If you’re only familiar with “Guillermo del Toro, director of visually stunning, often very scary films,” then there’s a large portion of work that you’re missing from the beloved filmmaker. Del Toro has been producing movies for as long as he’s been directing them, and his latest credit, “Mama,” opens in theaters on Friday.
When MTV News sat down with del Toro and the helmer of “Mama,” Andés Muschietti, the “Pacific Rim” director discussed the role of producing in his career.
“Mama,” which stars Jessica Chastain, began as a Spanish-language short, directed by Muschietti. (You can watch the original after the jump.) When del Toro found the short after it surged in popularity on the internet, he contacted Muschietti about turning it into a feature.
“I watch many shorts every year, and after 20 years as director and producer and 30 years making movies, I really recognize very quickly when somebody has an interesting voice and is a really interesting narrator,” del Toro said. “Andy was a great storyteller from the first ten seconds of the short, I saw somebody that knew to how create something stylistically beautiful, powerful, cinematic, and scary.”
Producing movies that he isn’t writing or directing means more to del Toro than another business venture. When one iconic filmmaker played the same role in his life, it saved his career.
“I don’t know why I producer. Honestly, it’s just a compulsion because I really love the social interaction with other filmmakers, and the only way you can have it is by producing. I love learning from new filmmakers,” del Toro said. “I think it’s necessary, and it’s paying it forward, because at the lowest time in my career, after ’Mimic,’ Pedro Almodóvar basically saved my life by producing ’Devil’s Backbone.’ It was such a life-changer for me to get somebody that was a benign, good will, good-hearted person that had power to come and help me have a life and have a career. I just want to give that back.”
“Mama” opens in theaters on Friday.