Is there anyone who loves movies more than Guillermo del Toro? On Sunday (Feb. 18), the Oscar frontrunner won his first BAFTA for directing “The Shape of Water.” In an interview backstage, he spoke about films in the same passionate way a kid talks about the latest superhero movie after emerging from a theater all giddy.
What was clear in del Toro’s impassioned answers was how steeped “The Shape of Water” is in film lore. He constantly referenced his own experiences with movies, both as a filmmaker and as a child watching them for the first time. He has particularly fond memories of “Creature from the Black Lagoon.” His film is not just a love story between Eliza and the amphibian man (his version of the creature from the black lagoon, albeit one with a bigger heart) but also one between del Toro and cinema.
This wasn’t del Toro’s first time onstage at the BAFTAs. Back in 2007, he won Best Foreign Language Film for “Pan’s Labyrinth.” I asked the auteur which award and film meant more to him “That’s an easy one,” he replied with a laugh. “I think that as a director it means a lot to be receiving an award from your peers, because how movies are made — and this can be watched and analyzed by everyone — the true beauty of the craft is understood by your peers. So it means a lot.”
He readily admitted, “If I had to choose, if you put me in that position, I would choose ‘The Shape of Water.’ Not a problem. But I would turn around and pick up ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ as quickly as I could!”