Guillermo del Toro visited the BFI London Film Festival to screen his acclaimed awards contender “The Shape of Water” and to participate in one of the festival’s director talks, and the conversation inevitably touched upon Harvey Weinstein. The media mogul has been fired from The Weinstein Company over numerous allegations of sexual harassment that span decades, and del Toro worked alongside Weinstein on the production of “Mimic” during the Miramax days. Let’s just say del Toro does not think fondly of Weinstein.
“I really hated the experience,” del Toro said to the crowd at the festival. “My first American experience was almost my last because it was with the Weinsteins and Miramax. I have got to tell you, two horrible things happened in the late nineties, my father was kidnapped and I worked with the Weinsteins. I know which one was worse… the kidnapping made more sense, I knew what they wanted.”
Del Toro’s father, Federico, was kidnapped by bandits in Guadalajara in 1998 and held for ransom for 72 days. After his father’s return, del Toro and his family left Mexico. “I cannot go back to Mexico,” del Toro told Time Magazine about how his father’s kidnapping affected him. “Every day, every week, something happens that reminds me that I am in involuntary exile [from my country].”
During his conversation, the director did admit that dealing with the Weinstein brothers taught him how to fight. He said he was told during one of his first meetings with Miramax that the company would prohibit him from depicting any violence against animals or children, but he decided to film a scene where two children and a dog die just to rebel against the Weinstein’s rule. “I don’t know if this is much of an achievement but it felt like one,” del Toro said.
“I lost casting battles, I lost story battles but the one thing ‘Mimic’ is visually 100% exactly what I wanted,” he said. “The movie is visually gorgeous and it has a couple of sequences I’m very proud of.”
“The Shape of Water” opens in U.S. theaters December 8.