Guillermo del Toro Gómez (born October 9, 1964) is a Mexican filmmaker, author, actor, and former special effects makeup artist. He is best known for the Academy Award-winning fantasy films Pan’s Labyrinth (2006), with Ivana Baquero, Sergi López, Maribel Verdú, Doug Jones, and Ariadna Gil; and The Shape of Water (2017), with Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Jones, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Octavia Spencer; winning the Oscars for Best Director and Best Picture for the latter.
Throughout his career, he has shifted between personal, lower-budget Spanish language films, such as Cronos (1993), with Federico Luppi, Ron Perlman, Claudio Brook, Margarita Isabel, and Tamara Shanath; and The Devil’s Backbone (2001), with Marisa Paredes, Eduardo Noriega, Luppi, Fernando Tielve, and Íñigo Garcés; and Hollywood tentpoles, including Mimic (1997), with Mira Sorvino, Jeremy Northam, Josh Brolin, Charles S. Dutton, Giancarlo Giannini and F. Murray Abraham; Blade II (2002), with Wesley Snipes, Kris Kristofferson, Perlman, Leonor Varela, Norman Reedus, Luke Goss, Hellboy (2004), with Perlman, Selma Blair, Jeffrey Tambor, Karel Roden, Rupert Evans, Jones, and John Hurt; and its sequel Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008), with much of the previous cast, along with Gross and Anna Walton; Pacific Rim (2013), with Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, Burn Gorman, Robert Kazinsky, Max Martini, Perlman, and Mana Ashida; and Crimson Peak (2015), with Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain, Hunnam, and Jim Beaver.
Films in the 2020s include Nightmare Alley (2021), with Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Toni Collette, Willem Dafoe, Jenkins, Rooney Mara, Perlman, Mary Steenburgen, David Strathairn, Holt McCallany, Clifton Collins Jr., Jim Beaver, & Tim Blake Nelson; a stop motion adaptation of Pinocchio (2022), with the voices of Gregory Mann, David Bradley, Ewan McGregor, Gorman, Perlman, John Turturro, Finn Wolfhard, Blanchett, Nelson, Christoph Waltz, and Tilda Swinton; the latter winning the Academy Award for Best Animated Film.
As a producer, del Toro worked on the films The Orphanage (2007), with Belén Rueda, Fernando Cayo, Roger Príncep, Mabel Rivera, Montserrat Carulla, Andrés Gertrúdix, Edgar Vivar, and Geraldine Chaplin; Mama (2013), with Chastain, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Megan Charpentier, Isabelle Nélisse, Daniel Kash, and Javier Botet; the animated film The Book of Life (2014), with the voices of Diego Luna, Zoe Saldana, Channing Tatum, Christina Applegate, Ice Cube, Perlman, Kate del Castillo, Héctor Elizondo, and Dan Navarro; Pacific Rim: Uprising (2018), with John Boyega, Scott Eastwood, Jing Tian, Cailee Spaeny, Kikuchi, Gorman, Adria Arjona, Max Zhang, Day, and Karan Brar; and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019), with Zoe Colletti, Michael Garza, Gabriel Rush, Austin Zajur, Natalie Ganzhorn, Austin Abrams, Dean Norris, Gil Bellows, and Lorraine Toussaint
He also co-produced and co-wrote Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (2010), with Katie Holmes, Guy Pearce, Bailee Madison, Jack Thompson, Alan Dale, Garry McDonald, and Julia Blake; co-wrote Peter Jackson‘s Hobbit trilogy (2012 – 2014), with Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Benedict Cumberbatch, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, James Nesbitt, Ken Stott, Stephen Fry, Blanchett, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Elijah Wood, Orlando Bloom, and Andy Serkis; and co-wrote and co-produced Robert Zemeckis‘ The Witches (2020), with Anne Hathaway, Spencer, Stanley Tucci, and narration by Chris Rock. With Chuck Hogan, he co-authored The Strain trilogy of novels (2009–2011), later adapted into a comic-book series (2011–15) and a live-action television series (2014–17), with Corey Stoll, David Bradley, Mía Maestro, Kevin Durand, Jonathan Hyde, Richard Sammel, Sean Astin, Jack Kesy, Natalie Brown, Miguel Gomez, Ben Hyland, Max Charles, Ruta Gedmintas, Rupert Penry-Jones, Samantha Mathis, and Joaquin Cosio.
With DreamWorks Animation, he created the Netflix animated series Trollhunters (2016–18), with Anton Yelchin, Kelsey Grammer, Charlie Saxton, Leo Ntanos, Jonathan Hyde, Fred Tatasciore, Perlman, Amy Landecker, and Emile Hirsch; 3Below (2018–19), with Tatiana Maslany, Diego Luna, Nick Offerman, Glenn Close, and Frank Welker; and Wizards (2020), with Colin O’Donoghue, Lexi Medrano, David Bradley, Lena Headey, James Faulkner; the three installments of the Tales of Arcadia trilogy, based on the 2015 novel he co-wrote with Daniel Kraus. Also with DreamWorks, he executive produced Puss in Boots (2011), with Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Zach Galifianakis, Billy Bob Thornton, and Amy Sedaris; Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011), with Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, David Cross, James Hong, Jackie Chan, Gary Oldman, Michelle Yeoh, Danny McBride, Dennis Haysbert, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and Victor Garber; Rise of the Guardians (2012), with Chris Pine, Alec Baldwin, Isla Fisher, Hugh Jackman, and Jude Law; and Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016), with much of the returning cast, along with Randall Duk Kim, Bryan Cranston, Tatasciore, J.K. Simmons, and Kate Hudson.
Del Toro’s work has been characterized by a strong connection to fairy tales and horror, with an effort to infuse visual or poetic beauty in the grotesque. He has had a lifelong fascination with monsters, which he considers symbols of great power. He is also known for his use of insectile and religious imagery, the themes of Catholicism and celebrating imperfection, underworld and clockwork motifs, practical special effects, dominant amber lighting and his frequent collaborations with actors Ron Perlman and Doug Jones. He is good friends with fellow Mexican filmmakers Alfonso Cuarón and Alejandro G. Iñárritu, known as “The Three Amigos” in the industry, confounding the production company Cha Cha Cha Films.
Each review will be linked to the title below.
(*seen originally in theaters)
(**seen rereleased in theaters)
- Doña Lupe (1985) – also writer – short
- Geometría (1987) – also writer – short
- Cronos (1993) – also writer
- Mimic (1997) – also co-writer
- The Devil’s Backbone (2001) – also co-writer, executive producer
- Blade II (2002)
- Hellboy (2004)* – also writer, co-story
- Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)* – also writer, co-producer
- Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008)* – also writer, co-story
- Pacific Rim (2013)* – also co-writer, co-producer
- Crimson Peak (2015)* – also co-writer, co-producer
- The Shape of Water (2017)* – also story, co-writer, co-producer
- Nightmare Alley (2021)* – also co-writer, co-producer
- Pinnochio (2022)* – co-directed with Mark Gustafson – also co-story, co-writer, co-producer
- The Orphanage (2007) – directed by J.A. Bayona – executive producer
- Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)* – by Jennifer Yuh Nelson – executive producer
- Puss in Boots (2011)* – directed by Chris Miller – executive producer
- Rise of the Guardians (2012)* – directed by Peter Ramsey – executive producer
- The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012) – directed by Peter Jackson – co-writer
- Mama (2013) – directed by Andy Muschietti – executive producer
- The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013) – directed by Peter Jackson – co-writer
- The Book of Life (2014)* – directed by Jorge R. Gutierrez – co-producer
- The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014) – directed by Peter Jackson – co-writer
- Pacific Rim: Uprising (2018) – directed by Steven S. DeKnight – co-producer
- Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019) – directed by André Øvredal – co-producer, co-story
- The Witches (2020) – directed by Robert Zemeckis – co-writer, co-producer
- Antlers (2021) – directed by Scott Cooper – co-producer