Guillermo del Toro's detail-oriented approach fuels every aspect of Crimson Peak, his new horror movie. On set, he knew every part of the house, down to the books in the library. And not only did he give his actors detailed biographies of their characters, but he encouraged them to keep information from each other.
We caught up with del Toro at San Diego Comic-Con, and asked him if the actors were still withholding information from each other.
On set you told me that you gave all the actors secrets for the characters — now that shooting is over, are they allowed to tell each other?
No, no. Actually, the idea is to keep it secret from each other until the movie comes out. [Laughs] But I'll tell you off camera. They're not big secrets. They're little secrets.
You can't tell me they're secret in this movie and not expect me to wonder what they are.
We gotta wait a little bit. I'll tell you off camera. The secrets can be revealed to third parties.
While we were on set, you also had all the details of that house down to a tee. During the editing process, was there anything that's come out that you didn't expect?
You know, the movie was shot very precisely because we were on a budget and I edit as I shoot, so I am gonna say no. [Laughs] It's less of a great story, but everything has been evolving. Six weeks after wrapping, I showed the cut and they love it, so I'm very happy.
Does anything scare you any more? We were in that house and it's creepy, but you [said], 'I'd like to live here.'
No, I've had some real life experiences with ghosts — two — and both times I was very scared.
Did you see something?
No, I heard. In the first one, it's less exciting and it's a long story. It's in the Devil's Backbone's commentary track. But the second one, which is great, we were scouting for The Hobbit and I checked in to a haunted hotel in Waitomo and I knew it was haunted. I said, 'Can you give me the haunted room?' They gave me a haunted room. I thought nothing's gonna happen. I'd gone there before and hotels like the Langham hotel. And I'm watching The Wire with my earphones on the computer and I hear this – we were alone in the hotel. It was off-season, so it was my crew and I, each on a different floor, and around the middle of the night I hear this horrible woman being murdered, like horrible screams of a woman being murdered and I removed my earphones and they continue, and I track them to a vent in the bathroom and I hear the screams and I freak out, and I go out into the corridor, no one's there. I go back into the room and then like 10 minutes later, I start hearing a man crying, [imitates man crying], with huge pain and regret, and I put my earphones back and I watched The Wire until the sun came up. [Laughs]
I feel like that's a good movie in and of itself.
It is and it isn't. I can tell you stories. I'm Mexican and I've lived strange things.