A Minute With: Guillermo del Toro on "Rise of the Guardians"

Wed Nov 21, 2012 10:03am EST
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By Zorianna Kit

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro is known for putting a dark twist on super heroes and children's fantasy, but in "Rise of the Guardians" the producer brings together holiday heroes for a festive adventure.

"Rise of the Guardians," which will be in theaters on Friday, is based on award-winning author William Joyce's "The Guardians of Childhood" books. In the film, traditional characters such as Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, Sandman and Jack Frost join forces to save earth's children from the evil Pitch Black and his band of Nightmares.

In the movie that stars Chris Pine, Alec Baldwin, Jude Law, Isla Fisher and Hugh Jackman, del Toro, 48, steps back into the executive producer role after directing dark fantasy "Pan's Labyrinth" and the "Hellboy" superhero franchise.

He spoke to Reuters about putting his own stamp on beloved holiday heroes, and why children's films are important to him.

Q: In "Rise of the Guardians," Santa has tattoos, the Easter Bunny is Australian and the Tooth Fairy is half-human, half bird. Not the way most of us grew up imagining them, is it?

A: "We didn't want the characters to have the affections that are given to them in certain cultures. We didn't want to go with the safe Easter Bunny that is now a marketing tool ... We wanted them to represent the world and to geographically make sense. Where would a burrower live, the Outback? The original incarnation of Santa is almost that of a hunter and wild man. It comes from the Nordic and Eastern European notions so we thought it would be great to make him Slavic."

Q: The film is about addressing fear, which is always a challenging lesson for parents to teach their children. Why make this the central theme?

A: "In order to address fear, parents always end up tiptoeing around the subject. Shielding our kids is not the way to go, but you also don't want to send them out unprepared without a healthy sense of self. I thought the movie was a great analogy to many things. It's a great metaphor for kids to interpret the world."   Continued...

Producer Guillermo del Toro poses during a photocall for the movie "Rise of the Guardians" at the Rome Film Festival in Rome November 13, 2012. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi