Guillermo del Toro Gómez is a Mexican filmmaker, author, actor, and former special effects makeup artist. He is best known for the Academy Award-winning fantasy film Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) and The Shape of Water (2017), winning the Academy Award for Best Director and the Academy Award for Best Picture for the latter.
Throughout his career, del Toro has shifted between personal, lower-budget Spanish language films, such as Cronos (1993) and The Devil’s Backbone (2001), and Hollywood tentpoles, including Mimic (1997), Blade II (2002), Hellboy (2004), Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008), and Pacific Rim (2013). He also directed the gothic romance film Crimson Peak (2015). As a producer, he worked on the films The Orphanage (2007), Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (2010), The Hobbit film series (2012–14), Mama (2013), The Book of Life (2014), and Pacific Rim: Uprising (2018).
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 DreamWorks Animation, he created the Netflix animated series Trollhunters (2016–18) and 3Below (2018–19), the first two instalments of the Tales of Arcadia trilogy, based on the 2015 novel he co-wrote with Daniel Kraus. Working with DreamWorks, he also executive produced Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011), Puss in Boots (2011), Rise of the Guardians (2012), and Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016).
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, collectively known as “The Three Amigos of Cinema”.
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