Guillermo del Toro

Guillermo del Toro is a Mexican-born filmmaker who directed Hellboy, and Cronos, and the Oscar-nominated Pan’s Labyrinth, among other movies. He is known for his love of insects, monsters, and dark places. Before speaking to a packed theater at the Arclight Hollywood, del Toro sat down for Zócalo’s “In The Green Room” Q&A.

Q. What’s your favorite book?

A. I would say it’s a toss-up between Bleak House by Charles Dickens and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.

Q. What music did you listen to today?

A. Today? I was listening to an audiobook.

Q. Which one?

A. My book. I was checking for the reader, how well he did it or not. It was very boring.

Q. What’s your favorite word?

A. Oh my god-in English, I like f^*k. Also, midget. Midget is my favorite word in English. In Spanish, I don’t know. I like vampira. Like a midget vampire.

Q. What’s your favorite cocktail?

A. I don’t drink. Well, I mean-White Russian, if I drink. Something very manly. (laughs)

Q. What’s your guilty pleasure?

A. I don’t think any pleasure is guilty.

Q. If you could go on one more journey in your life, just one more, where would you go?

A. One more trip? I would go to my hometown, Guadalajara.

Q. What is your most prized material possession?

A. I would say a pen and a piece of paper.

Q. If you could have any profession in a future life, what would that profession be?

A. Bank robber, like a heist. You know, I would break into vaults. Or a sniper. Like Black Ops.

Q. What is your fondest childhood memory?

A. (Laughs) I have no fond childhood memories.

Q. What is the last thing that inspired you?

A. The last thing? Well, actually, watching Black Swan. I really loved the camera work, and Aronofsky. Everything-the visualizing, the choice of everything. It was very, very, very dark.

Q. What is something that most people wouldn’t know about you?

A. That I’m incredibly shy. But I hide it very well. If it was up to me, I would live in the world with just my immediate family. My wife doesn’t believe me! She says, “Oh, you’re making that up!”

Q. What is your favorite thing about L.A.?

A. The Valley. Love the Valley.

Q. How would you consider yourself different now than ten years ago?

A. I think the older I get, the more at peace I am with me, you know? Now, I’m perfectly happy to be myself. It doesn’t mean I’m not demanding of myself, but it just means not pretending at any moment to be something I’m not, you know?

To read more about Del Toro’s conversation, click here.

*Photo by Aaron Salcido.