Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Sneak Cinema: Crimson Peak w/ Guillermo del Toro

YouTube Space LA hosted a pretty awesome event last night, an early screening of Guillermo del Toro's Crimson Peak followed by a chat with the man himself. Taking place next door at the Cinemark Playa Vista and at their space in the campus, del Toro welcomed the audience and reiterated that the film is not a horror flick but a Gothic romance. I honestly didn't know too much about the movie going in but was a big fan of his work on Hellboy and Pacific Rim. The story of Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska), a bright young woman with aspirations to be a writer who falls for the dapper yet dark Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston). Moving to their decaying manor in rural Europe, Edith tries to play nice with Thomas' foreboding sister Lady Lucille Sharpe (Jessica Chastain) while getting used to the cold and scary Crimson Peak. Named after the red clay that seeps up from underground. Mystery, ghosts, deception, intrigue and blood follows in a very handsomely produced film that's at times beautiful as well as terrifying. Without giving too much away, Peak is hardly your typical Halloween slasher flick but instead more of a character piece that utilizes a bygone era, atmosphere and customs to keep things interesting leading up to a pretty exciting and scary conclusion.

After the film, del Toro sat down to discuss his philosophy of life and filmmaking, spoiler free:

- Believes in two forces, fear and love.
- Passion project that took 7 years to produce. Going for R rating meant a budget reduction of 30-40% but sees budget only as a mindset, not a hindrance.
- Views filmmaking as a table with four legs encompassing costumes, production design, cinematography and directing.
- Wanted costumes built and the set dressed. Every thing you see is planned, designed and created.
- Feels people who like his movies are creative types who appreciate the effort.
- Was originally set up with Emma Stone and Benedict Cumberbatch but losing them was best thing for the project as it was a great experience.
- Movie sets are like any social setting, there's always going to be an asshole.
- Hates conformity or people telling you what you can and can't do. The only reason giant elephants don't pull the stake from the ground is because they weren't strong enough to do so when they were small and still have same mindset.
- Wanted to make a film with strong female characters which shouldn't be an exception given the amount of strong women walking the planet every day.
-  Chances of a Hellboy III are highly improbable.
- Trying to be a good person is one of the biggest contributions people can make to the world.
- Always wanted to be a bank robber like Robert DeNiro in Heat. Finds himself casing the joint any time he's cashing a check.
- Directors never have total control, if they did, results wouldn't be any good. Need collaboration.

Much more was discussed, particularly concerning the film but I'm not gonna ruin it for ya. del Toro has always been a funny and warm speaker and seeing him live was fantastic. The guy is extremely intelligent and experienced, citing examples from Jung, the Dao, Stanley Kubrick and oh so many more in a non-elitist way. I'd love to hear him in a conversation with Jean-Claude Van Damme as his roundabout, somewhat spacey views on life always seem to make total sense. Because divorce is a word but love is a feeling...

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