; gnarled trees; owls, and a little girl that looks like Lewis Carroll's Alice.

"I always keep a notebook on the movies, and I started this one on Pan," says Del Toro, handing the book over to peruse. "When the movies come out on DVD, one of the extras I put in are the pages from the notebook that belonged to that movie. But maybe one day I'll publish them too. I'll have to do some editing, however, because they also serve as diaries. ‘I woke up this morning and washed my socks.’"

Nothing scandalous?, I ask.

"Unfortunately not. I wish there were," he laughs.

"Each of them is a different art project. Like this one, for Pan, I call it the psychopath book, because I changed my writing, I modeled it after the psychopathic writing in Seven. And the other ones, if you see them, they’re all different....

"I think eventually when film goes absolutely to hell, I’ll just go to school, learn to paint, and I’ll just paint, and do books. And I’ll live in a little coastal village....

"Because, at the end of the day, the satisfaction I get is creating the image -- that’s 99 percent of my satisfaction. Then showing it and all that -- all of the work that goes with promoting and distributing and presenting a film -- I suffer, mostly. But when you create the image and it’s incontestibly beautiful, that’s most of the fun."

For a look at some of the pages in Del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth book, click on this link to the Guardian UK.,,1949730,00.html


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