Give Guillermo del Toro a platform to speak and chances are good he’s going to talk about his love of monsters. The director took a break from quarantine this week to join the Toronto International Film Festival for a live discussion about “Pan’s Labyrinth,” his 2006 fantasy drama that won three Oscars and became a critical breakthrough in his career. Del Toro reiterated his adoration for monsters during the half-hour discussion, saying his love for them “is not a mannered, geek, fanboy appreciation. It really is as intimate as religion would be to other people.” The Oscar-winning director loves monsters so much that he jumped at the chance to become one for a 1986 television series he worked on with friend and fellow filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón.
“Alfonso and I were working on a TV program and we cowrote a story,” Del Toro said. “I played the monster. It was about a girl who lived with an abusive father and had to go into the sewers to recuperate, and she found out ogres lived in the sewers. And she chose to live in the sewers instead of living at home. Basically that is my fantasy as a kid, that I would find another place inhabited by monsters and I could actually find it more logical than the regular world.”
The series was the Mexican anthology show “La hora marcada,” created by Carmen Armendáriz. The series aired over the course of two years and had installments directed by both del Toro and Cuarón. Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki was also involved in the series. Lubezki and Cuarón would go on to work together on features such as “Children of Men” and “Gravity,” the latter of which earning them Oscars for Best Director and Best Cinematography. “La hora marcada” was designed in the same vein as “The Twilight Zone.” Del Toro and Cuarón’s episode, “About Ogres,” aired in 1990.
Del Toro has spent most of his quarantine offline and on hiatus from his new production, “Nightmare Alley.” Earlier this month, del Toro assembled an all-star group of filmmakers to create a quarantine watch list that included viewing picks from Ari Aster, Darren Aronofsky, Ava DuVernay, and more. Watch del Toro’s full “Pan’s Labyrinth” discussion with TIFF in the video below.