Guillermo del Toro Recalls His Most Toxic Hollywood Experience: Working for the Weinsteins

Guillermo del Toro Recalls His Most Toxic Hollywood Experience: Working for the Weinsteins ...

Guillermo del Toro is acutely aware of the motifs and themes that arise and arise again in his films. He often acknowledges them. For instance, the Oscar-nomianted Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio is part of a spiritual trilogy with The Devil's Backbone (2001) and Pan's Labyrinth (2006), which all explore childhood innocence but also the shadow of fascism and oppression.

Nightmare Alley, del Toro's last Best Picture nominee, is a film about a small-time carnival huckster who is shown how carnival barkers eat live chickens. Is it what the audience wanted to see?

The same connection remains in Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio. Only this time, a little wooden boy named Pinocchio is enthralled by circus owner Count Volpe to dance for real-life fascist Benito Mussolini. So when we spoke with del Toro, we asked him if this connection is normal in the entertainment business.

“It is the essence [of creation],” del Toro adds with a deep laugh. “It is the enshrinement of pain that produces an insight or the notion of catharsis.”

The filmmaker claims that "the Geek" concept, immortalized in the original Nightmare Alley book, demonstrates this drama at its basic level, but it has been carried throughout the years on all levels, including in his own industry experiences.

"They would go and see the Geek and then leave the room, saying, "Well, we don't have it that bad!" del Toro continues. "Invariably, there is someone in the cycle that is maintaining the industry, whether it's a traveling carnival that has to pay for transportation, gas, lodging, food, or the entertainment industry that employs tens of thousands of people."

Indeed, as the filmmaker admits to us, he has had a confrontation with Count Volpe.

"My worst experience or experiences in show business," says Del Toro, in 1996 and 1997 with the Weinstein company. The sci-fi/horror hybrid based on a screenplay she co-wrote with Matthew Robbins was developed in 1996 and 1997. The film explored a new kind of monstrous cockroaches living in New York City. Both filmmakers, Bob Weinstein and Harvey Weinstein, became dissatisfied with the daily grinds they were seeing.

Bob went up to the on-location shooting in Toronto to lecture del Toro on how to direct a film. Eventually, Bob attempted to remove del Toro from the project altogether until Sorvino refused to allow the Weinsteins to replace him with another filmmaker. Even then, the Weinsteins insisted on getting the final cut of the film in the editing suite.

"It was very much finding yourself locked in the fine print or in a completely dire position in which you had to learn to completely function," del Toro says. I managed to finish the film, and I had a career afterwards."

Del Toro figured out a way to put the chicken down and leave the tent.

Pinocchio by Guillermo del Toro is now available on Netflix.