Last updateFri, 13 Mar 2015 5pm

Guillermo del Toro yearns for Mexico return

Acclaimed Tapatio producer-director Guillermo del Toro has expressed his desire to film again in Mexico.

Attending several events at this week’s International Film Festival in Guadalajara, the director of hits such as “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “Pacific Rim” spoke of his longing to return home.

“I owe it to myself as a person and as a narrator. I don’t want to die with this unfulfilled desire,” said the Guadalajara-born filmmaker.

Del Toro eventually hopes to shoot a vampire film here based on his and Chuck Hogan’s novel “The Strain: The Silver Angel.”

“If I don’t die of a heart attack first, I’m going to do it,” he said. “I’ve wanted to do it for 15 years. I owe it to myself.”

Nevertheless, the director acknowledged the great fear that stems from the kidnapping of his businessman father.

“It’s like walking into a cantina with a pistol and there’s no structure in place to stop what happens next,” he told the crowd. “It’s one thing to talk about a social crisis, but another to talk about absolute social decay.”

A day later, Jalisco Attorney General Luis Carlos Najera responded to Del Toro’s comments, as well those by recent Oscar winner  Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu,  who called for Mexico to “get the government it deserves”  during his acceptance speech for Best Director.

“Many people are criticizing the government,” Najera said. “It now seems to be a sport, where some take a break and others start up.” 

Najera was working his way up the police ranks when Del Toro’s father was kidnapped in 1997. The automobile dealer was eventually  released but Del Toro fled the country in response. He now lives in Toronto and the last film he shot on Mexican soil was the 2001 feature “The Devil’s Backbone.”

Be true to your vision

At a well attended film workshop this week, Del Toro called for film students and aspiring filmmakers to remain true to their personal artistic visions. It is always a bad idea to compromise in order to secure financial support, the director said, pointing out that he was “the weirdest of filmmakers and was only ever interested in strange stories.”

The director added that Mexican cinema has never been a money spinner. In fact, when he started in the business, filmmakers had to sell their own tickets and set up the projectors doing performances.

“Mexican cinema, whether made with money or without, always provokes a reaction abroad. We exist. We continue to have a voice. Now in this digital moment, the survival of that voice is guaranteed.”

A prolific worker, Del Toro has a diverse range of projects on the table. He is developing the Amazon television series “A Killing on Carnival Row,” and is working on a fourth novel “The Boy in the Steel Cage.”

His next movie, “Crimson Peak,” is in post-production and is set to be released in October. The horror film is set in Cumbria, England, and stars Mia Wasikowska.

Del Toro also revealed his plans to leave a legacy for young Mexican artists. He announced that he has included a scholarship in his will for novelists, scriptwriters and filmmakers to stay in his Los Angeles home and work on their own projects.

After his talk, the director collected folders, CD’s and USB’s from aspiring filmmakers, and promised to go through each of them personally.

“Nobody has the right not to be a good person,” he said when asked about directors who ignored young talent. “Being a bad guy takes a lot more effort.”