Post Magazine

August 2011

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 13 of 51

Don' t Be Afraid of the Dark T director's chair Guillermo del Toro— ORONTO — Since bursting onto the scene –— and winning the Critic's Prize at the 1993 Cannes By IAIN BLAIR This acclaimed director puts on his writer/ producer hat for this one. Film Festival for his first feature, Cronos — Mexican writer/director/producer Guillermo del Toro has established himself as one of the most assured voices in international cin- ema.A devotee of the gothic horror genre, he has moved back and forth easily between independent, Spanish-language films and in- creasingly big-budget studio productions, with credits that include the acclaimed Pan's Labyrinth, Mimic,The Devil's Backbone and the Hellboy and Blade franchises. His latest film Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, directed by Troy Nixey, is a scare-fest star- ring Katie Holmes, Guy Pearce, Bailee Madi- son and enough evil little creatures to keep an army of visual effects ar tists employed for months. Del Toro was in Toronto prepping Pacific Rim when he took time to talk with Post about making the film and his love of post production and visual effects, and why he bowed out of directing The Hobbit. POST: What makes a really effective hor- The film's DI was done at Park Road Post in Wellington, New Zealand. ror film? What's the secret? GUILLERMO DEL TORO: "Characters. Good characters.The scares of course are necessary but it's the human characters.The movies I've tried to produce, write and di- rect, I'm very proud to say as far as I can re- member I've never written a female victim, a scream queen or a part like that. I always try to create very strong female characters, in many cases stronger than the guys. Certainly in Don't Be Afraid." POST: So what scares you? DEL TORO: (Laughs) "Politicians… a lot. They are so deranged, especially these days. And human pettiness. Oh my God, that's scary. It's so horrifying. I've seen a UFO and I've heard ghosts twice — once in New Zealand and once in Mexico — but those are not the scariest things.The scary things are real things like every day." POST: Why is it that people love to be scared so much? DEL TORO:"I think we live in a regimen- tal world where we don't experience a lot of the emotions we need almost at a mam- malian level, and you need a release for this thing. So a horror movie or a roller coaster, you scream and you get the thrill of that in a 12 Post • August 2011 Guillermo del Toro on set: "I think post is the only part of the whole process I really enjoy." regular situation." POST: What were the biggest challenges of making this? DEL TORO: "We wanted to find a lan- guage we could apply to all the visual effects. For example, the DP, Oliver Stapleton, and I wanted to use a very shallow depth of focus when shooting the creatures, and we wanted to really simulate the atmospheric dispersion you get when shooting dancing dust motes. Technically, we wanted the movie to be very, very dark, but also to have the creatures be lit that would allow for their translucency to be felt. Every time you do a very dark movie, it's very challenging for the DP, because a lot of them are, no pun intended, afraid of the dark (laughs). But Oliver, who's shot wonderful films like The Cider House Rules and The Shipping News, embraced that approach." POST: Why did you shoot in Melbourne, Australia? DEL TORO: "First, I wanted to be close to New Zealand since I was prepping The Hobbit, and it's a great place. The effects house we used there, Iloura, was fantastic — their work blew me away, and everyone from the editor to set designer and so on was first class." POST: This is very much your vision, so why didn't you want to direct this? DEL TORO: "Because I thought it had a lot of echoes to stuff that I already did on Pan's Labyrinth, so I brought in a first-time di- rector, Troy Nixey, and it was a great arrangement." POST: How closely did you work with Troy? DEL TORO: "Very closely. Normally when I produce I stay back more, but on this I knew it was going to be a tough film techni- cally, especially for a first-time director, so I was very hands-on. On preproduction I stepped back a little, but once production got closer, I was there 90 percent of the time and on the shoot, and I was very involved with the DP and all the editing, visual effects,music, sound effects and sound design. "This required a lot of attention as it was a tough one to manage for the budget and schedule we had, and I wanted it to look a certain way.Troy made a few choices that were different from mine, and I sup- ported them, but I mainly had to make sure of getting this 'fairy tale gone wrong' look and feeling I wanted." POST: Where did you do the post? DEL TORO: "We began the edit and later recorded the creature sounds in Mel- bourne — I'm one of the voices, and we did the color timing at Park Road Post in Wellington, the sound mix in Melbourne and the final mix in LA.We did one pass at Disney's mixing stage, and even did another timing pass in New Zealand, so post was all over the place." POST: Do you like the post process?

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Post Magazine - August 2011