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Guillermo del Toro Says ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ Crew Thought He Was a ‘Complete Fool’ on Set

Del Toro turned down "every superhero movie" to make "Pan's," but for its 15th anniversary, the Oscar winner breaks down just how "insane" production was.

"Pan's Labyrinth"

“Pan’s Labyrinth”

FilmStruck / Criterion

Master of twisted fairytales Guillermo del Toro is thankful that “Pan’s Labyrinth” received its own happily-ever-after ending after a tumultuous production.

For the Oscar-winning film’s 15th anniversary, the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures hosted del Toro, actor Doug Jones, and cinematographer Guillermo Navarro in a roundtable interview to discuss the making of “Pan’s Labyrinth.”

“After ‘Hellboy’ and ‘Blade II’ were successful, I got offered every superhero movie — they were starting to pick up,” del Toro said, via The Hollywood Reporter. “I was thinking about it because it was very tempting and I said, ‘Do I do ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ or do I do a big movie?'”

Del Toro continued, “I like going from big movies to smaller movies. I like it because it keeps you honest, and it keeps you scared. Both things are very important. But everything that could go wrong on ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ went wrong.”

That included the crew thinking del Toro was “insane” and a “complete fool” for being in the “mountains screaming nonsense.”

Once lead actor Jones arrived, del Toro remembered the production crew saying, “‘What is this American dressed as a faun doing in a Fascist period movie?'”

“The movies I try to do never make sense. I’ve never pitched a movie, and somebody went, ‘Oh, wow,'” del Toro added. “I thought I was doing [‘Pan’s Labyrinth’] for a very small audience, same with ‘The Shape of Water.’ I had no idea that anyone wanted to see the fish get funky.”

Fifteen years after “Labyrinth” and del Toro is back at the Oscars with Best Picture nominee “Nightmare Alley.” The filmmaker also has stop-motion adaptation “Pinocchio” in the works, plus Disney’s “Haunted Mansion” and “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark 2.” The writer-director also announced in 2019 that he was co-writing novel “Pan’s Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun” with Cornelia Funke.

“Only those that know how to look will find magic in this world because there is none if you don’t know where to look,” del Toro said of his inspiration. “I thought of the movies that made me survive this life when I was a kid because movies saved my life and my sanity a few times. The people that like my movies, I’m fortunate that they connect to them in the same molecular way that I connected with the things I loved as a kid.”

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