So Guillermo Del Toro‘s “Pacific Rim” (our review) storms into theaters
on Friday tonight, with screenings starting at 7 PM, and while critical consensus is leaning in his favor, it remains to be seen if audiences want to see robots smash monsters or watch Salma Hayek getting farted on in Adam Sandler‘s “Grown Ups 2” (yes, really). But no matter how the box office plays out, Del Toro has many irons in the fire (he’s producing and directing the pilot of “The Strain” next, with his next feature “Crimson Peak” shooting in early 2014) and in between all that he’s likely busy with a dozen other things we don’t even know about yet. But things might have been very different had he stuck around to direct “The Hobbit” films (he bailed when MGM was in near financial ruin and their future was in doubt) but has he been in a rush to see what Peter Jackson has done?
“I haven’t seen the second movie,” he told Vulture when they asked if any of his controversial designs for Smaug survived to make the current films. “I haven’t seen the first movie, so I don’t know. I’ve been busy making my own movies. [Laughs].” And well, we can understand. It must be a little bit heartbreaking to see a wholly different vision of something you carefully planned for only for it not to happen. Del Toro soldiered on to make “Pacific Rim,” but even with his exacting vision, the director turned to filmmaking friend Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu and Alfonso Cuaron for a little help.
“Alejandro famously came over one night on ‘Pan’s Labyrinth‘ and took fifteen minutes out of the movie,” Del Toro said. “And they both came to see my cut of ‘Pacific Rim.’ Alejandro took about ten minutes out of it with me. Alfonso also took a few minutes out but mostly gave ideas on editing — move this, move that. I watched [Cuarón’s] ‘Gravity‘ recently and came up with a few visual gags and helped him edit a few minutes out.”
Indeed, Del Toro is very conscious about running times and not overstaying his welcome. “All I know is that as an audience member, my ass meter starts ringing its fire alarm after two hours,” he explained. “If you’re going for a great burger or a great pizza, you hope you don’t have to wait for two hours as if you were at French Laundry in Napa. It’s the same with a movie, I think. At least when you’re thinking about an audience that is young — chronologically or at heart — you want to keep the movie at or under two hours.”
All told, it seems del Toro and his pals act as a sounding boards for each other, in what must be a pretty nice group to work in, but what exactly the footage cut from “Pacific Rim” is — and whether or not we’ll see it — is a question we’ll have to ponder for the moment. Until then, Jaegars and Kaijus wreak havoc at a theatre near you. Bonus round: here’s Del Toro talking to the Criterion Collection about “Godzilla.”